One of the biggest obstacles to cutting cable all together for many people is the difficulties in getting quality sports online. For me this isn’t a big problem for the better part of the year. Of all the major sports my only “vice” is really baseball and although I like watching some of the playoffs from other sports like Football, Basketball, and the occasional NCAA tournament game the MLB captures most of my attention throughout the year.
ESPN has been a staple in my home for decades – for as long as I can remember in fact – and dropping cable for me was the equivalent of dropping my SportsCenter addiction and never watching baseball tonight ever again.
As I mentioned before dropping cable was a problem for us in that getting our favorite shows on CBS would be problematic without the cable company. For my wife this was this biggest issue; for me it was but one of two big issues. I wanted my favorite shows but I also wanted to watch my baseball games and sports news periodically too.
In short PlayOn basically acts as a conduit between my computer which has access to the entire internet and my TV which doesn’t. It then streams the internet content to my TV for more convienient watching. If you'd like you can read more about Playon and how it works here.
PlayOn basically plays content that is available on the internet and then streams it from your computer over to your Roku box which is connected to your TV. This allows you to view “TV” normally from your couch while all the content is actually internet content that would ordinarily be served up to your computer screen.
ESPN is elusive for the most part outside of standard cable but with PlayOn you have the ability to stream live ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, & ESPN 3 programming to your TV. In addition to the live streams you also get access to podcasts, and all the clips from Sports Center you want.
To stream ESPN live you need to have an account with your local cable provider but even if you don’t have an account (or your local provider is excluded from this functionality) you can still get standard SportsCenter clips for free as well as live streams (and recently aired programs) from ESPN3 completely free.
As I write this in fact it’s opening day of the 2013 Major League Baseball season and I’m currently watching the opening day game between the Dodgers and the Angels on ESPN3 live stream. I don’t actually have an account with my cable provider and I haven’t paid for MLB.TV either. This saves me tons of money over the course of a year and it satisfies my need for live sports and sports news.
Obviously everyone’s desires for sports and ESPN will vary. It’s certainly possible that this solution won’t work for everyone but aside from continuing to pay for a cable bill or adding premium sports packages like MLB.TV to your monthly budget this is a good and inexpensive way to go.
The setup certainly costs a bit of money to get going (around $50 – give or take $5-$10 up or down during sales cycles and for various product versions) but it’s not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things plus the costs are non-recurring, meaning you will make up the costs in monthly savings fairly quickly.