How to watch the Super Bowl, with or without cable
Imagine whipping up some perfect homemade nacho cheese, cleaning off your TV screen, and welcoming guests into your home this Sunday just to discover no one’s actually figured out how to watch the Super Bowl. A nightmare. Whether you’re planning ahead or rushing in the moments before the game, we’re here to help.
Super Bowl LVII kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, February 12, though pre-game coverage will start several hours ahead of time. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and Fox has broadcast rights. There are also some 4K viewing and streaming options available.
Where to watch the Super Bowl
The easiest way to watch the big game is on the Fox network with a cable subscription. If you haven’t yet cut your cable cord, just tune into Fox or your local Fox affiliate to join the festivities. Not sure about your hometown Fox station? Type your address into the Federal Communication Commission’s network finder. The game will also air in Spanish on Fox Deportes, and if you’re not in the US the NFL has a list of country-specific channels that will show the action internationally.
If you don’t have cable, you can also grab Fox off the airwaves with a TV antenna. This, of course, requires you to buy an antenna ahead of time, but if you already have one, you’re good to go. Antennas generally cost between $20 and $140, and they’re a good investment if you don’t want to pay for cable but do want to watch your local networks. PopSci’s reviews team has even picked the best antennas for rural areas if you happen to live far from any broadcast infrastructure.
The game will also air on the Fox Sports website and the Fox Sports app, but you’ll have to log in with a cable provider or one of the streaming services listed below. The Fox Sports app is available on Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Android TV.
How to watch the Super Bowl without cable (and maybe for free)
Without cable or an antenna, the best way to watch the Super Bowl this year will be on one of the several streaming services carrying the game. If you’re already subscribed to one of these, you’re good to go. If not, you may be able to use a free trial and watch the game without paying a single cent. Just remember to cancel your subscription before the test period ends—unless you like the service you choose.
Starting at $75 per month, Fubo is a little more expensive than some of the other Super Bowl streaming options, but it does offer a seven-day free trial for any of its plans. That’s important because while you can’t watch 4K TV with its cheapest tier, Pro Quarterly, 4K resolution is included with the $85-a-month Elite Quarterly plan.
Normally $65 a month, YouTube TV is currently $55 for each of the first three months, and you can test the streaming service with a 14-day free trial. Add YouTube’s 4K Plus plan for $20 to watch in 4K, but it’s unclear if that can be rolled into a free trial.
DirecTV’s entertainment package is $75 a month, with a five-day free trial if you sign up online.
As luck (or smart marketing) would have it, Sling is offering half off your first month, so Sling Blue (the only plan that carries Fox) is $20. After that, your bill will increase to $40. Sign up, and you’ll also be able to watch the Super Bowl on three different devices, which is handy if you’re hosting a huge party.
The downsides here are that there’s no free trial period and Sling only carries Fox in some TV markets—you can check its website to see if your area is covered.
Hulu Plus Live TV
You can grab Hulu’s live TV streaming service for $70 a month, with the ability to stream to two separate screens at once. To watch on more, you’ll need to pay another $10 a month for the Unlimited Streams option. There is currently no free trial for Hulu Plus Live TV.
NFL Plus app
If you’re just learning of the NFL’s dedicated broadcast app, it’ll cost you $5 a month. There’s a $13-a-season plan, but that doesn’t make sense when the season ends in two days. NFL Plus (for Android, iOS, iPadOS, and Apple TV) is really only good if you’re planning to watch on your phone or a tablet, though—the app doesn’t currently support casting games to a smart TV or connected device.
This year’s 4K streaming options
According to Consumer Reports, Super Bowl LVII will be broadcast in 4K HDR. It won’t be “true” 4K, though, as Fox will essentially be repeating what it did the last time it hosted the big game in 2020: recording everything in 1080p HDR and upscaling it to 4K.
To get access to this higher-quality broadcast, though, you’ll need to check with your TV provider and ensure you have a 4K TV or some other display that can handle this resolution. Consumer Reports says the 4K broadcast will be available on Altice Optimum, Comcast Xfinity, Cox Contour TV, DirecTV satellite, Dish Network, Fubo, Verizon FiOS, and YouTube TV.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on January 29, 2020.