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The Cheapest Ways to Stream NHL Hockey (Even If You Don’t Have Cable)

If you’re like me, you watch hockey, and…basically no other sports. You also, like me, would like to skip the cable subscription. So what’s the cheapest way to watch NHL hockey online so you can cut the cord?

It depends. If you live outside the US or Canada, you can pretty much buy an NHL.tv account and watch everything for around $100 a year. Inside the US and Canada, however, broadcast rights make things complicated, meaning you’ll need to somehow get access to some combination of local, national, and out-of-market games.

Can you watch hockey without cable? Yes, but with all sorts of caveats. It depends which team you want to follow, where you live, and how many blackouts you’re willing to put up with. Here’s a quick cost breakdown for US residents:

  • If you follow your local team (that is, the team based in the city where you live), you can watch every game of the regular season and playoffs for $25 a month using cable replacement Sling TV, though you may need to spend $5 extra the first month of the playoffs for CNBC. Awesome!

  • If you follow an out-of-market team (that is, a team from a city other than where you live), you can watch most games of the regular season with a $130 annual NHL.tv account, and watch any nationally broadcast games with a $25 a month Sling TV account (again, you may need to spend $5 extra in the first month of the playoffs for CNBC access.) Also, because of the freaking NHL Network, out-of-market fans may need to spend $10 a month extra on Sling TV to watch every game of the regular season. You’ll have to decide whether that’s worthwhile to you, because it’s somewhat rare depending on which team you follow.

Confused yet? Read on as we break it all down for you, or skip to the very last section for the cheapest (and most complicated) option.

Watch Regionally Broadcast NHL Games in the USA with Sling TV

During the regular season, the vast majority of NHL games involving US teams are broadcast on Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). If you’re a fan of a team that’s local to where you live, you need access to your local sports channel. You can’t stream them on NHL.tv, because they are “blacked out”—those regional sports networks are given full rights to broadcast the game in an attempt to get you to pay for cable.

The two biggest RSNs are Fox Sports and Comcast/NBC Sports. If the word “Fox Sports” is in the name, or the NBC logo is used, your local sports channel is one of these. Mile High Hockey offers a great map of which channels cover which teams, if you’re not sure; it was made in 2013 but it’s still more-or-less accurate, give or take the Vegas Golden Knights.

So, which streaming services offer these regional networks? Here’s what we found:

  • Sling TV charges $25 a month for their Sling Blue package, which offers the Fox and NBC RSNs.
  • YouTube TV costs $35 a month, and offers the Fox Sports and NBC RSNs.
  • Playstation Vue charges $35 a month for their Core Slim plan which offers the Fox Sports and NBC RSNs (though some users have had problems.)
  • Hulu TV costs $40 a month, and offers the Fox Sports and NBC RSNs.
  • DirecTV Now charges $50 a month for their Just Right package, which includes Fox Sports and NBC RSNs.

As you can see, Sling’s Blue package is the cheapest way to get access to these regional sports broadcasts: $25 and you’ve got either the Comcast/NBC or Fox regional network.

If your local sports channel isn’t from Fox or Comcast/NBC, you’re basically out of luck from what we can tell. In Colorado, for example, the rights to the Avalanche belong to Altitude, a independent channel, and none of these services provide access to that channel. Coverage varies from service to service, so check out all of the services and see if your local sports network is offered. If not, sorry: you’re going to need cable to watch local games (or a VPN—which we’ll talk about in a bit).

Watch Out-of-Market NHL Games in the USA with NHL.tv

I don’t live in my old hometown anymore, but I still cheer for that NHL team. If you want to watch a team located elsewhere in the country, or in Canada for that matter, no regional sports network can give you access to most of the games you want to watch. For fans like us, there’s NHL.tv, the streaming service offered by the league itself. For $130 a year, you can watch every out-of-market game—this works out to around $16 a month for the eight months of the regular season.

An “out-of-market” game is any game that you couldn’t watch on cable even if you wanted to, because it’s not on nationally and no regional network local to you is airing it. Again, Mile High Sports has a pretty good map of the blackout areas if you’re interested.

NHL.tv is a particularly good deal if you are a fan of a Canadian team, or a small market American team that NBC generally ignores. Games involving these teams are rarely broadcast nationally in the United States, so fans can more or less watch every game of the regular season, free from blackouts. The only exceptions are when your team plays the team local to where you live, or NHL Network decides to ruin your day (more on them later.)

