Super Bowl XLIX on NBC: OTA vs. Cable vs. Satellite vs. Streaming

The Super Bowl is upon us, and it’s available as a live stream as well as through pay TV services and over-the-air (OTA) broadcast. Whereas last year the game was shown on Fox, this year it’s on NBC.

When I watched the Super Bowl last year, I compared the OTA broadcast with streaming. I found Fox’s stream was unacceptable due to mediocre picture quality and gross amounts of latency. I did not measure the lag to the second, but Fox’s Super Bowl Stream was a couple minutes behind the live broadcast—which was totally unacceptable for watching a live sporting event. Thanks to social media, it’s inevitable that a touchdown will cause a lot of phones to start buzzing and spoil the surprise.

In a recent article, Consumer Reports noted that because of the real-time feedback social media provides, even broadcasts that are seconds apart (rather than minutes) can cause problems.

“That opens up the possibility for some serious Super Bowl spoilers. Just imagine seeing a stream of Tweets, Facebook posts, or text messages from a friend constantly surfacing dramatic moments in the game 30 seconds to two minutes before you see them on screen. You could even find yourself hearing wild cheering from a neighbor’s house for the winning touchdown while on your screen a play hasn’t begun yet.” – Click here to read the original consumerreports.org article

I’m curious if any AVS Forum members have first-hand experience comparing live broadcasts viewed OTA, on cable, and via satellite. Which feed has the least latency? The other question I have pertains to picture quality. From what I’ve read, OTA broadcast provides the best image because it is not as compressed. It leaves me wondering if using an antenna remains the absolute best way to watch the game on TV since it features the highest quality, as well as the least latency. That’s my plan for this year.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl? If so, how are you planning to watch it? Also, leave a comment if latency ever became an issue while you were watching a game due to social media, or simply because you could hear your neighbors cheering.