We are officially just one week away from the start of the 2018 Purdue football season, and just over 2 months until basketball season comes up. Given that, it’s time we quickly review how you can watch Purdue this season.
Normally, this would be a silly post to do, and clearly just a filler in a boring offseason. However, you may not be able to see Purdue sports in your usual cable package. As we first broke in April, Comcast has already dropped the Big Ten Network outside of non-B1G states, and it looks like they could drop the channel nationwide at the end of the month.
Even though you can watch Purdue on other channels (ESPN, FS1, FOX, etc.), a plurality of Purdue football and basketball is shown on BTN. While you can still get BTN and other sports channels through other cable and satellite packages, changing your television plans can be cumbersome enough. Therefore, we are going to list here a few alternate platforms that you can use to watch Purdue this season if you want to cut the cord and can’t exploit someone’s cable password.
With the rise of cord-cutting, live-TV streaming services have become quite popular over the last few years. One of the biggest advantages these have are their no-contract promotions, meaning that you can start and stop these services whenever you want. I personally enjoy these features as I only tend to watch TV during college football and basketball season, allowing me to cancel my services during the offseason and saving some money.
Now, before we get into the specific services, there are some general downsides to these. I am not trying to dissuade you from using these services (as I uses these services myself), but if you’re not familiar with them, it is important to know some of the downsides:
- You need to have a fast internet connection: Since you won’t have a cable box, these channels are coming in through your existing internet supplier, just like Netflix. Therefore, it is best to have a fast and reliable internet connection. You don’t want to miss a double-reverse flea flicker just because your stream is buffering. Also, you’ll want to double check and see if your internet plan has a monthly data limit, as you could reach it depending on what else you are doing online.
- Unless you have a smart TV, you need another device to watch TV on your TV: As appealing as these services can be, you may have to hunch over your laptop to watch TV. Some smart TVs come with built-in or downloadable apps to watch these TV streaming services, but if you don’t have one, or if the app isn’t supported, you are going to need to purchase a Fire TV, Roku, or something similar. Of course, you could always stream through your laptop with some of these services and hook it up to your TV via an HDMI cable, but then how are you going to tweet your #HotTakes? Oh right, your cell phone... And to go with the first point, I recommend connecting the device to your router with an ethernet cable to avoid any issues with your Wi-Fi.
- You may need to get a TV antenna: Remember the bunny ears your TV used to have growing up? Well, the bad news is that you may need to get an antenna for your TV to pick up local channels. The good news is that digital antennas are not bunny ears, but usually slim items that can be put up on your wall or window. Some of the streaming services provide your local TV channels (NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS), but only in some areas. And of course, some places, like Lafayette, are too far away to pick up most of the local channels by antenna.
Now, there are a few other issues (like the lag compared to real time), but those are the main ones I wanted to mention first. I don’t want to discourage you, but it’s important to state these so you are aware of any limitations that you may face.
That being said, I am going to list out some of the great and okay streaming services, along with the approximate price that you’ll pay to get the channels you need (ESPN, FS1, BTN). Of course, while we are focusing on just the sports channels, you also have your own personal preferences that we won’t discuss here (such as other add-on channels, multiple streams, etc). I am providing links for all of these services so you can compare on your own as well.
I haven’t been able to experience using all of these, so I am not going to review their quality, just their channel availability, price, and usability. We are also not paid to promote any of these, we just want to help fellow Boilermakers looking to cut the cord:
Great TV Streaming Alternatives (not listed in any particular order)
PlayStation Vue, Core Package, $49.99/month, 5-day free trial
PS Vue is one of the original TV streaming services, and one of the most popular. Despite its name, you do NOT need to own a PlayStation console to use Vue. Vue’s Core package should provide all the sports channels you need to watch Purdue this season. Additionally, they can provide local channels in some areas. But do note that sometimes they will offer the “On Demand” channels instead of the live local ones, which do NOT show live sports. While this is on the higher end of the packages listed here, they do seem to have the best reviews.
Hulu with Live TV beta, $39.99/month, 1-week free trial
A slightly cheaper version of Vue, Hulu provides BTN, ESPN channels, FS1, and some local channels at $10 less a month. Based on its own site, it still says it is “beta” even though it has been around for awhile and works for many of our readers. While the reviews seems to be a bit lower than Vue when I looked, this looks to be a good and cheaper option. As one of our Facebook comments mentioned: “most smart TVs support Hulu, but not all support Hulu Live. We had to go out and buy some Rokus.”
YouTube TV, $40/month, 7-day free trial
Just like Vue and Hulu, YouTube provides the channels you need and local channels if available. However, if you own an Amazon FireTV, you cannot stream YouTubeTV on your device as Amazon and Google continue to feud. Other than that, while I haven’t used it, I have heard many people talk highly of it.
DIRECTV NOW, Just Right Package, $55/month, 7-day free trial OR $30 off first 3 months
Not wanting to be left behind in the new cord-cutting phase, DIRECTV offers their own streaming package. Just like the other three, the needed sports channels are there, along with some local channels (if available). Of the four mentioned so far, this one is the most expensive, but they do offer $30 off every month for your first 3 months with promo code REALDEAL at checkout, which could get your through almost all of football season.
Okay TV Streaming Alternative
Sling, Orange + Blue, $40/month, 7-day free trial.
Sling was perhaps the first popular TV streaming service available, and has promoted their “a la carte” model for sometime. While Sling can be cheap, even it’s best package doesn’t offer BTN, though you can still get ESPN and FS1 with the combined package. Additionally, you will not receive local channels with Sling, so you will need that pesky TV antenna. I mention this as some might need a cheaper alternative, such as if you only want ESPN or FS1 at $25/month and have, uh, I think they’re called “friends”, that you can use to watch the other channels.
fuboTV, $44.99/month, 7-day free trial, $5 off your first month
This isn’t one I know much about, as I just learned about it. But it does seem to include BTN and, FS1, but I don’t see any of the ESPN channels listed on my end.
TV Streaming Services to Avoid
Philo: This looks like a cheap alternative at first with packages costing $16 and $20 a month. But they don’t offer any sports channels.
AT&T Watch TV: Again, none of the sports channels, and it also seems pricey.
And that’s our quick and comprehensive list. If you think we missed a streaming service, let us know in the comments and we can add it to the list.