NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go… without DirecTV!

Dave Zatz —  August 24, 2010 — 28 Comments

directv-sunday-ticket-to-go

Looks like DirecTV has enhanced their NFL mobile offering with more than just higher resolution streaming and iPad support this season. Sunday Ticket subscribers can optionally add the To-Go tier for $50, but DirecTV has also decoupled television service from online access — allowing anyone to subscribe to NFL streaming. At $350 for the season, it doesn’t come cheap. But they don’t call it Super Fan for nothing.

We can probably and safely assume that iPhone and iPad video out will be disabled, but connecting a computer to the television for a 720p football stream could perform well… when you’re not actually mobile. However, I’m still holding out hope that Cox launches the RedZone channel (via the new NCTC/NFL agreement) to meet my short attention span and fantasy football needs. Whereas one pal just ordered a Slingbox to locate at his brother’s home, ~500 miles away, to get his football fix.

Thanks, skiswm!

28 responses to NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go… without DirecTV!

  1. Slingbox is tempting option for remote viewing, but I want to be able to watch that content on my TV not on a smaller screen.

  2. Ouch. Being a Broncos fan in NY (and not having DirecTV) I have been waiting for option to catch the Denver games every week. $350 though, don’t think it is worth it… Can anyone confirm how the picture quality is streaming to a PC?

  3. Chris, yeah I hear you. SlingCatcher fills that need, although I’m not sure how well and good luck finding the discontinued hardware. :/

    As for me, I may just pay one of my friends $50 to add mobile streaming. Hmmm. Then again, we enjoy hanging out at the wings place sports bar to catch multiple games. If Cox adds the RedZone, it could be a different story though…

  4. It’s all falling into place! Hello iTV with DirectTV app featuring NFL and goodbye cable!

  5. I don’t watch football, but I cheer DirecTV for this.

    I hope it sets an industry precedent ( *ahem* HBO ).

    …and yeah 350 bucks is a lot, but NFL is a premium brand, and ala cart always bumps the price of any product.

    P.S. Imagine if the NFL piped in the players tweets into the broadcast *swoon*

  6. I’d say it’s far from allowing “anyone” to subscribe.

    “In addition to the $350 fee, customers must prove they are not able to access DIRECTV from their residence. To get DIRECTV, a customer must be able to install a dish with a clear view of the southern skies.”

  7. After I posted, I noticed EngadgetHD had also covered the new service and mentioned that particular restriction. We’ll have to see what the registration process actually looks like come 9/8. I assume it won’t be a big deal. How would they know my condo does/doesn’t face southwest? (It doesn’t.)

  8. Hmmm. This is a pretty huge deal. It both pokes a hole at the current pay-TV model, and reinforces to people just how expensive a la carte could be. Very interesting…

  9. Rumor has it area football is available ala cart for 10 bucks

    …when bundled wif the ala cart World Championship beer pong season pass it 20 bucks!
    :P

  10. This is certainly good news. But the price? Ouch. I thought MLB.tv was getting up there at $120 for the season, but $350?

    I hope we see a Boxee NFL.tv app….

  11. I remember when it was only $250 for the DirecTV package. $350 for online only is pretty steep. Too rich for my blood. Gonna go sling for $155 on amazon!

  12. Good luck getting this on a Kindle…..

  13. Dave, glad you posted this I was looking fwd to the discussion. There has been a little so far on DBSTalk.com. Being a D* sub and previous ST sub I was curious to see how this would work. I am waiting to see if they give an option to current D* subs to just purchase online only. Being in a market where I have 2 local teams I get a lot of NFL already and found I wasn’t really watching the other games, just using my computer to watch. Some current DirecTV subs (including myself) have been able to talk D* into giving us the RedZone channel as a standaloen item w/out purchasing ST. The key things to remember here is when DirecTV and The NFL re-upped their contract DirecTV was given the exclusive online rights to games. I think that was the big key for DirecTV they saw the value in online streaming. Having had SuperFan in the past the streaming quality is good and add in something like an iPad with HD quality you could have a decent way to watch games when your away from home or tailgating. I have streamed games to my computer, windows phone, and iPhones all were good quality. Comparing the quality to my Slingbox……..well there was no way to compare the DirecTV streaming blew it away.

