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Watching the Super Bowl: Streaming vs. Antenna

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

The Super Bowl is only hours away and I have a decision to make: Watch the game on my 55-inch Vizio M550KD using an antenna, or watch a free online stream (from Fox) on my Epson PowerLite 8350. Each method has its plusses and minuses, and I'm going to be tempted to watch both broadcasts at once to see which is better.

 

I used to receive my local networks for free via my cable jack using a QAM tuner, but Comcast recently scrambled that signal, which forced me to find other options. Since I don't have a stand-alone tuner, I can't watch OTA broadcasts on my projector. However, I love the way games look on a really big screen which is why I'm tempted to watch the streaming version of Fox's broadcast using my projector. 

 

photo from Slate.com

 

I got rid of my cable TV service years ago and I have not regretted it for one minute. I pay for upgraded internet service and I buy or rent movies from Vudu, an arrangement that I've been quite pleased with. The only thing I occasionally miss about cable TV is the broad selection of live sports coverage. However, since I'm mostly interested in football I get by with a simple RCA antenna, which does a great job of pulling in my local HDTV stations. In fact, image quality for OTA broadcasts tend to be quite exceptional, the only fly in the ointment is when the occasional helicopter flies by and momentarily scrambles the signal. 

 

I use one of these RCA ANT111 antennas to watch football

 

When it comes to the Super Bowl, there is another choice besides antennas, satellite, and cable: Fox is going to stream the game live. According to Slate.com, the main difference between the broadcast and streaming Super Bowl broadcasts is the ads, and I know some people claim to watch the game for the ads—I'm not one of those. All those ads are available to watch online, so it's not a big deal. What I wonder is whether the streaming version will look or sound good enough to watch. I viewed a couple of postseason games using NBC's online streaming and those looked quite decent—I'm curious if Fox's stream will look better or worse.

 

Quote:
"Good news, cord-cutters (and cord-nevers): For the third year running, the Super Bowl will be streamed live online for free in the United States. This year you canwatch the Super Bowl live on Fox Sports Go starting at 6:30 p.m. eastern time. The website is FoxSportsGo.com, or you can use the Fox Sports Go iPad app." source: slate.com

 

How are you receiving the game? I'm guessing many of you have cable or satellite service. Is anyone intentionally using an OTA antenna because of the high bandwidth signal? I wonder how all the different ways of receiving the broadcast will look compared to each other. Is anyone deliberately using an antenna instead of cable or satellite, even if you already have one of those services?

I'll update this thread after the game starts with my impressions of streaming vs. OTA image and sound quality. I'm looking forward to a good game.

 

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Edited by imagic - 2/6/14 at 6:54am
post #2 of 27
I have cable and am watching pregame stuff on that but I will switch to antenna as it get's closer. Last year the cable went out for 30 mins after kickoff and I don't want a repeat of that.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

I have cable and am watching pregame stuff on that but I will switch to antenna as it get's closer. Last year the cable went out for 30 mins after kickoff and I don't want a repeat of that.

I did not even think of that!

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

That was easy. Fox's stream looks mediocre at best, choppy and full of artifacts at worst, plus the sound is abysmal. The OTA broadcast looks and sounds great.

I also noticed that the stream is a couple minutes behind the OTA broadcast.


Edited by imagic - 2/2/14 at 4:54pm
post #5 of 27
FWIW, OTA is excellent here. Clear 720p and clean 5.1 audio.
post #6 of 27
Watching on Fox 29 in Philly on Fios and the PQ and SQ is superb on my 141. The game and the commercials, not so much.
post #7 of 27
Using OTA here in the Nashville area and it looks great.
post #8 of 27
OTA here and it looks great.
post #9 of 27
Just checked out the streaming option and it is pretty rough picture quality even on a small screen.
post #10 of 27
Using OTA digital antenna (Monoprice) to a Silicon Dust HD HomeRun DUAL which gave me a fairly striking 720p image and 5.1 surround. The game and half-time show looked fantastic right up until I went back to Netflix after the kickoff return that signified a complete blowout was in the making.
post #11 of 27
Didn't affect me, but friends here in So Cal with Time-Warner cable had a loss of service for about an hour in the middle of the game. A cable service blackout during the Super Bowl again ... really?
post #12 of 27

Just "unplugged" and haven't gotten the OTA reset from when I disconnected it years ago so I did the FOX stream.  Even though my VUDU streaming looks great the FOX streaming kept going from stutter to bad to half decent, towards the end of the game things settled down and started looking half decent.  The sound never improved much, they must have had an sound issue they never fixed.

 

I'm not in any hurry to put the roof antenna back to use (summer project?), I still have rabbit ears...wow, I just remembers, FOX comes in great with the rabbit ears...oh well.  I used to have a switch to go between the roof antenna and rabbit ears so I could switch between them easy.  I was just using my old SD antennas and they worked very well.  I bought an HD roof antenna but need to swap it on the existing mast and change out the cabling.  I've been unplugged a couple weeks and so far I'm happy.

