It may not be very Canadian of me, but I don’t watch much Hockey during the regular season, eh! There are just too many games where one or both teams don’t really show up to play, plus there are a lot of Bobby Clobbers that take away from the game. But the playoffs are a different story! Each game really counts so everyone usually comes with a totally different sense of urgency, and Cinderella stories happen all the time. I hate missing any playoff action, but fortunately there are lots of different ways to catch playoff games no matter where you are. Here are the best options to make sure you get your fix.
By far the best way to watch the playoffs of course is on your big screen TV, preferably with a beverage of choice. But since you can’t always have your TV with you, streaming on to your portable devices makes it easy to make sure you don’t miss your favorite games. The best place to get your streaming content is likely from your cable company, especially if you have bundled your TV, Internet and Cell phone service. But if you are like me and have different providers there are other ways to get the playoffs on to your mobile devices.
Big Screen Viewing
I only watch games on my mobile devices if I simply can’t manage to watch it on the big screen at home. Watching on your phone or tablet is an OK alternative if you have to, but it doesn’t come close to watching it on a 50, 60, or 70 inch TV. At the risk of stating the obvious, Ultra High Definition 4K is the best way to watch everything, but it is a particularly great for hockey because of the speed of the game. To have that level of clarity makes it much easier to follow the puck, and when you see the hitting you can almost feel it. The fastest game on earth seems so much faster when you can actually see everything with the crystal clarity of a 4K set like the Samsung UN55HU7250FXZC.
Although there are a lot of great 4K sets available, I like this Samsung for a hockey upgrade because it is a very reasonably priced curved screen that has extra motion enhancement technology to ensure any fast action stays clear as a bell. To get the full hockey experience you should also think about adding some excellent sound so you can hear the action bounce around your room. A quick and simple addition is the Polk Omni S1 soundbar and wireless subwoofer. This Polk sound is very clear and powerful so you will really hear all the detail of the game and feel that hitting even more. Look at my full review to get the full scoop on this excellent soundbar system.
SlingPlayer app with Slingbox
However, if you have already subscribed to the NHL Playoffs through your cable provider, or even if you haven’t and just want to see all the normally televised games on your mobile devices, then Slingbox is a great way to go. There is no sense paying for Rogers GameCentre in addition to a package from your non-Rogers provider. Slingbox essentially allows your Smartphone, tablet or laptop to access your cable or satellite box, wherever you are, and play whatever content is on that box – even PVR’d programs.
The Slingbox I would recommend is their newest Slingbox M1 WiFi Media Streamer. It is the best value because it is the lowest price unit that comes with dual-band WiFi and all the regular Slingbox features for remote streaming. For more detail on how this works, check out my earlier post. My only complaint with Slingbox is that in addition to the cost of the box, you need to buy their SlingPlayer app to be able to use it on your mobile devices. The nice thing is once you have it you can watch anything, not just hockey, from your cable box on your mobile devices and do it anywhere you are in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection.
I am sure that you will still be able to get lots of free hockey action by streaming CBC and other networks content like Sportsnet, and some of the American networks. The catch is you won’t be able to stream too many games live. You will be able to see lots of highlights, statistics, and commentary, and condensed replay for all the games but not as many full games live. To see them live you will have to subscribe to a NHL package or to Rogers NHL GameCentre Live. CBC is probably your next best option with their CBC Player for sports.
If you are streaming on a tablet or Smartphone, you also might want to improve the experience by adding better sound to your portable device. Polk has a portable speaker, their Omni S2, that would work really well because it has fantastic sound for such a small portable wireless speaker and you can easily connect it to your mobile device. The Polk Omni S2 will also wirelessly connect with the Polk Omni S1 Soundbar system to create a more surround effect in your TV room, or use it distribute the sound through your home. That way if you have to use the washroom, you don’t have to miss any of the play by play.
If you are like me, you don’t want to miss any of the NHL playoff action so find the best option that will work for you, but try to spend most of your time in front of the biggest screen you have—preferably a curved 4K set like the Samsung! It is going to be a pretty exciting playoff season this year.