Heading to CES but have an important NFL football game to keep tabs on?
No problem. The game is being streamed free, right?
Well, sort of. As I found out, getting a hold of that free stream can be easier said than done. It turns out that NBC and CBS offered their playoff games for free with no strings attached, while Fox required users to authenticate, which is a process that can create hassles even for those with a pay-TV subscription.
The challenges started in the cab ride to the airport trying to get the San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers game via the Web or NFL mobile. An error message suggested the needed app was Fox Sports Go and, in any case, that the game was only available free to those with a laptop, which was tucked away.
At the airport, even with a laptop and a needed cable subscription to authenticate, getting the game proved no easier. Even though I had a decent Wi-Fi connection, all I managed to get was one error message after another. One suggested a video playback error and suggested trying again, while another indicated I needed to subscribe to a different TV package.
Frustrated, and with only a few minutes left before boarding, there were a lot of people congregated around the bar, so I shut down the laptop and headed over to catch a couple 49er first downs on the big screen.
The biggest technological success came courtesy of Virgin America, which offers satellite TV. The game was on Fox, one of the channels offered through Virgin’s partnership with Dish. That said, I did miss the 49ers second touchdown due to Virgin’s federally mandated (and admittedly funny) safety video. I also missed most of the last two minutes before halftime during takeoff as the TV service was unavailable. But, it was still way better than my on-the-ground streaming experiences.
The real problem is CES and its inconvenient timing for football fans. The annual electronics show almost always conflicts with the college football championship bowl game. Two years ago, I teamed up with colleague Lauren Goode and we smushed Steve Ballmer’s final CES keynote and the BCS championship into one “Footballmer” liveblog. This year’s championship game is Monday night, though I’ll probably have to settle for a few sneaky peeks at the WatchESPN app in between reporting.
There is one more method to stream content, and one I will try out once we land. I recently got a Tivo Roamio which, among other things, lets its owners stream any live program or content recorded on their DVR. Planning ahead, I set the game to record and downloaded the Tivo app onto a phone and tablet.
More Articles About CES 2014:
- I Came Not to Be Buried by CES, But to Be Dazed by It
- CES, the Media Version, Hosted by Michael Kassan
- Marissa Mayer in Las Vegas, Giant TVs and CES Ghosts: Re/code on TV
- Mossberg: CES Is Not What You Think It Is
- Re/code’s Not-So-Quantified CES, Including Critical Jerky Data
- The CES Startup Hardware Report
- BlackBerry Says Keyboards Are the Future
- Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf on China, Cars and Wearables
- Three Things From CES You Should Know About: Thursday Edition
- Tactile Typing on Glass With a Magic Trick of a Keyboard
- Razer Unveils Nabu Smartband
- Three Things From CES: Wednesday Edition
- Behold: Valve’s First Steam Machines
- Samsung Planning More Wearables for Launch of Next Galaxy S, Galaxy Note
- Sony CEO Kaz Hirai on 4K TVs, Wearables and Hanging With Dan Loeb
- It’s Official: Everyone Is Exploring Wearables — Including Lenovo
- Purple People Eaters: Liveblogging Marissa Mayer’s CES Event
- Kaz Hirai on Why Sony’s Pay TV Bid Can Succeed
- Three Things From CES You Should Know About: Tuesday Edition
- T-Mobile CEO on Being Thrown Out of AT&T’s Party: “I Just Wanted to Hear Macklemore”
- Sony, T-Mobile Team Up Again to Bring Waterproof Xperia Z1s to U.S.
- Yahoo’s Mayer Hits CES to Tout Ads, Tech Star Pogue and, Natch, Herself
- First Look: Samsung Goes to Work With the Galaxy NotePro, TabPro
- AT&T’s Ralph De La Vega on T-Mobile, Toll-Free Data and More
- Asus CEO Teases Padfone X Phone-Tablet Hybrid, Coming Soon to AT&T
- First Look: The New Pebble Steel Smartwatch
- In Wireless First, AT&T Says It Is Ready to Offer “Toll-Free” Data
- Three Things From CES: Monday Edition
- First Look: Parrot’s Crazy Jumping Drones
- Google Teams with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia for In-car Android
- Mike Bell Explains Intel’s Big Bet on Small Devices
- Nvidia Debuts 192-Core Mobile Chip, the Tegra K1
- “Roku TVs” Coming This Year
- Connected Cars Driving 2014 CES to Become More of an Auto Show
- Amid the Hype, Remember the CES Gadget Graveyard
- Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on Rekindling the Chipmaker’s Innovative Process