UPDATED DECEMBER 24, 2012: WATCH NBA LIVE ONLINE ON CHRISTMAS
This Christmas, the NBA has another Christmas Day marathon of marquee games scheduled to stuff your sports stocking. You can watch NBA live online on Christmas Day beginning at 12 Noon EST, when the Boston Celtics tip off against the Brooklyn Nets in the Nets’ new Brooklyn digs. After you watch Celtics-Nets online, have your dinner and do your dishes and take your nap – as the NBA online games resume at 8 p.m. EST with Jeremy Lin’s Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls live online, followed by Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers live online at 10:30 p.m. EST.
NBA basketball is back, and you can satisfy your basketball needs by watching NBA live online. The season tips off October 30, 2012 and fans can watch NBA live games on some sites, while other sites offer NBA games on demand when the games finish. One online service lets you watch NBA online with your choice of any game, but it requires a paid subscription. Other sites allow you to watch NBA games free of charge, but they choose the games for you. Don’t jump through hoops trying to figure out how to watch hoops online, as we deliver an assist and explain all of your NBA online viewing options below.
Save And Watch Your Favorite Basketball Moments
Download your favorite basketball player videos online and save them in your personal video cloud. Then you can watch the video on your phone, tablet, and even TV.
Your absolutely free option to watch NBA games online is at NBA TNT Overtime, an online broadcast of the live NBA games shown on cable network TNT. The NBA TNT Overtime site is one of the gold standard websites where fans can watch NBA live online for free, featuring one or two marquee NBA match-ups weekly with no cable subscription required to watch. The TNT webcast is a little different from what TV viewers see. Online viewers get a four-screen display, with each of the four screens showing a different camera angle, and an option to launch a full screen version of any of the camera angles. You still get the game call of TNT announcers like Marv Albert, plus the half-time wit and wisdom of Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. Games are only broadcast live on NBA TNT Overtime, and are not available to watch after their completion.
WATCHESPN.COM: WATCH NBA GAMES LIVE ONLINE
ESPN also shows a live NBA game every Wednesday night plus a double-header every Friday night, this season, and viewers can watch games online through the WatchESPN.com web site. WatchESPN.com is free to viewers who log in with an active and paid-up cable TV subscription. The WatchESPN NBA webcast gives fans the exact same broadcast TV viewers see on ESPN, though the picture quality will vary from HD to slightly-pixelated depending on available system resources. Traditionally, NBA games on WatchESPN are available to re-watch on demand for 24 hours after the game has ended. Smartphone and tablet viewers can get in on the game too with the simple addition of the free WatchESPN app, though this app also requires cable subscription verification.
NBA LEAGUE PASS: WATCH NBA LIVE ONLINE
TNT and ESPN show top NBA match-ups each week, but they choose the games. If you want to watch only your favorite team’s games, the closest thing to an “all access” option is the NBA League Pass Broadband. This is a paid subscription service that costs $39.99 monthly for Internet access to all 30 NBA teams’ games, or $26.99 monthly for a more limited package showing only your 5 favorite teams. Each game is broadcast online in 720p HD, and you can watch any game on demand afterwards for the duration of the regular season. The NBA League Pass Broadband can play up to four games at once in a “Mosaic View” mode, though you can only access one audio feed at a time.
Tablet or smartphone viewers will need a different pay-for-play app called NBA League Pass Mobile to watch NBA games live on mobile devices. NBA League Pass Mobile delivers NBA games for the entire regular season for a one-time fee of $49.99. If you have Sprint as your carrier, you get a discounted price of $39.99 for the whole regular season (though Sprint customers already get the ESPN NBA games at no cost with the free Sprint NBA Mobile app). Buying the League Pass mobile app is a little tricky. First you have to download the free NBA Game Time app, and then buy the paid NBA League Pass app from within the free app.
There is also an NBA streaming service for over-the-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV. The full NBA League Pass scores you the regular season game broadcasts on your TV, plus adds the full broadband and mobile packages described above, for a one-time price of $179.
THE FINE PRINT
While these NBA League Pass Broadband and Mobile packages provide access to every complete NBA game this regular season, don’t expect to watch many of your local team’s live games. Local blackout restrictions apply like mad on both services. If the game is being shown live on any broadcast or cable channel in your market, you cannot watch that game live on NBA League Pass. Fans in cities with a regional cable sports network will not get any live hometown team games. That said, local fans get access to blacked-out games shortly after their conclusion. What’s more, you cannot use your NBA League Pass subscription when traveling. Your subscription only works in the zip code associated with your Internet Service Provider, and the service will not work outside your registered zip code.
Also be aware, last-minute buyers – your NBA League Pass subscription takes up to two business days to activate. If you buy a subscription just minutes before tip-off, you won’t be able to watch that game live.
Are you ready for the NBA insanity? Or will it be Lin-sanity? Will the Heat repeat? Or will the Lakers rebound with the addition of Dwight Howard? Drop your dimes of NBA knowledge in the Comments below.
Joe is a San Francisco tech blogger, sports journalist, and regular contributor to the RealPlayer blog. His background writing technical manuals and internet marketing content fostered his interest in web video, while his two years writing for NBC fostered his interest in cracking bad jokes. Joe’s work has been quoted in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly strange decisions.