  14. Mari, I am not so certain that an a la carte model would be more expensive than the current subscription based model currently used by the cable/satellite companies. I would think that the average price paid by most people for cable/satellite service is at least $100/month ($1,200/ year). These – I believe – are the current prices for various services this year:

    The new NFL package – $350/year
    MLB.TV – $120/year
    NBA League Pass – $120/year
    Netflix (single disc & unlimited streaming) – $108 /year
    The new Hulu Plus – $120/year
    Amazon VoD – Let’s assume a household buys $100 worth of movies/TV shows in one year.

    That is quite a few viewing options for $918/year. And that is assuming a particular household wants all three major sports. I think for a lot of families it would be even cheaper.

    I think a strong case can be made that getting the content a la carte would be less expensive for most households. Of course the real difficulty is getting all these services on one device/platform.

  15. Never, never, never pay full price for the Sunday Ticket! I got it free, the first year. $100 the second year. This year, having cancelled (again), I wasn’t going to bother, till I got a call from DirecTV that my current Sat/HD plan was a legacy plan, for $2 more I’d get 28 new channels, no contract extension, and they’d throw in the Sunday ticket for free, plus 5 months of premium movie channels, as long as I remembered to switch off the movie channels at the end of the five months (nice to see them reminding people, rather than waiting for those $120 bills to hit).

    I was upset they were adding the $50 charge for online viewing this year, till I got it all for $2 a month more. $50 is a steal now. :)

  16. The price is so high because they really don’t want to do it. I don’t think DirecTV is obligated to do this, but there are regulatory issues and scrutiny they would probably rather avoid, so now they can say, “sure, we offer ST to people who otherwise couldn’t get satellite service.”

    Their point on the price is not to open up a new market, but to say, “this is what you’d pay to get ST if you could get satellite, so that’s what you’ll pay.”

    And yes, many, many people get discounts or other bundled rebated that effectively lower their price for Sunday Ticket. I did last year, and I really wasn’t fishing for it.

    The way it worked last year was the the first weekend of ST was a free preview, and my cable company had added the Red Zone channel. So I was going to check out the Red Zone and see if it met my needs, while still having access to the ST preview. I could always re-up ST by week 2. So I called before the season started to get my ST turned off–as you’re obligated to pay the whole season price once the first Sunday rolls around. And they offered me a deal.

    Traveling and family time really doesn’t afford me the same freedom to sit around for 11+ hours for 17 straight Sundays anymore. At $400 it really wasn’t worth it too me. But at 50% off? Okay.

    But I’m out this year. I just don’t have the time anymore.

  17. jcm- Love the calculations; you make a good argument. Thing is, what if I want the Discovery Channel, and USA Network, and Nickelodeon along with sports content? Netflix and Hulu Plus are good for serving up a bunch of random stuff, but they continue to be kind of a crapshoot. I can’t buy Discovery on its own today, but if I could, I bet the network would charge a mint. (They love their dual-revenue system.) Same with the other cable networks.

    Not to mention, if we moved to a-la-carte, how long would it be before networks started throwing in “freebie” content? It wouldn’t really be free. It would be baked into a price that would inevitably rise. And to some extent, that’s not bad, because you have to subsidize new content somehow until it generates its own audience.

    I really could ramble on this forever.

    One thing that’s occurred to me recently is that maybe providers need to redefine basic cable, and give subscribers a lower entry point. Not a la carte, but more tiers of service, starting with something that’s maybe 30 bucks a month. I bet most folks would upgrade to get more content anyway. And the ones who couldn’t afford it might just sign up for a $30/month service over having to hassle with finding stuff online.

    Food for thought.

