If you watched the 2017 World Series, you probably noticed the many, many ads for something called ‘Youtube TV.’ In fact, the World Series was sponsored by Youtube TV. And if you’re one of the many people who don’t understand why or how there could be a Youtube TV, well, you’re in luck. Everything you need to know is on this page.
Last March, I ran an article titled The ultimate guide to streaming Royals games. In the months since then, the varying a la carte cable alternatives have become more ubiquitous and more numerous. When I wrote that piece, for instance, Youtube TV was merely on the horizon. Now, it’s in dozens of markets, not to mention its sponsorship of the World Series itself.
So, today, I’ll be focusing on these services. What that means is that this guide is for individuals in the Kansas City Royals market who are looking to cut their cable subscriptions and access Fox Sports Kansas City through alternative means. For those who are not in the Kansas City Royals market, or are in the Royals market with a cable subscription and are just interested in streaming games, you can check out last year’s guide, which explains both other scenarios. Furthermore, this guide will apply to any fan of any team whose cable rights are owned and operated by a Fox Sports regional network.
First, let’s start by explaining some terms here.
A streaming service is a content service like Netflix or Hulu, but instead of offering shows and movies to watch it offers live television. Cutting cable does not change how you consume Royals baseball, as Fox Sports Kansas City remains the sole distributor of non-nationally televised Royals games. So these streaming services are the conduit through which you can access Fox Sports Kansas City without being tied to a cable subscription. These types of services are relatively new and didn’t really exist five years ago.
Multiple streaming services offer different packages of service, at different prices with different arrays of available channels. Some can be quite robust, with premium channels like Showtime and HBO, and some are pretty bare-bones. Not all packages offer Fox Sports Kansas City, however.
It’s important to note that, for now at least, true a la carte, mix-and-match television does not exist. But these packages are the next best thing.
If you have cable, you have a cable box (often colloquially referred to as a DVR, though that is not its only function). That box takes the signal from the coax cable and pipes it through an HDMI cord to your TV.
Streaming services, like cable, requires a device through which the service works. If you’re lucky enough to have a newer Smart TV, that device might just be the TV itself. But for most of you, you’ll need something else. Every streaming service works through a web browser, but the secondary devices that can run a streaming service’s app can vary wildly.
HOW DO I DO THIS?
Signing up for a streaming service is extremely simple. You can sign up over each one’s respective website by creating an account and entering location and payment information. Many offer free trials so you can test the waters before leaping in.
To experience the content, you’ll need to download that service’s app on whatever device you’re using to stream. If you’re on a web browser on a PC or Mac, you’ll just need to log into the website, no app required.
GREAT. SO, WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?
That, truly, is the question. There are six popular services at this point:
- Playstation Vue
- Hulu TV
- Fubo TV
- DirecTV Now
Each service is indeed slightly different; below, I listed the devices through which you can stream these services and that service’s cost. Some offer multiple packages, and so the price (which is per month) that is listed is that service’s base or lowest package that offers the Fox Sports regional networks.
* Recorded shows are deleted after 28 days
** DVR services reportedly arriving in 2018
Here are some general thoughts:
- If you want your streaming service as cost effective as possible, go with Sling TV. You can stream it on any device that turns on and isn’t a Playstation, and its $25 per month price point is simply unbeatable. No free DVR, though.
- If you’re interested in international sports, especially soccer, Fubo TV is unquestionably the best. It includes a wide variety of channels unique to it, including 11 channels of Bein Sports in addition to multiple Spanish language soccer stations.
- Your premium service is going to be Playstation Vue. While it is the most expensive at $45 per month, that includes unlimited DVR within 28 days of recording, a wide variety of streaming devices, and an impressive 62 channels that include the NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA TV. It is also the only service that utilizes either the Playstation 3 or 4.
None of these services are bad, and each individual or family has a slightly different set of viewing habits and preferred channels, so ultimately the choice is up to you. It’s also important to note that each service features add-ons, like special sports packages or premium channels like HBO, that you can purchase to further customize your experience.
The final piece of advice I have is that none of these services require contracts. If you only want to pay for them for a month, you can. If you want to pay for a whole year, you can. If you want to only pay from April through October, be their guest.