Football-loving cord-cutters will have an easy time watching Super Bowl LVI this Sunday, when Joe Burrow and the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals will face Matthew Stafford and the champs from the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams.
The game kicks off in Los Angeles, California at 6:30 PM ET at what happens to be the Rams home turf, SoFi Stadium. Pre-game coverage starts at 2:00 PM ET.
NBC has the rights to broadcast the game this year. We’ll show you how to watch the action—plus all those great commercials and the half-time show, starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar—even if you don’t have a cable- or satellite-TV subscription.
Unfortunately, the game won’t be available in 4K resolution this year—nor will it in HDR. Considering NBC hasn’t produced any NFL games in 4K this season (to date, Fox Sports is the only network to broadcast a nationally televised game in Ultra HD), we suspect the network doesn’t want to take any chances with one of the biggest broadcast events in the world.
Option one: Use an antenna
Of the four major North American sports leagues, the NFL remains the only one you can still enjoy without a pricey cable subscription. All you need is an antenna that’s capable of pulling in your local NBC affiliate to catch the big game.
If you’re old enough, the thought of using an antenna probably conjures memories of temperamental “rabbit ears” and staticky images. Thanks to modern broadcast technology and over-the-air antennas, you can get a high-quality image that can, in some cases, be better than what you’d get with a subscription.
If you live close enough to a broadcast tower, you might be able to use paper-thin indoor model such as our top pick, the Channel Master Flatenna 35. The 35 indicates the manufacturer’s promise of 35-mile range. A Flatenna 50 model promising—you guessed it—50 miles of range is also available.
If you’re more distant than that, you might be better off with an antenna that mounts to your roof or on a freestanding mast. The Antennas Direct DB8e is our favorite in that category. Either way, all you need do is plug one into the tuner that’s a fixture of most modern TVs.
Before you purchase an antenna, though, go to a site like Rabbit Ears and see which networks are available from your local broadcasters. Just enter your address to get a report of all the broadcast signals in your area, ranked from strongest to weakest. Once you determine which broadcaster is furthest from your home, you’ll know what range antenna to buy. A website such as Antennaweb will show you the NBC channels closest to your zip code.
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Option two: Use a streaming service
In the event you’re too far from a transmitter to pull in NBC, or you just don’t have time to wait for an antenna delivery, you’ll need one of the streaming options below.
Peacock Premium, the NBCUniversal streaming service, is your most obvious choice—and it’s the cheapest option: $4.99 per month with limited commercials, or for $9.99 per month for a commercial-free option. The latter option gives you the opportunity to also download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. If you haven’t previously signed up for a 7-day trial, you can watch the big game for free!
Sling TV includes NBC in select markets in its Blue and Orange & Blue packages for $35 and $50 respectively. Both packages have a free 3-day trial for new subscribers. If you sign up now, you can get a free Chromecast with Google TV, and Sling TV offers other promotional gifts for when you prepay for two or three months.
DirectTV Stream, formerly AT&T TV Now, offers NBC in select markets. Packages start at $69.99 a month. You can check what local channels are available in your area here.
FuboTV focuses primarily on sports, and now finally includes ESPN in its lineup. More importantly for watching Super Bowl LVI, you can get your local NBC station if an over-the-air antenna is out of the question. You’ll also get the NFL Network for all your game analysis and highlights. The service costs $64.99 per month for more than 100 channels, and there’s a 7-day free trial. Check here to see if FuboTV carries your local broadcast station.
Google’s TV streaming service is one of our favorite TV streaming services, and it’s available in most U.S. metropolitan areas (enter your zip code here to see if it’s available where you live). You get more than 85 channels, including NBC, for $64.99 per month. Currently, the service is being offered to new subscribers for $54.99 for the first three months, then reverting to full price. You can try the service for free for two weeks.
Hulu’s live TV streaming service also gets you NBC. As with other streaming services, geographical restrictions apply, but you can check availability in your area here. Now that Disney has complete control over Hulu, a subscription includes Hulu + Live TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $69.99. And yes, there’s a 7-day free trial available.