What’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Back in March the NFL renewed its mega deal with DirecTV with a new twist, taking a page from MLB. The agreement includes a new provision allowing the internet streaming capability, a $100 cost adder to satellite subscribers, to be offered to non-subscribers where the satellite service is not available.
DirecTV offers NFL Sunday Ticket via Internet in NY trial – USATODAY.com: "DirecTV will intensify its rivalry with cable Monday by giving cable subscribers in Manhattan first crack at buying the satellite company’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket games to view via broadband."
NFL Sunday Ticket has gotten some infamy for its exclusivity with the satellite company, leaving a majority of home viewers wanting for the opportunity to watch any given game (not subject to blackout). This is a step in the right direction towards appeasing the many Sunday diehard fans that are unable to make a switch to satellite for geographical or topological reasons. They should be very happy with the streaming option.
From the article above, the Over the Top (OTT) service is available to any PC or Mac with an internet connection. This is similar to what the NBA does with its League Pass, also available on DirecTV.
MLB operates their Premium MLB.TV a little differently. It is not tied to the Extra Innings packages, but blackout of local games still apply (unless you are the Yankees). MLB took steps to add support for its OTT service in the Boxee interface, as well as the Roku appliance. This brings the customers closer to their accustomed viewing experience, meaning they are sitting comfortably on their couch, remote in hand.
For Sunday Ticket it will be essential to switch between games efficiently, instead of just relying on the highlight or Red Zone channel. Fantasy Football team owners will want to see what their players are doing and they do not want to click a mouse dozens of time to do so.
There is no doubt that this is a great move both for the NFL and DirecTV. Their latest advertisements state they are offering 130 HD channels, more than any other service. While that is all well and good, the NFL has unlocked the door to a whole new world: OTT video. They shouldn’t just open it, but knock it down. On the PC, desktop applications to provide a remote control interface are a no brainer. It may also be in their best interest to not only look at appliances, but IPTV service direct to newer HDTV sets with this capability.
To recap: OTA will provide three games a week, including your local teams, more when one is on a bye. Moving up to PayTV will get you at least one more game, and if you are really lucky the NFL Network games. And then there is DirecTV and its Sunday Ticket. It may a steep price, but the top tier offers HD over satellite, mobile, and online. The latter will be available to you if you are unable to get dish reception, sooner that you think. While you may not get Surround Sound, there is always Dolby Pro Logic to fill your living room stadium, so wire up the HDTV to a suitable PC and happy viewing.