Do you love football but hate making the monopolist cable companies rich? Maybe you’ve cut the cord and are enjoying more value from your Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. Yet, there’s a darkness inside of you - an emptiness that can only be filled by the NFL.
I mean… let’s take a moment to rejoice in this weekend’s schedule:
AFC fans are fortunate in that Indianapolis at New England, San Diego at Denver, and the AFC Championship game next week will be streamed on CBS. However, NFC fans get no love, as New Orleans at Seattle, San Francisco at Carolina, and the NFC Championship game will be broadcast on Fox and will not be available for free streaming.
In this post, I will show you how to live-stream all NFL playoff games from within the US, with what I think is a better experience than CBS will provide. The NFL has a juicy product called “Game Pass" with all these features:
NFL Game Pass sounds excellent, but it’s not available within the US. We lowly Americans, the inventors of the sport, are limited to an alternative product called “Game Rewind” for on-demand viewing after the game has already ended and our dumbass buddy contaminated us with a text message of the final score.
However, by following these steps, you can make NFL Game Pass think you’re located abroad and stream the games in real-time:
1. Register for a VPN account with privateinternetaccess.com
A VPN encrypts your connection to the internet and provides you with an anonymous IP address in a location of your choosing. It’s this second feature that we’ll use to get content that’s available outside the US. Alternatively, those who are in fact outside the US could use this VPN service to get a US-based IP address for the free CBS-streamed games and other US-based content like Hulu or UK-based content like the BBC.
privateinternetaccess.com is the best VPN service I’ve used. Their software is user-friendly and is well supported on mobile devices. You can try their service over the next month of games for only $6.95. For the best value, you can get a year of service for $39.95. I use their VPN service throughout the year for privacy, for secure browsing on public wifi networks in airports and coffee shops, and to get the NFL and UK-based BBC content. As you know, especially if your team is no longer in the hunt, the NFL 2014 season is just 8 months away and this technique will give us live-streaming of any game, the NFL RedZone and NFL Network throughout the regular season.
2. Install the privateinternetaccess (PIA) software on your computer, phone or tablet.
PIA has great instructions on how to do this. Feel free to ask in the comments if you have any questions. For Windows users, you will download the installer from the link that PIA sends to your email or from this page. Next, run the installer app:
Afterward, the PIA app will automatically launch asking for your username and password (which you will receive in an email from PIA):
Once you authenticate, the PIA app can be found in your Windows taskbar:
It will be colored red when not in use. To select a region through which to VPN, simply right-click the PIA app to choose from where to connect:
3. Register for NFL Game Pass
The link for NFL Game Pass will only work from outside the US. I selected a connection in Romania to get a better price on NFL Game Pass. Here is how the NFL Game Pass price varies by region (in order of increasing price):
- Hong Kong: $39.99
- Romania: $39.99
- Sweden: 264.99 Krona = $40.83
- France: 34.99 Euro = $47.80
- Germany: 34.99 Euro = $47.80
- Netherlands: 34.99 Euro = $47.80
- UK: $49.99
- Canada: $54.99
- Switzerland: Not available
NOTE: the price changes as the number of remaining games decreases. Before the wild card round, Game Pass was $69.99 in Romania. I expect it to be cheaper after this weekend but before the conference championship games.
I paid using Paypal because when I tried to pay with a credit card the NFL website crashed. I verified that my credit card did not get charged despite the site crash, and it may not happen to you, but Paypal is what worked for me.
4. Launch Game Pass
You can launch Game Pass from a different (non-US) location. I found that I got less bandwidth (and therefore a lower resolution picture) through the Romanian connection than through connections in Canada and the UK.
In particular, I like the NFL Network pregame shows, reviewing the games from the wild card round in condensed view (to watch the game in 30 minutes), watching the coach’s view for particular plays, and reviewing the NFL RedZone presentation of Week 17.
I connect my laptop to my TV via HDMI to put the game on my wall. I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Please let me know if you have difficulty with any particular step.