How-To: Watch 4 Major American Sports w/out cable

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by linds15, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    Based on the volume of questions regarding viewing sports without cable, I thought a how to guide of sorts would be a good idea. This will cover the four major North American sports leagues, the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB.

    The MLB and NHL are the easiest of the two, as you can watch them through the apple tv directly on your TV. The more difficult part is being able to watch your home games (usually blacked out), and national broadcast games (blacked out). To get around this, you will need to trick your device (ATV, iPad, Computer, etc.) into thinking it is in another location. Conventional VPNs will do this for you, but they must be turned on or off, and have your internet traffic routed through it when on, and not when off. “Smart VPNs” allow you to change your DNS settings on either your router (all devices connected to it will gain the feature) or on individual devices. Signing up for a “Smart VPN” such as UnblockUS, or Unotelly (both around $5.00) will trick the devices accordingly, and then lift the blackout, for your viewing pleasure.

    The NFL is a little trickier, there is no ATV app for it, nor is there a Canadian or American iOS app for it. To get around this, you will have to create a UK based Apple account, and download the NFL Gamepass app through said UK account. Once the app is downloaded you can purchase a subscription and with the use of the smart VPN, watch all the games, including nationally televised, as well as have access to the NFL Network, and NFL Redzone. The app has built in airplay, so you can easily watch all the games on a TV with an ATV.
    **You can in fact create an Apple store account from another country without a credit card.

    The NBA is the most difficult to gain access to without cable. Unfortunately Unblock US does not work with the NBA app, and Unotelly only works with the web app (accessing through a desktop, NOT an iOS app). First you will need to download the NBA Gametime app, available in the Canadian app store (I believe all the international app stores have it, while the US has another app) To get around the blackouts I recommend installing hotspot shield on your iOS device, turning it on to lift the blackout restriction, and once the game is playing turn off the VPN (this is not required), to have your full bandwidth available, and not being throttled by the VPN. Using this method you can watch any game, and like the NFL the app has built in airplay to watch on any TV with a connected ATV. Unfortunately the NBATV channel cannot work using this workaround.

    These are the methods I use to watch each of these four sports, mostly the NBA and NFL. I am not 100% sure the methods for NFL or NBA will be available to Americans, or whether they will be able to use the Canadian apps as a work around.
  2. benh911f macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    If you don't mind me asking, what do you end up paying for each of the services?
  3. Cnasty macrumors 68030


    Jul 2, 2008
    Great post as I had to weigh this decision recently in deciding to cancel my cable.

    More options are:

    Getting an HD antenna like the Mohu leaf. I live in a little rural city outside Orlando and I get 73 stations over the air from Orlando and Tampa.That will have all local channel broadcasts in HD for NFL, NBA on ABC, and College football on Saturdays.

    Also, get XBMC onto a mac or PC and either dedicate it to your TV or AirPlay it on to your AppleTV like I do and use Sportsdevil which offers every sport stream there is. Most are not in HD but they are free and great quality if you search for a great stream.

    Best part is, its free! After the initial investment that is. :D
  4. linds15 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    MLB and NHL i've setup for friends, dont know how much, NBA i pad 99 CAD and NFL last year was 135 i believe
  5. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Or... can also go to a bar. Hang out with other people.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    That's what I like to do, but there are mornings I would prefer to just lounge. I just don't want to pay hundreds for Sunday ticket this year.
  7. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
  8. linds15 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    doesn't work outside the US, also can't get around the blackouts in the US unless you have a VPN setup on the router
  9. StinDaWg, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013

    StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    Sports bar is fun every once in awhile but definitely not something I want to do every time there is a game on. It gets expensive quick, its loud, don't want to drink and drive, tvs are not as good as what I have at home, not as comfortable ect. Honestly I could go on forever. I used to do this when I was younger (and I'm not even that old) but I just have no interest in that crowd anymore. You can't just go into a bar and order a water and sit there for 3 hours. If you wanted to watch every baseball game of your favorite team it would cost you several hundred a month to do this.
  10. linds15 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    for football i could see it as more appealing, sit there every sunday, but for other sports no chance.
  11. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    That's all neat, but you're still missing a ton of college sports and a bazillion soccer games. Plus auto racing. I'd rather watch all that than the NBA or NHL.
  12. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    i signed up for MLB TV by accident this year and won't sign up again

    same price as having internet and TV. $90 in my case from time warner cable. $50 for a la carte internet. and with cable you get to stream a lot of content on demand now

    NBA is $180 for the season. might as well just pay for TV
  13. s2smooth4u macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
    I just use the website posted below to stream the feed from my Mac to the apple tv. Nice and simple
  14. linds15 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    if you only watch in market games yes, it makes more sense to stick with cable, if you follow an out of market team, or court surf, its cheaper than getting a sportpack through your cable provider
  15. hipnetic, Jul 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014

    hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    I tried messing around with anonymox and some of the unblock option (I can't remember exactly which) last year, and trying the Netherland trick for NFL Game Pass, but couldn't get it to work. I ended up paying for NFL Game Rewind (about $60-70) and also buying the Xbox Madden 25 game (about $100) which came with tablet/laptop access to NFL Sunday Ticket.

    My experience with the NFL Sunday Ticket app was somewhat poor. PQ wasn't great, and it would sometimes stop playing altogether. I think they didn't have the infrastructure to handle lots of users or something.

    NFL Game Rewind was much better, but I did sometimes have poor PQ there, as well, and I have Comcast 50mbps service, so I think the problem, again, was due more to congestion on their end.

    I'd like to give NFL Game Pass a try again, but I'm worried that I'd shell out good money for it only to find that PQ was awful because of a slow connection going through a VPN. So what is the speed/quality like using the two services you mentioned (UnblockUS and UnoTelly)? Would you recommend one over the other? Is UnoTelly's Gold plan worth paying a few bucks more for?

    Also, what's the process for subscribing to NFL Game Plan when you live in the US? I presume I have to pay with a credit card, but that I need them to think that I live in the UK (or wherever), but my credit card billing address will be in the US.

    Also, should I be at all concerned about using my credit card to pay for the UnblockUS/UnoTelly service? Should I try paying for this with something more anonymous?
  16. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Do you have access to local channels? I get about 6 games per week for free, and pay $40 for Rewind to get the rest so I can pick what games I watch. The $60 price you mention includes playoffs, which are broadcast everywhere in the USA for free. So, unless you are just completely out of TV range, that isn't worth the extra 50%.

    Streaming quality sucks because the NFL doesn't care. It tends to be worst the first couple weeks, then improve slightly. Sometimes the stream is actually better than my local NBC affiliate, since they destroy their own signal with subchannels. But overall, NFL the last few years has been woeful on PQ. I can't say anything about Gamepass, but if they suck even on broadcast....
  17. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    The NFL team I follow isn't local, which is why I'd like to get NFL Game Pass working. I've subscribed to NFL Game Rewind in the past, and love it, but I would like to watch the games live when they're not being broadcast locally. Two other options for me would be to subscribe to DirecTV (but I have a feeling that the satellites will be blocked by trees on my lot) or to go to a local pub that has DirecTV / NFL Sunday Ticket.
  18. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    It should be noted that has gotten smarter about the VPN access trick and now also uses your billing address to determine which games to black out.
  19. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    Wouldn't that make it easier in the long run ? Find a out of state relative to sign up for you, pay them, and now you can watch local teams. Unless they start using both to verify.
  20. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    One then can simply get a billing address in a different location, No?
  21. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Well yes you can. But having the billing address of your credit card out of state is not that easy for most people.
  22. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    Not THAT hard.... Just change the billing address on your current credit card.
  23. betman macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2013
    Any chance college sports will be covered and available via Apple TV in the near future?

    Living abroad it's usually very easy to get coverage of professional sports, though I don't really follow the NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL any more, but college sports are actually very hard to get.

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