There is excitement and perhaps some anxiety about the Florida State football season.
There is also excitement and plenty of anxiety about the ability to watch FSU on the new ACC Network.
Some early programming has been established for the ACC Network. FSU will play two September football games on the channel – Sept. 7 against ULM and Sept. 14 at Virginia – and 12 others games involving ACC schools have already been scheduled for the network.
The FSU soccer team, which looks to defend its national title, will also play an Aug. 25 game on the ACC Network and at least six more this fall on the channel. And more than 150 ACC men’s and women’s basketball games as well as Olympic sports programming will be added in the coming months.
“We are very excited that the first live event on the ACC Network will be an FSU soccer game,” FSU athletics director David Coburn told the Osceola. “Two of our first three football games will also be televised exclusively on the network.”
The ACC Network will offer must-see TV when it debuts on Aug. 22 with a documentary on Duke basketball. In the days to follow there will be a behind-the-scenes look at Clemson’s 2019 season, studio analysis from the likes of former FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and former FSU assistant Mark Richt as well as live game coverage. The first ACC football game of the season, Georgia Tech at Clemson on Aug. 29, will also be on the channel.
But just six weeks away from the launch, major cable providers around the state as well as throughout the ACC footprint have not reached a carriage deal with ESPN to offer the new channel. If you go to www.GetACCN.com and type in your zip code, the ACC Network will offer up a list of who will offer the channel. In Tallahassee, for example, the options are limited to DirecTV as well as streaming services like Hulu Live and PlayStationVue.
What does this mean for FSU fans? If you are a cable customer or if your satellite provider is Dish Network, you will not be able to watch the ACC Network. Many of these agreements typically go down to the last minute, so FSU coaches and administrators have encouraged fans to contact their cable or satellite providers and tell them they want the ability to watch the Seminoles’ athletics teams this fall.
“We don’t want our fans to miss the opportunity to see these events, so it’s important that fans contact their providers and demand that they get the network,” Coburn said. “Without it, they will not be able to stream games or matches featured on the network, or watch them on TV.”
Another reason to encourage providers to carry the ACC Network? Money. ACC schools will receive more revenue from the channel if it is carried on cable providers like Comcast, Charter and Spectrum. FSU fans can lend their voices to the effort by contacting their providers and asking them to carry the ACC Network.
But with the college football season beginning in late August, many FSU fans are analyzing their options so that they can make sure they won’t miss watching the Seminoles. Some fans are looking into DirecTV’s service or “cutting the cord” and going with a streaming service.
Before you contemplate switching providers, evaluate if your house or apartment has good high-speed Internet that is capable of streaming programming. If you live in a rural area, where Internet speeds are often much slower, you may be limited to DirecTV (Dish Network has not yet signed a deal to carry the ACC Network).
There are two streaming services, Hulu Live and PlayStationVue, that have signed on to carry the ACC Network. The monthly service fee is competitive and often much lower than cable (packages begin at $44.99 monthly). There is a downside to using a streaming service as there is a delay between when a game is played and when the game is shown (in football, it’s typical to be a play behind). There is occasional buffering that will cause a program to momentarily freeze on the TV and changing channels will require a few more buttons to be pushed on a remote than with a traditional cable-TV setup.
But even with some of the kinks that come with what is a relatively new concept of streaming live sports, it is a better option than missing an entire FSU game. If you have high-speed Internet, you have options. You can use:
A smart TV that has streaming capabilities built in.
A BluRay or DVD player that connects to the Internet via WiFi or Ethernet cable.
A video-game system that can connect to the Internet.
A smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. This gives you added portability – watch a game or show in the backyard or on the go.
A streaming device like a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast or AppleTV are options for those who want to stream programs to a TV. All are quite small and could fit on a drink coaster or insert directly into a USB port on the side or back of your TV via an HDMI cable. The price ranges from $29 to $89 for these devices (check to see if the purchase of the device includes an HDMI cable and if it’s long enough to connect to your TV). After the cables are connected you just need to follow the prompts, enter a credit card for payment to a streaming service and you can be up and running in under an hour.
If you’re comfortable setting up a new tech toy, this is a good option. If you’re not, think about a family member or friend who has cut the cord or streams TV shows and movies off Netflix or Amazon Prime and ask how they stream.
Now that you know what hardware you need to stream, let’s take a look at two of the top streaming services:
Hulu Live – 60-plus channels on a package that begins at $44.99 per month, no contract. Two people can watch at the same time per account. Hulu Live offers 50 hours of a cloud-based DVR (more at hulu.com/live-tv)
PlayStation Vue – Packages range from $44.99 to $79.99 per month, no contract. Multiple people can watch on various devices with the same account. PlayStationVue offers a cloud-based DVR (more at playstation.com/en-us/network/vue)
How do you know which one is right? Ask a family member or friend which they have tried. And remember that Hulu Live and PlayStationVue each offer a free trial. While some are as short as five days, it at least gives you time to test drive the service before your credit card is billed.
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