 

HTPC consists of Nvidia Quadro FX4500 for video connected to KURO via Gefen 25' DVI to HDMI cable and Echo Audio Layla 24/96 8 in 8 out sound connected balanced into the HT system.  Yes it's showing it's age but it's paid for.  Maybe I'll upgrade most of the components this year, I'm running out of storage space and I'd rather go new (MB, Storage controller, HDs, GFX, PSU, Case) than upgrade the existing system.  The only thing I might keep is the sound "card".  I really think a sound "card" with break out box (BOB) is the way to go and replacing with a modern likeness would be beyond my budget, maybe new in a two or three year process.

 

Cheers

post #13 of 27
OTA here and it looks great. Streaming has a long way to go before it gets close to OTA HD quality.
post #14 of 27
Like I always say, streaming does not, will not, never will work. If you care about picture quality.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Snip...
How are you receiving the game? I'm guessing many of you have cable or satellite service. Is anyone intentionally using an OTA antenna because of the high bandwidth signal? I wonder how all the different ways of receiving the broadcast will look compared to each other. Is anyone deliberately using an antenna instead of cable or satellite, even if you already have one of those services?
We do not use a 'service' and have a recently installed a Channel Master EXTREMEtenna Fringe/Deep Fringe 8-bay Antenna, which recently replaced a 35 year old Channel Master Yagi. We're 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. and our reception is stable, as well as being of superior quality to our neighbors dish and cable signal quality, that we have run back and fourth to compare... especially during football and golf game broadcasts, where its quite evident that the equipment being used produces superior picture quality, compared to everyday broadcast material sources. We get a few reception hick-ups during bad weather, but so do our dish neighbors. We're sold on OTA and have convinced more than a few others to consider this route, once they've seen our reception quality.
-Rod
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodpaine View Post

We do not use a 'service' and have a recently installed a Channel Master EXTREMEtenna Fringe/Deep Fringe 8-bay Antenna, which recently replaced a 35 year old Channel Master Yagi. We're 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. and our reception is stable, as well as being of superior quality to our neighbors dish and cable signal quality, that we have run back and fourth to compare... especially during football and golf game broadcasts, where its quite evident that the equipment being used produces superior picture quality, compared to everyday broadcast material sources. We get a few reception hick-ups during bad weather, but so do our dish neighbors. We're sold on OTA and have convinced more than a few others to consider this route, once they've seen our reception quality.
-Rod

I started to watch the Super Bore on my OTA. About a half hour into it, it began to rain and picture began to break up.

I now have a 15 year old Radio Shack Yagi. My question to you is " Would changing my antenna to a type like yours help? "
post #17 of 27
I also recorded and watched it OTA on my TiVo-HD... PQ was as good as could be expected from 720p FOX.
Recorded it via cable to my second TiVo Roamio as a backup- but didn't need it.

I'm 60+ miles east of the master antenna on the Empire State Building, but FOX has a dynamite high power transmitter and I receive at 95 (out of 100) for FOX, so no worries about rain fade, foliage, etc...
post #18 of 27
I watch live broadcast sports and other OTA material via:

An outdoor antenna that feeds my DBS OTA tuner, which feeds the OTA signal to my Receiver/PJ combo.
When doing A/B comparison to the same broadcast by satellite; the OTA-Antenna signal is slightly better in every case!
I suspect the compressed nature of the satellite feed is the difference.

I am also fortunate to live within 35 miles of downtown Chicago.
When weather takes out my satellite signal; the OTA antenna signal has never failed me!
post #19 of 27
I watched it on DirecTV and was happy with the picture and sound...I know this doesnt fit the OTA vs. Streaming topic but I thought I would chime in because I am also going to be "cutting the cord" this week or next and I am glad to hear that so many are happy with OTA channel reception.

Right now we are paying about $55/month for the DTV "Family Plan" which is pretty much local channels, food network, DIY, and the kids channels like Nick and Disney with a few more sprinkled in there but we find that we watch the local channels more than anything.

I feel it's much more worth my money to go OTA and have netflix than to keep paying DTV.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skytrooper View Post

I started to watch the Super Bore on my OTA. About a half hour into it, it began to rain and picture began to break up.

I now have a 15 year old Radio Shack Yagi. My question to you is " Would changing my antenna to a type like yours help? "
Sorry, no way I can possibly answer your question, with no idea as to how far you are from your local TV transmitters, the type of terran between you and them, the gain of your present antenna, its height and other factors. What I can suggest is to follow these steps, which should give you a fairly good picture of what is possible at your location...

