Streaming the Super Bowl without cable 2019
Sports are one of the biggest reasons people are hesitant to cut cable and who can really blame them? Most fans will agree that an expensive cable bill is worth it if it guarantees watching their team. However, streaming services are quickly making expensive cable bills a thing of the past.
Most people don’t realize it, but watching sports without cable is actually fairly easy now, especially for big events. And with an expected 100+ million viewers for the 2019 game, it’s safe to say the Super Bowl makes the “big event” cut.
After two intense Conference Champions we now know that the Saint Louis Rams and the New England Patriots will be battling it out for the 2019 Super Bowl! Keep reading to learn how you can stream the Super Bowl so you can spend more money on Super Bowl snacks and less on cable.
What channel is the 2019 Super Bowl on?
Since every streaming services offers different channel lineups, the first thing we need to figure out is what channel the 2019 Super Bowl is on. NBC streamed last year’s Super Bowl, but CBS has the exclusive rights to it this year.
|02/03/2019||CBS||Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta||TBD||TBD|
Since CBS is a major local channel, it’s even easier than other cable channels to stream without a cable subscription. It’s a major network that can be picked up over-the-air with a simple antenna and is also available in most streaming services. Not only that, but CBS offers its own streaming service that will air the game.
Since the Super Bowl is such a cash cow for networks, they typically do whatever they can to get it in front of viewers. This includes making exclusive apps free for the duration of the game, although CBS hasn’t announced anything. We’ve outlined the different options to watch the game below and will continue to update this article as we find out more information, discounts, or freebies that might make one option more cost effective.
Our Recommendation: Streaming the 2019 Super Bowl on CBS All Access
CBS launched its own streaming service in 2014 called CBS All Access. Since then, they’ve continued to refine the service and have even started offering content exclusive to the service (Star Trek: Discovery being one of the biggest). For $5.99 a month, subscribers get access to the same live CBS content they get with cable as well as to the CBS on-demand library.
Since CBS All Access is CBS’s own streaming service, we’re expecting them to announce that the 2019 Super Bowl will be streamed for free on it. It makes sense from a marketing perspective both to increase the amount of people who have access to the game as well as get people interested in their streaming platform. We saw NBC do it last year with their apps and it helped boost streaming numbers for the 2018 game up over 2 million.
If they don’t announce that the 2019 game will be streamed for free, you still don’t technically have to pay for the service. Since CBS All Access offers a 7 day free trial, if you make sure to start your trial no earlier than 1/27/2019 you’ll be able to watch the game without paying for the service.
CBS All Access can be streamed on a mobile device or computer, but if you plan to watch it on your TV you’re going to need some help. While some models of Smart TV’s can download the CBS All Access app, other TVs are going to need a streaming device to run it.
Streaming devices are basically small computers that plug into the back of your TV and let you download apps for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other sources of content that you might watch. They’re fairly inexpensive, don’t take up much room, and only need a small amount of power and an internet connection to run.
CBS All Access is compatible with the following devices:
We like to offer a recommendation to our readers based on our experience with different devices. Typically, we find ourselves recommending Roku devices to veteran and first time cord cutters alike for a variety of reasons. The biggest reasons we recommend them so much are that they’re really well priced, they’re reliable, they’re compatible with most streaming services, and they’re simple to use. Roku makes a bunch of different models that range from the $29.99 Roku Express to the $99.99 Roku Ultra that fit a lot of different needs for every house hold.
Should I keep CBS All Access?
CBS All Access is a great streaming service if you’re only really into CBS shows. At $5.99 a month CBS All Access is a lot cheaper than most streaming services (the next cheapest is Philo TV for $16 a month and they don’t offer any local channels), but you’re obviously restricted on content. The on-demand library helps to make up for the lack of other stations, but even that has it’s flaws.
While testing the on-demand library, we found more than a few shows that only have some seasons. Some of the most popular CBS shows of all time like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, The Amazing Race, The Big Bang Theory, and plenty of others were limited to 1 or 2 seasons. Considering The Amazing Race alone has over 30 seasons, that’s a lot of episodes you can’t watch!
If you want to watch other channels besides CBS, CBS All Access is probably not your best bet. If you’d like to find another streaming option, our cord cutting guide lets you put in your favorite channels and will find the cheapest streaming service that offers the most of them for your specific location. It’s instant and 100% free. The only thing we ask in return is if you have any issues, comments, or questions that you contact us so we can continue to improve it!
If you did end up enjoying CBS All Access during your trial and plan to continue it, you can pay $4 more per month to remove the ads. $4 might seem like a lot to remove them, but if you watch two 30 minute shows that each has one 60 second ad in it every day, the $4 extra a month will save you about an hour a month! And when was the last time your 30 minute show only had 60 seconds of ads?
Watch the Super Bowl on an antenna
Whenever we suggest that our readers watch sports on an antenna we get a lot of questions about reliability and picture quality. When most people think of an antenna they picture themselves adjusting rabbit ears on top of an old tube TV trying to fix the picture for 1000th time. While that might have been true a decade ago, modern TV antennas have improved almost as much as the signals they are receiving.