On the flip side, NHL.tv is a pretty bad deal if you’re a fan of a big-market American team. Over 25 Chicago Blackhawks games are broadcast nationally every year, meaning you won’t be able to watch those games on NHL.tv; you need access to national broadcasts in order to watch them. Check your team’s schedule and see how many games are broadcast nationally before buying this service: if you aren’t the kind of fan who…

Hulu now serves up 50 Live TV channels for $40 a month

Hulu now serves up 50 Live TV channels for $40 a month

Hulu is taking on cable like never before with the beta launch of its Live TV service that offers more than 50 live channels for $39.99 a month.

That includes ABC, CBS, Cartoon Network, CNN, FX, ESPN, National Geographic, Syfy, TBS and Vieland, among others. Subscribers also get access to local sports and news channels, as well as Hulu’s entire streaming library that costs $8 a month on its own and includes over 3,500 exclusive shows, movies and kids’ entertainment titles.

You don’t need a cable box: Hulu’s service works on Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox One, as well as Android

Hulu’s Live TV Service Is Now Available in Beta With 50 Channels for $40 Per Month

At its Upfront presentation this morning, Hulu showed off more details of its new live streaming service, and announced that the service is now available in a public beta starting today. Interested users can sign-up here.

Hulu first announced its live TV service back in at its Upfront’s in May 2016 and since then, we’ve seen the live TV cordcutting market become more crowded, with new offerings from DirecTV Now and YouTube TV. Even traditional cable operators, like Verizon and Comcast, are planning on getting into the online TV space. With traditional cable subscriptions falling, it makes sense that the networks and the providers are looking at other sources of income.

But what makes Hulu’s approach to live TV a bit different—as we noted when we got a preview of the service back at CES in January—is that it combines live TV with the huge catalog of content that Hulu already offers. So if you subscribe to Hulu’s new live offering, you get access to live feeds from ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, CNN, and so on, but you also get access to Hulu originals and that massive back catalog of movie and TV content.

The service, which has the tongue-twister name Hulu with Live TV, is available starting at $40 a month. That $40 a month offers access to more than 50 live channels, access to Hulu’s standard $8 a month subscription service (you can pay an extra $4 and get the catalog content commercial free), and 50 hours of cloud DVR recordings. The $40 plan offers access to six user profiles and two simultaneous streams at once.

If you want to stream from more than two devices at once, Hulu is offering an “Unlimited Screens” plan for $15 a month, which offers unlimited streams in the home, and up to three simultaneous streams outside the home. There is also an “Enhanced Cloud DVR” bundle for $15 a month that offers subscribers access to 200 hours of DVR recordings that automatically skip through recorded…

The Cheapest Ways to Stream Baseball (Even If You Don’t Have Cable)

Just because you got rid of cable doesn’t mean that you don’t have to go without baseball for the entire season. Here are some ways that you can watch MLB games live without paying for cable.

Cutting the cord puts a lot of strain on sports fans in general, since most games are aired on cable networks, with very few airing on channels you can pick up with an antenna for free. Because of that, you still see a lot of sports fans paying for cable just to watch games. When it comes to baseball, though, you don’t have to succumb to the cable providers. Granted, some methods require you to pay a one-time fee of some sort, but it’s way less than what you would probably be paying for cable.

MLB.TV Is the Gold Standard

If you’re a die-hard baseball fan and you want to watch all the games you possibly can, MLB.TV is the streaming service to use.

It costs $113 for the whole season, which sounds like a lot, but you’d probably pay that much every month for cable. You can also pay a little less if you’re only interested in your favorite team’s games. That package costs $88 for the season.

However, a huge caveat with MLB.TV is that “in-market” games are blacked out. This means that if you live anywhere near your home team’s ballpark, you won’t be able to watch…

Why the Internet Is the Greatest Achievement of Any Civilization, Ever

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Growing up, my father often complained about the rising cost of our cable subscription. The bills got higher, the number of stations increased, yet the amount of television we watched rarely changed. The ‘value-added’ networks didn’t add much value. As the number of networks increased the actual worth of television only seemed to decrease.

Much has changed. The amount of content—the word that has replaced ‘art’ and ‘creation’ in recent years—is staggering, leaving an unfathomable amount of unwatchable television in the queue. Yet many have claimed this to be a ‘golden era of television.’ It’s hard to disagree.

While the administrative bureaucracies behind major movie studios take fewer risks, cable TV studios, many now free from the burden of bundling, are pushing boundaries. Shows like HBO’s ‘The Young Pope’ and ‘The Leftovers,’ the BBC’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Sherlock,’ and Hulu’s ‘The Path’ take chances only found in independent movies.