Go here and get a TV Signal Analysis based on your location:
https://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

Print it out and then go here to get a copy of my analysis for my location:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d5b94e82cd973e2

Print my location analysis out and compare it with yours, looking at the 'NM(db)' and 'Pwr(dBm)' columns. On my analysis, signals with a higher number than -86 Per(dBm) are marginal and will come and go with various weather conditions. Also, my antenna is pointed at the locations where the stations I want to receive is transmitting from, as shown on the Analysis compass map.

If your numbers on the stations you want to watch are pretty close to mine, there is probably a good possibility that you will receive them okay. You can only know for sure by testing at your location with a field strength meter, which I always recommend for people in rural areas, such as ourselves. And don't forget to read this page at this web site, which discusses what's important.
https://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=57&Itemid=89

Finally, the specs on my antenna installation are:
Channel Master 4228HD VHF-HI/UHF TV Antenna - 12dB UHF gain
Winegard AP-8275 Preamplifier - VHF 29dB gain, UHF 28dB gain
Belden 9066 RG-6 Coaxial Cable - 6dB loss/100ft (RG-59 has a 10dB loss/100ft)
No splitter loss, antenna only feeds the Samsung LED/LCD TV, nothing else.

I hope this helps you,
-Rod
post #21 of 27
if you live in areas where there's trees and such, go for streaming. In places where there's no internet or poor internet, get a digital antenna. It will provide better reception and quality vs a crappy HD stream. You could also listen to the radio and hear commentators talk about the game. If all else fails, head to a bar or a friend's house and watch the game on a big screen as possible.
post #22 of 27
I too also recorded and watched it OTA on my PVR... PQ was as very good for a 720p FOX signal with full DD5.1. But the best part is that I got to watch all of the Super Bowl commercials.
I am in Toronto, so our local affiliates sim-sub the transmission and show us Canadian commercials.......pretty much all of Canada (a few exceptions) has to resort to the internet the next day to watch them.

Paul
post #23 of 27
I watched the game on via an OTA antenna and a new Channel Master DVR+ as the tuner. PQ was great as was the surround sound.
Ps. Mark (imagic) the DVR+ when connected to the internet can stream VUDO. Just something to consider.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

The Super Bowl is only hours away and I have a decision to make: Watch the game on my 55-inch Vizio M550KD using an antenna, or watch a free online stream (from Fox) on my Epson PowerLite 8350. Each method has its plusses and minuses, and I'm going to be tempted to watch both broadcasts at once to see which is better.

I used to receive my local networks for free via my cable jack using a QAM tuner, but Comcast recently scrambled that signal, which forced me to find other options. Since I don't have a stand-alone tuner, I can't watch OTA broadcasts on my projector. However, I love the way games look on a really big screen which is why I'm tempted to watch the streaming version of Fox's broadcast using my projector. 

How are you receiving the game? I'm guessing many of you have cable or satellite service. Is anyone intentionally using an OTA antenna because of the high bandwidth signal? I wonder how all the different ways of receiving the broadcast will look compared to each other. Is anyone deliberately using an antenna instead of cable or satellite, even if you already have one of those services?

Mark: It sounds like you have a computer hooked up to your projector, since you have the ability to stream on it. Why not purchase a USB, PCI, or networked tuner? They aren't terribly expensive, and one would completely eliminate unfortunate situations like this one. Plus, if it's a Windows computer, Windows Media Center is free and is an excellent DVR program.

As for my watching the game: I didn't. Watching people I don't know playing a game has never appealed to me. I spent that time out participating in my own sporting activities, which for me is a lot more fun. But if I had watched it, it would have been over the air. And yes, that's because of the high bandwidth signal.
post #25 of 27
I watched it on my projector via my HTPC. I have OTA via HD Homerun network tuner. The HTPC uses Windows Media Center to DVR and control the tv. The picture is outstanding and I think better looking than my old cable service.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pitviper33 View Post


Mark: It sounds like you have a computer hooked up to your projector, since you have the ability to stream on it. Why not purchase a USB, PCI, or networked tuner? They aren't terribly expensive, and one would completely eliminate unfortunate situations like this one. Plus, if it's a Windows computer, Windows Media Center is free and is an excellent DVR program.

As for my watching the game: I didn't. Watching people I don't know playing a game has never appealed to me. I spent that time out participating in my own sporting activities, which for me is a lot more fun. But if I had watched it, it would have been over the air. And yes, that's because of the high bandwidth signal.

I used to use a USB tuner with my PC, back when all I had was a projector. A couple years ago I bought my Vizio and did not have a projector, that doesn't bother me since it's a decent panel for watching broadcast-quality content. A networked tuner does sound appealing. I'm in the camp where I'd pay a-la-carte for sports events, just like renting a movie on iTunes—if it was a true, high-quality 1080p stream.

post #27 of 27
I have a SIlicon Dust dual HD to Ethernet tuner and watch it through a W7 PC with Windows Media Center via HDMI to my 65" VT60. It works great!

I also like that I can watch two shows at a time from any PCs in the house.
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