Q. I saw your story on streaming the Houston Astros today. But how about the Pittsburgh Pirates? Are they available for streaming. I would like to get rid of cable, too!! I read a story recently that said you could stream the games. I hope that’s true! — Bonnie, Pittsburgh.
Bonnie, as you note, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, the TV home of the Houston Astros, is now available on fuboTV. This is the first live streaming service to carry the regional sports channel, and it now allows fans in the Houston market to watch their favorites without a subscription to a cable or satellite TV service.
However, despite what you may have read at some ill-informed web sites, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh is still not available on any of the live streaming services, such as Sling TV, DIRECTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu Live or fubo TV.
The deal between fuboTV and AT&T SportsNet Southwest gives hope that AT&T will strike similar deals for its two other regional channels, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh and AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (the TV home of the Colorado Rockies). But as of today, if you’re looking to drop your cable or satellite service, but still watch the Pirates as a Pittsburgh resident, you’re out of luck.
That is, unless you want to subscribe to MLB.TV, the league’s streaming plan that costs $118.99 for an entire season, and install a VPN on your Internet service.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, a software that you can download that will enable you to use an IP address different from your own. For instance, if you live in Pittsburgh, you could insert an IP address supplied by the VPN company that would say you live in Denmark.
That would enable you to watch the Pirates games in Pittsburgh using MLB.TV because the VPN would make MLB’s servers think you were in Denmark, not Pittsburgh. The blackout restriction, which normally shuts out Pirates fans in the Pittsburgh market, would disappear.
Using a VPN to skirt the blackout is a test of one’s ethics, but many fans are doing it.
Bonnie, hope that helps. Happy Viewing!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann