Online Sports Streaming: Is Your Cable Provider the Solution?
Although getting rid of your cable subscription can be tempting, big cable companies do offer some significant benefits that online streaming services alone do not have. Consider all your options before you decide to cut the cord.
One of the major benefits of keeping your cable subscription is the large number of sports channels that come with most packages. Even a basic package often comes with multiple dedicated sports channels, and many major events are only broadcast on basic cable channels, including NBC, FOX and TNT. These events also often have very specific deals that may prevent the network from streaming the event, even if they normally make their programming available online to nonsubscribers.
Even those channels that do not require a cable subscription often charge for access, which can quickly add up if you need to subscribe to multiple channels to watch all your favorite sports. Since different organizations tend to contract with different channels, that price can quickly add up to about the same as a cable subscription.
Most cable channels have an online channel where you can watch all of their programming. Some offer this for free, but many still require a cable subscription. NBC Sports, for example, made headlines when it became available on Apple TV and Roku in April 2015. However, users were required to sync their online streaming with their cable account before they could use it.
Another benefit of a cable subscription is the ability to watch high-profile games live. Many sports associations, including the NFL and the MLB, do not allow live streaming of some games. This means your only opportunity to watch is to turn on your TV.
Cable companies are not exactly known for their great customer service but at least they have it. If your cable goes out or your official streaming service stops working, there is a number you can call to speak to a person trained in tech support, and the person can usually help you narrow down probable causes and resolve the issue. While that may not seem like a selling point right away, imagine how you might feel if you are getting ready to watch that big game and suddenly cannot get your computer to connect to the stream.
As the options for online streaming of television grow, many people are choosing to "cut the cord" and rely purely on streaming services for their entertainment. This method can save you money and be very efficient, but it has some major drawbacks for the dedicated sports fan. If you spend most of your time watching sports, even if you stream a lot of it, you may not want to cancel your cable subscription just yet.