By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we don’t have our Fox station here because of the station fight with DIRECTV. But college football is back and we want to watch all the games. Any ideas on how we can watch the games on Fox? — Tim, Lexington, Kentucky.
Tim, DIRECTV has now been without the 159 Nexstar-owned network affiliates for nearly two months and, although circumstances might suggest a settlement could come sooner than later, there’s no guarantee of that. So how can DIRECTV subscribers in Nexstar markets watch the college football games airing this weekend on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox if they are missing a local channel? Here are some tips:
1. TV Anywhere Apps
The networks have apps called, TV Anywhere apps, which allow pay TV subscribers to watch live and on-demand programming by inputting their pay TV user name and password. NBC has NBC and NBC Sports; Fox has Fox Sports; and so on. Unfortunately, DIRECTV subscribers in Nexstar markets have reported that they have been unable to use the apps, apparently because of the carriage dispute between the broadcaster and DIRECTV. (Nexstar denies that it has asked the networks to block DIRECTV’s customers from using their apps.) But it’s worth a try this weekend when the games begin. (And don’t forget to try the ESPN app for ABC/ESPN games.)
2. Paid Streaming Apps
The networks also have subscription apps that show games. For example, Peacock, the NBC-owned streaming service, will show three NBC-produced college football games this Saturday, starting with the noon ET game between second-ranked Michigan and East Carolina University. Plans start at $5.99 a month. Paramount+’s Premium plan, which costs $11.99 a month, and includes Showtime, offers the live local CBS station with its service. That would be a way to catch CBS’ broadcast of the Ohio State-Indiana game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. ESPN, of course, has ESPN+, which shows multiple games for $9.99 a month. And Fox? Fox does not have a subscription streaming service. It’s the Fox Sports app or bust, and again, Nexstar viewers with DIRECTV have reported they have been blacked out there.
3. TV Antenna
If you can pick up your local network affiliate with an antenna, you can watch the games for free. Not everyone can, of course. It depends upon your location and other factors such as whether you live near mountains, tall buildings and other possible obstacles. But it’s worth a try if you already have an antenna.
Tim, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann