The Olympics may almost be over, but that’s just making room for the start of another sport. That’s right, football is finally back, as the 2012 NFL Preseason is already underway. Once again this summer, you can watch NFL online with the NFL Preseason Live streaming video package. A slew of games is scheduled each Thursday through Monday for the remainder of the month of August, and NFL Preseason Live provides many of the NFL games live. Subscribers to the package will also be able to watch all of them on demand afterwards in high-definition (HD) through September 15, 2012.
NFL Preseason Live is a paid subscription streaming service – but at just $19.99, it’s an extremely affordable service allowing you to stream NFL live preseason games on your computer or tablet in HD. That subscription covers all four weeks of the NFL Preseason, and every game for every team. You can re-watch all completed games in the NFL Preseason Live archives. That’s 64 NFL games for just $19.99.
Sure, it’s only exhibition football. If you like to have friends over to watch football, though, you’ll get your 19 dollars and 99 cents worth several times over. You’ll be amazed at how many of your friends will want to come over and watch the NFL live, particularly if your friends’ hometown NFL teams are not on television in your market. People haven’t seen a snap of NFL football in six long months, and it’s exhilarating to see those iconic helmets of your favorite NFL team back in action.
WATCH NFL ONLINE AT NFL PRESEASON LIVE
NFL Preseason Live allows you to stream NFL live preseason games online on a broadband Flash video player with HD streaming quality. The games are often called by the home team’s local TV announcers, providing a quirky bit of local color and a nice change from the typical network announcing teams. Viewers can utilize a picture-in-picture effect in Dual View or Quad Mode to broadcast up to four games simultaneously on the same screen. This feature is particularly handy on those Friday or Saturday August nights when as many as six preseason games are being played at once. However, we should note that it’s likely not all six games would be available as a live stream since there are restrictions on local games.
When watching completed games on demand, there are no commercial breaks. Viewers also have the choice of full or condensed games — the full three-hour game broadcast or a condensed 30-minute recap version that eliminates time outs and all that standing around between plays. Closed captioning is available for all games on demand. You even get Ten Second Rewind and Ten Second Fast Forward buttons, to watch that brutal hit on your quarterback again or skip it entirely.
Although the NFL Preseason Live promises “Every preseason game in HD,” you will not always get HD streaming quality. The streaming quality on your video player defaults to the best available stream, which is not always HD. Some of this will depend on your computer’s available bandwidth. When only lower bandwidth streams are available, the audio sometimes doesn’t work in Full Screen mode. When it’s working, though, the player works great – with a beautiful HD picture, and sound so clear you can distinctly hear each word of the quarterback’s “hut-hut-hike.”
NFL BLACKOUT RESTRICTIONS
The Achilles heel of this service – or torn Achilles tendon, if you prefer football terminology – is the NFL’s highly restrictive game blackout policy. Though the product is called NFL Preseason Live, a significant number of games are not actually shown live. A study on the site FanIQ found that on the first full weekend of preseason games (Aug. 9-13), no fewer than seven of the 16 games are blacked out and subscribers will not be able to watch NFL live in most areas because of broadcast restrictions.
If a game is being broadcast on ESPN or the NFL Network, the live broadcast is blacked out from your NFL Preseason Live service. If the game is being played near your city, the live broadcast will also be blacked out – even if the game is sold out. If the game is not sold out, the live broadcast is still blacked out to both the home and away teams’ fans. Preseason games don’t tend to sell out in most markets, so this policy hurts subscribers on a pretty frequent basis.
Games broadcast on ESPN are blacked out on NFL Preseason Live until 24 hours after the game ends. Games that did not sell out are also not available until 24 hours after the conclusion of the game – even the away teams’ fans are penalized with this restriction. For the Cardinals-Saints preseason opening game that was televised on the NFL Network August 5, the blacked out game broadcast was available to subscribers roughly two hours after the conclusion of the game. Games broadcast on the NFL Network or on local television are blacked out, and according to NFL Preseason Live broadcast restriction policies, “will be available immediately in the NFL Preseason Live archives following the conclusion of those games.”
You can watch NFL Preseason Live on a tablet, but not on your phone. Tablet users will need to download the free NFL Preseason Live app for iPad or select Android tablets to watch the games on a tablet.
Would you buy a $19.99 subscription to watch NFL online preseason games? If you do subscribe, are you encountering any other blackout restrictions? Most importantly, are you ready to watch NFL football online? Let us know below in the comments.