The Super Bowl is upon us, and that means it’s time for another team to see if they can beat the New England Patriots. This year, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles. If you don’t care about either of those teams, you’ll probably watch anyway, or maybe you’re more excited about the crazy commercials, the Puppy Bowl, the Kitten Bowl, or Justin Timberlake’s half-time show.
Regardless which show tickles your fancy, it’s sometimes tough to figure out how to stream it without a cable subscription. We’re here to help, loyal readers. Below is the Wired guide to streaming all three 2018 Bowls.
Also, be sure to check out our favorite 4K TV, Kitchen, and Home Tech Deals before the game.
What Time Do All These Events Start?
Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 is a busy day.
Kitten Bowl (12 p.m. ET): The Kitten Bowl will kick off the day’s activities at 12 p.m. ET on the Hallmark Channel. It features a ton of adorable kittens, all displaced by natural disasters, competing for the “Feline Football trophy” and a “forever home” to live. All these cuddly critters are up for adoption.
Puppy Bowl (3 p.m. ET): The Puppy Bowl kicks off a few hours earlier, at 3:00 p.m. ET and airs on Animal Planet. It will probably re-air during the Super Bowl, too because, who cares about scores? These fluff balls are adorable. The Puppy Bowl XIV starting lineup includes 39 puppies and pits Team Ruff against Team Fluff. It has a “Kitty Play” half-time show. The puppies and kittens are also adoptable.
Super Bowl (6:00 p.m. ET): The 2018 Super Bowl (LII) begins at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. It airs live on NBC from the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It will have a dozens of Eagles and Patriots throwing the old pigskin around. Pink will sing the national anthem and Justin Timberlake will dance around and sing halfway through the game.
How to Stream All The Bowls
For a complete day of baby animal cuteness and Super Bowl insanity, you’d normally need a cable subscription so you get the NBC, Animal Planet, and Hallmark channels. Luckily, there are now a lot of Live TV streaming services that replicate cable for cheaper, and often have free trials.
DirecTV Now appears to be the only live TV service that has all three channels. Its “Live a Little” bundle has all three channels for $35 a month, along with 60 or so others. We recommend you use the free 7-day trial to your advantage.
The DirecTV Now app is available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices. You can also Chromecast it to your TV using the iPad/iPhone or Android app, and it works on a PC or Mac if you visit DirecTVNow.com. Just browse to the Hallmark channel for the Kitten Bowl, Animal Planet for the Puppy Bowl, and NBC for the Super Bowl.
There is one catch. To get NBC live, you must live in an area supported by a local NBC channel (details here). If you encounter issues, use the free NBC Sports appor website. If prompted, choose DirecTV Now as your TV Provider. PS4 does not have this app.
How to Stream the Kitten Bowl
There are three purrfect services that will let you watch the Kitten Bowl. DirecTV is the service that has all three, so it’s still our pick for kitten lovers, but there are a couple more options.
If you don’t care about the Puppy Bowl at all, the best Live TV service is Sling TV. Order the standard $20 Orange bundle (with a 7-day free trial) and add on the $5 Lifestyle package to get the Hallmark channel. If you’d like to watch the Super Bowl too (and don’t want to fiddle with the free NBC Sports app), buy the $25 Blue bundle and add the Lifestyle package to it instead. Sling TV is compatible with most devices.
Fubo TV is an alternative to Sling. It comes with a larger $45 price tag, but has 80 channels including Hallmark and NBC—and a free 7-day trial.
If you run into trouble watching the Super Bowl on any of these services, use the NBC Sports app or website instead. If prompted, create an account by selecting Fubo, Sling, or DirecTV as your TV provider. PS4 does not have these apps.
How to Stream the Puppy Bowl
You hardly belong on the internet if you hate cats, but skipping the Kitten Bowl does open your streaming options up. DirecTV Now’s 7-day free trial is still your best option, but there is one more.
PlayStation Vue carries NBC and Animal Planet on its “Access” plan for $40 per month and has a 5-day free trial. Just browse to Animal Planet for the Puppy Bowl and NBC for the Super Bowl. Vue is available on PS4, PS3, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and on the web at psvue.com/watch.
Be sure to check to make sure you’re in one of the cities with live NBC coverage to make sure you can stream the Super Bowl. Test NBC in the app in advance to know if it will work.
If the Super Bowl stream isn’t working, use the NBC Sports app or website. They should be free, but if prompted, create a login with PlayStation Vue or DirecTV Now as your TV Provider. PS4 owners will need to use Vue.
How to Stream the Super Bowl
If you aren’t feeling cuddly and want to get straight to over-analyzing Tom Brady’s hand injury, well, there are a lot of options for you.
Watch Free Without Logging In
NBC is offering free online livestreaming beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET with the Super Bowl pre-game show, right through the end of the game. You should not have to log in to access the feed on web browsers, iPhone/iPad, or Android. The mobile apps are Chromecast enabled, which is a $35 device that enable streaming on your TV.
Unlike previous years, the NFL put out a press release claiming you can also watch the Super Bowl live on Verizon’s apps, even if you aren’t a Verizon Wireless subscriber. This info is contradicted in a FAQ, but we’re still hopeful. These include iPhone/iPad and Android support for the NFL App, Yahoo Sports app, and Go90.
PS4 owners should use the live TV streaming service, PlayStation Vue. There’s a chance that the NFL app will show the game for free, and may have on-demand via GamePass, but it’s unclear.
Watch It On a Live TV Service with a Free Trial
Nearly every Live TV service has NBC and a free trial. Sling TV is our favorite. It’s $25 for the Blue package with NBC and free for 7 days (make sure the Super Bowl is available in your zipcode). Sling has a massive list of supported devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, Android TV, Samsung smart TVs, LG smart TVs, Fire Tablets, and Xbox One. You can also Chromecast it from an iPad, Android device, iPhone, or Chrome Browser.
Sling isn’t your only option. DirecTV Now is $35 and free for 7 days, PlayStation Vue is $40 and free for 5 days (only option for PS4 owners), Hulu Live is $40 and free for 7 days, YouTube TV is $35 and free for 7 days, and FuboTV is $45 per month and free for 7 days. CordCutterNews has a great device compatibility list for every service.
Watch Free Using a Digital Antenna
If you think you might live close enough to pick up a live NBC broadcast, you can purchase a digital indoor TV antenna. We’ve had good luck with flat window antennas. This $26 antenna looks like a solid pick and has good range. Just stick it right on your window, aimed in the general direction of the stations you’re hoping to reach, if at all possible, and go to ANT in your TV’s input list.
A decent antenna from Winegard is also available via Amazon Prime Now same-day delivery in some areas, as well.
Watch the Super Bowl Later, On Demand
The NFL GamePass will let you watch the game starting Monday (12 a.m. ET midnight) at your convenience on most major devices, and it also has a free trial. Just be sure to put your phone away and stay away from every screen and person you know until you watch it.
You Can Also Listen to the Super Bowl
If moving pictures aren’t your thing, or you’re going to be out somewhere, you can listen to the Super Bowl live in a few different ways. TuneIn, SiriusXM, NFL GamePass, and Westwood One radio stations.
If none of these solutions work, I can only imagine you need a new TV or a new TV streaming box (just buy a Roku). Or maybe just bite the bullet and order cable. It would be tragic to miss all the puppies, kittens, Eagles, and Patriots this Sunday.
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