Okay, this year’s guide isn’t going to be as detailed as last year’s. So if you find something unanswered here, please refer to the 2015 edition. Basically I’m going to go over the current options and give you some comparison info. As of the initial publishing 5 of BYU’s games still don’t have an announced network. So check back later for updated info as those are released, though likely 2 to 4 of them will end up on an ESPN network.
Below I’ll only mention the channels that we know are carrying BYU games this year, or there’s a possibility they will air one of the unannounced games (like ESPN U, FS2, etc), though many other channels are included in each package and add-on. Also, I don’t mention any CBS channels in the pure-streaming options, because neither offer anything. In fact the CBS Sports network only allows live streaming for subscribers with COX, Frontier, or Optimum, cable/satellite packages. Also, all 3 options here, let you login directly to the Watch ESPN website/app, which will provide the stream for any ABC games as well, if you don’t/can’t get it via OTA Antenna.
Sidenote: Support Twitter Games!
Before I get into this, you’ll want to know about something really cool happening this year: Twitter is live-streaming some Mountain West games. If you’re reading this article, this is a big deal, because it suggests a move toward innovation and a future where you won’t need a guide like this one, because everything is available streaming without a cable/satellite package!!! So please watch the ones that interest you. Twitter and other companies will be carefully watching the amount of viewers and overall interest in this. So if there’s lots of viewers, we may see college football slowly start to break out of the current network deals that make something like this necessary. You can start with Utah State vs Weber State on Thurs. night at 6pm MDT.
SlingTV: new packages
SlingTV was really the only streaming option last year, without cable or satellite login credentials. This year they’ve added a whole bunch of channels. However, here’s the confusing part: there’s 2 completely separate packages that offer different channels with different limitations on the channels in each of the packages.
Orange = $20/mo
Sling Orange has 25 channels for $20/month and includes ESPN & ESPN2. For an additional $5/month, you can get the “Sports Extra” add-on that includes, ESPN U, ESPNews, the SEC network, and more. Basically Sling Orange only works on 1 device at a time. So if your wife is watching Lifetime and you want to turn on the game on ESPN, one of you is going to have to be willing to watch later. Also, you can use your SlingTV account (if you have Orange package) to login to the Watch ESPN app and website and watch directly from ESPN, which is higher quality in my experience. You’re still limited to 1 stream on 1 device, using your SlingTV account though. There are no other relevant places you can use your SlingTV login to stream direct, on either Orange or Blue.
Blue = $25/mo
Sling Blue has a set of 40 different channels from Orange, and is $25/month and includes local channels like FOX (if you don’t have an OTA Antenna), plus FOX Sports 1, and FOX Sports 2. The difference here is that these can be watched on up to 3 devices at once. So if your kids are watching crocodiles eat wildebeests on National Geographic, you can watch the game on FS1, and your wife can still watch Suits on USA.
Orange + Blue + Sports Extra = $45/mo
You can do Orange + Blue for only $40, then add the “Sports Extra” for another $5, and you’ll get all the relevant channels I mentioned in the two previous sections. I’d say it’s not a great deal, but it’s also not bad. Especially considering there’s no contract, so you can cancel in Jan., until next football season, if you want, or add the addon only for the month(s) when BYU games are actually on those additional channels.
PlayStation Vue: the new kid
PlayStation Vue is the new kid in the streaming TV game, but seems to have already surpassed SlingTV in most areas. They offer 3 different packages: Access, Core, and Elite. These are quite different than SlingTV’s offerings, with each just adding more channels to what the previous offered. You can use your Vue login to login to Watch ESPN, just like SlingTV. But you can also do it with FOX Sports GO as well (can’t on SlingTV), as well as the NCAA March Madness app (for basketball), and other sports options.
PlayStation Vue requires you to activate via a TV-connected device first: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Roku, or FireTV. Then once you’ve done that, you can use it on Android and Apple devices, or Chromecast (since it only works in conjunction with a mobile app). They don’t support XBox (obviously), Apple TV, or computer streaming. PS Vue also allows you to simultaneously stream on 1 PS4, 1 PS3, and any combination of 3 Android, Apple, Roku, Chromecast, or Fire devices, for a total of 5 simultaneous streams, if you happen to have both a PS4 and PS3.
Access = $29.99/mo
Access has 55 channels, including: ESPN ESPN2, FS2, & FS1.
Core = $34.99/mo
Core has 70 channels, and adds: ESPN U & ESPNews to those in Access. If you can get FOX with an OTA Antenna, then this really looks like the best price option. It also adds some non-BYU-related options like the NFL, SEC, and BTN (Big 10) networks.
Elite = $44.99/mo
With 100 channels, Elite rules them all. But it doesn’t really add anything if you’re only looking for BYU Football.
Share A Satellite/Cable Login: the workaround
I mentioned this in last year’s guide. It’s not technically a true “no cable/satellite” option. But if you have someone you have that level of trust with, you can always share the login. That’ll let you stream all ESPN channels, FS1 & 2, etc all via logging into their respective apps or websites. Just make sure the channels are included with the satellite/cable package. As an example, the DISH “America’s Top 120” package includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, ESPNews, and FS1. That covers all the announced games so far, plus there’s streaming access to a number of other channels out there through their apps, websites, or Roku channels.
Games & Networks
For easy reference here’s the games and their networks:
- Arizona – FOX Sports 1
- Utah – FOX
- UCLA – ESPN2
- West Virginia – ESPN2
- Toledo – ESPN2
- Michigan State – ABC
- Mississippi State – ESPN
- Boise State – ESPN
- Cincinnati – tba
- Southern Utah – BYUtv (available streaming on almost everything)
- UMass – tba
- Utah State – tba (likely an ESPN network)
Let me know if this is helpful (it’s a lot of work), in the comments. And check back for updates as games are announced.