  18. Mari, I completely agree with the idea of more tiers of service. Maybe we will never see a pure a la carte model. However, my sense is that the industry is going to change. Giving subscribers the choice of two or three plans – at grossly inflated prices – simply is not going to work much longer. Younger consumers are much more comfortable with walking away from cable/satellite and getting by with online content and a box that provides access to Netflix. Maybe the answer is a hybrid of the current system and a pure a al carte model; something akin to what you are saying, more tiers which give consumers greater choices and flexibility when buying a service.

  19. I wish this was true, that anyone could get it. But unfortunately, the fact is that this new DirecTV NFL offering is limited only to those who legitimately cannot obtain DirecTV service, not those who choose not to.

    This means folks who can’t mount a dish due to rules, or who can’t get a signal due to buildings or trees, etc. More info: http://corp.sonic.net/ceo/2010/08/24/nfl-not-quite-over-the-top/

    -Dane

  20. RSR, your reasons for not renewing this year are basically what mine are. If they’d (DirecTV) would offer a much reduced rate for current subs to have the option for online I think it would be a hit. But, you bring this type of idea on some of the sites and they say you’re crazy becuase you should just sign up for ST. Much as you said not everyone has the time or ability to sit in front of their TV for 17 weeks all day on Sunday. Having the ability to watch on my various mobile devices is something I’d appreciate.

  21. Interesting you bring this up. This is kind of the way Sezmi works (in Los Angeles for now). I get about 25 cable channels which includes Discovery, USA, and Nickelodeon for $20 (that includes taxes people). The only downside is that the cable channels are all in SD. For people that only want local channels they pay $5 a month.

    Heard a rumor that they will be offering I think either seperate premium packages ie: sports, lifestyle, kids. Or a bundle with all these combined.

  22. But think about this. Say you are a Comcast HSI customer (Xfinity my arse). How many games would you be able to watch under the bandwidth cap?

    Ditto with the new Gtv and Atv approaches……

    Sure, I can watch them on OnDemand, but I want portability. And at what point would Clear start to to block this over their network? It throws the existing paid commercial model right out the window. Commercials mad and optimized for mobile device viewing…….

  23. Looks like you got your wish Dave, RedZone is on Cox for $40/month.

    http://www.multichannel.com/article/456326-Cox_Re_Ups_With_NFL_Network_Adds_RedZone.php

  24. It looks like it’s $40 for the season above and beyond the Sports & Info tier – I don’t think I have that and don’t know what it runs. Hm, could be worthwhile regardless. Certainly more palatable than $350!

  25. Ryan Roat (RSR) August 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I know this thread is old and about Sunday Ticket, but the discussion of a wider variety of tiers made me think of the Canadian Expressvu satellite service.

    Expressvu allows you (or did) to mix and match from a group of 6-8 ‘sub-tiers’ of channels.

  26. scott woolverton December 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I had a friend add this to his sunday ticket so I could watch the raiders games on the computer or my iphone 4 but to tell you the truth its not even really worth watching because it is so choppy that you really cant see wtf is going on the sound isnt very bad so you can hear the announcers but they need to figure out how to make it a good clean picture! maybe they could delay the games 30 minutes or something so that it is a smooth feed but as for now it isnt worth the 50 bucks!!! I even found a program to record the live streaming video but its so choppy it gives me a headache to try and watch a whole game!

  27. something the comments here are missing is that with most a-la-carte services, i don’t get commercials. i am more than willing to pay $8/mo for hulu plus and avoid commercial interruption (or fast forwarding through them). the new tv is permission based, not interruption based as it has been for years. the consumer can now choose what they want to watch, when they want to watch it and how they watch. traditional, subscription based television is a brainless dinosaur which will soon find itself in a dark closet with ma bell and her rotary dial rental telephones.

  28. Wow.. Don’t waste your money like I did. Streaming is horrible. Random commercials would just start in the middle of a play. Would resume play at a point that was way behind live (I’m talking a quarter behind). I am so disappointed and wish I spent the money on something worthy.

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