Without diving too deep into a history lesson, in 2009 there was federal legislation that turned all of the over-the-air stations from analog to digital. These digital signals that you can now pick up with a modern antenna are significantly better picture quality than before and are sometimes even better than what you get with a cable subscription.
Luckily, CBS is one of the over-the-air networks that is available to be picked up throughout the country. Although, since the signal is literally over-the-air, there are some factors that might inhibit your ability to receive CBS. Distance from a signal tower, surrounding terrain, height of antenna, and even the construction material of your home can cause your signal to be weak or non-existent.
Before you purchase an antenna, you should check to see if CBS is a available at your home. Thankfully, there are some online tools that figure out available networks based on your address so you don’t have to order an antenna to check for yourself. The method we recommend to check available over-the-air networks is to use TVFool.com. There are some others that do basically the same thing, but TVFool is has been around a long time and allows you to share your results so people can help analyze it if you have any issues.
Once you put your information into their form and hit submit, you’ll be redirected to a page full of colorful tables and charts. Although TVFool’s report page looks incredibly complicated, the initial check for certain channels (CBS!) is surprisingly easy.
All you have to do to determine if you can pick up CBS is take a look at the colored table. The column labeled ==Channel== has another column in it called Netwk that lists the name of the channels. Check out this column for the Netwk CBS and figure check what color the line is. The color is a representation of signal strength and is a good indicator for which type of antenna you’ll need to get the channel. The image below explains what each color is and is a good baseline for antenna types.
Keep in mind that these colors and antenna types aren’t 100% exact. For further reading, check out our antenna specific articles break down the different types of antennas, some makes and models, as well as our recommendation for each type.
Watch on CBSsports.com or on a CBS Sports App
As we mentioned above, CBS is going to do everything they can to put the game in front of as many people as possible. They plan to stream the game live on CBSsports.com and on the CBS Sports App across all streaming devices that carries it without requiring a cable login. Currently, if you want to use the CBS Sports App on your Roku or other streaming device you need to have login credentials for a cable subscription or a streaming service that authenticates TV Everywhere Apps. To allow more people to watch the game, CBS is going to lift the login requirements for the 2019 Super Bowl similar to how NBC did it last year.
This means if you want to stream the 2019 Super Bowl on your Roku, Smart TV, Apple TV, Fire TV or any other device that can download the CBS Sports app you don’t need to be subscribed to a streaming service. Simply navigate to the app store for your device and download the CBS Sports App. Make sure to do this sometime before Feb 3rd 2019 to confirm its availability so you’re not scrambling last minute!
Watch CBS on a streaming service
If you’re already a subscriber to a streaming service there’s a good chance you’ll be able to stream the Super Bowl on it. Since CBS on a streaming service is like an antenna and is location dependent, not everyone can watch it. However, even if your local CBS is available, CBS Sports Network might be available. Make sure to double check with each service to confirm CBS is actually available in your area. Although we do our best to double check the local networks, it’s possible some of them got by us.
The table below shows the streaming services that carry local CBS stations in at least a few areas or CBS sports networks.
How to watch the Super Bowl from another country
If you’re not going to be in the United States during the 2019 Super Bowl, a lot of the streaming methods we recommended won’t work…unless you get creative.
Since most of the services won’t start if you launch them from outside of the United States, we’ll have to make them think that we’re watching from inside the country. We’re able to do this with the help of a VPN. A VPN is a virtual private network and is basically a computer in another location that we connect to before connecting to websites or services. For example, if you run your VPN from Germany and connect to a server in California, the streaming service that you launch thinks you’re in California.
VPNs are 100% legal and are typically used by business for security and to allow employees to access documents from outside of the office. Another reason they’re used is because they encrypt traffic and make it next to impossible to trace your computer activity back to you. Although the security is a huge benefit, we’re mostly concerned with the location spoofing.
If you do a quick Google search you can find plenty of free or really cheap VPNs. However, most of these services have questionable security and don’t have the connection speed required to stream games. A slight premium for a better VPN could be the difference between a quality stream and watching the buffering wheel spin for an hour.
We discuss a variety of different brands of VPNs in our VPN for Cord Cutters guide that can help you make a good decision. In that guide, and for watching the 2019 Super Bowl, we recommend NordVPN. NordVPN is reasonably priced, has server locations across the world, and is super easy to set up.
Nord has an app or Android, iPhone, PC, and Mac that makes using the services as easy as pushing a button.You simply launch the app, login, and choose a server location that you want to connect to. You can connect to servers across the country and even across the world. Note: If you run into connection issues, try using server 1821 for streaming services.
Even though the apps are great, if you plan on watching the Super Bowl on your Roku, Apple TV, or other streaming device, NordVPN doesn’t have apps for those. In order to ensure that the traffic from these devices looks like it’s coming from within the United States, make sure to install NordVPN on your router. In typical NordVPN fashion, their blog has a fantastic outline that explains how to do this.
If you’re concerned you might not be able to set NordVPN up on your router or desktop, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. While not technically a free trial, being able to get a full refund if you can’t figure out how to use it helps make the decision a little easier.