How to stream the Super Bowl in 2021
Don’t expect a 4K stream this year, sadly.
Last year marked the first time that viewers could catch the Super Bowl 4K streaming in ultra-high definition (UHD). That high resolution came with a caveat: the actual production happened in 1080p and upscaled for compatible devices. So, it wasn’t pure 4K, but it could take advantage of those big, fancy TVs better than previous year’s games. If you’re wondering how to watch the Super Bowl in 4K this year, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs, you’re sadly out of luck. the game won’t be in 4K or HDR thanks to COVID-19-related issues.
More viewers streamed the big game last year than ever before. Fox claims an average of 3.4 million people watched, up 30 percent over the year before and more than 100 percent compared to 2017. Many of those users went straight through the fox sports app. Super Bowl streams will likely only increase again this year as more consumers move away from typical cable subscriptions.
How to watch the Super Bowl
The simplest route to watching the game is on the CBS network in real time with a cable subscription. Kickoff happens at 6:30 p.m. ET, but the actual coverage will start well before then. Last year, Fox began its coverage at 1 p.m. with a kickoff show that garnered an average of 4.5 million viewers. Once the full-fledged Super Bowl coverage kicked in at 2 p.m., that average viewership rose to 21.6 million.
If you have a live subscription service like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, or AT&T TV, you should be able to watch the game just like you would any other CBS broadcast.
How to stream the Super Bowl
Because CBS owns the broadcast rights to the game, don’t expect a wide array of different Super Bowl streaming options. You can head to CBSSports.com on your computer and stream it live though a browser, or fire up the CBS Sports app if you’d prefer to watch it through your phone or connected devices. The game is streaming for free to everyone, but it will be available through the CBS All-Access app as well for subscribers.
For watching on the big screen, the Fox Sports app and CBS All Access app work on all of the most popular platforms, including Roku, AppleTV, Samsung’s smart TVs, Amazon’s Fire TV, and more. If your device is very old—you’ve been hanging onto that original Roku from the early days—it’s worth checking the compatibility now before you have to scramble out and buy a new streaming device on game day.
Two years ago, Roku devices hiccuped during the stream, so if you have several methods for watching the game—for instance, a smart TV and an Xbox—it’s worth getting them all set up in advance in case one stutters and you have to switch.
Don’t be too sad about the lack of 4K
While the 1080p stream won’t be able to take full advantage of a UHD screen, CBS suggests that sticking with typical HD will ensure a smooth, hiccup-free streaming experience across all of its platforms. And with current upscaling tech, it’s unlikely that you’ll be left wanting for image quality, whether you’re tuning in for the action on the field or you just want to catch The Weekend perform during the half-time show. Last year, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira drew a total of 104.1 million average viewers across its networks, which was bigger than the game itself.
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