Is Your Life Really Yours? How ‘The Attention Merchants’ Got Inside Our Heads Tim Wu

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Is Your Life Really Yours? How ‘The Attention Merchants’ Got Inside Our Heads

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Tim Wu

Author, The Attention Merchants

09:21

As consumer watching habits shift and producers rush in to fill their needs, the question of creative value has been a constant. The NY Times’ Farhad Manjoo, for one, believes the expanding opportunities offered by the digital revolution are saving culture, pushing art forward in interesting, new multi-disciplinary platforms. Manjoo thinks today is “the beginning of a remarkable renaissance in art and culture.”

“In just about every cultural medium, whether movies or music or books or the visual arts, digital technology is letting in new voices, creating new formats for exploration, and allowing fans and other creators to participate in a glorious remixing of the work. This isn’t new; from blogs to podcasts to YouTube, the last 20 years have been marked by a succession of formats that have led to ever-lower barriers for new and off-the-wall creators.”

There is truth to this, though Manjoo comes off as overoptimistic regarding the number of success stories. He points to a handful of Patreon phenoms who are earning their living as independent creators thanks to monthly subscribers. The technology exists and they have taken advantage of it—a certain benefit for those working from the ground up. The problem of rising to the top of the tens of thousands of Patreon users remains, however.

Which is a different scenario than the cable bundling model. In the old days (the eighties, in my case) small networks were able to exist thanks to behemoths like HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. This model still works for networks like ESPN, which gets six to seven dollars for every subscription, the highest paid network today. Their success allows smaller players to stay in the game.

ESPN provides a…

How to Get HD TV Channels for Free (Without Paying for Cable)

Remember TV antennas? Well, they still exist. A digital TV antenna allows you to watch local TV stations for free, all without paying a dime to a cable provider.

We’ve talked about cutting the cord by relying on Internet services, but this is yet another way to cut that TV bill and get more content to watch. Follow along as we run you through not only which antenna to buy and the differences between them, but also which local channels you can receive based on where you live, and how strong of a signal you can get in the first place.

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Discover Your Local Channels and Their Signal Strength

To find out which TV channels you can get over the air for free, we recommend visiting a site called TV Fool and using their signal locator tool. Simply enter your address and click on “Find Local Channels”.

Give it a few moments to load the next page. Once it loads, you’ll see what looks like a round diagram with various lines inside, as well as a list of channels off to the right, highlighted in different colors.

It can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what it all means, but the only thing you really need to pay the most attention to is the circular diagram. The lines you see are in various lengths, and each line represents a channel. The longer a line is and the closer it is to the center of the bullseye, the better the signal is for that channel based on your location.

The direction of the lines are important as well. The diagram’s cross represents north, south, east, and west. As you can see from my diagram above, most of the broadcast signals are coming from the northeast, which means I should ideally place my antenna in the northeast corner of my house so that I can get the best signal possible. (More on antenna selection in a moment.)

From the list of channels on the right-hand side, you really only need to focus on the distance of the broadcasts signals, which tells you how far away they are.

Since many of the signals that I can get are fairly close to my location (only 5-10 miles away), placement of my antenna isn’t super critical. However, if your broadcast signals are farther away, you’ll need to pay extra close attention to where and how you place your antenna.

TV Fool gives you a rough idea on this by using colors to highlight which channels you’ll easily receive and which ones would be more difficult. Channels in green are channels that you could get with a basic TV antenna, while channels highlighted in yellow and red will need a more powerful antenna and strategic placement.

The Different Types of Antennas

Which type of antenna you purchase largely depends on the information that you gathered from above diagram, and different antennas are available depending on how far away you are from the broadcast signals.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Antennas

Not all TV antennas are weatherproof, and many cheaper ones are only meant to be placed indoors. If broadcast signals are relatively easy to come by in your area, then you’re probably fine getting an indoor antenna.

If some of the broadcast signals are farther away, though, an indoor antenna may not be powerful enough. For that, you’ll need an outdoor antenna, built to take the grunt that mother nature provides, and reach much farther. Outdoor antennas are almost always more reliable, though they take a bit more work to set up.

Directional vs. Multi-Directional Antennas

You’ll also want to consider whether the antenna you get is directional (also called uni-directional) or multi-directional (also called omni-directional). As you can guess, directional antennas grab a signal from a single direction, while multi-directional antennas can fetch signals coming from any direction.

Multi-directional antennas are more convenient, but have a significant downside: their range is usually much weaker than directional antennas, which can put all of…