By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am excited about watching the Vikings and Eagles on Thursday Night Football. Can you go over some of the things we need to know to watch the game? Will it be free, require a sub, that sort of thing. Thanks for all the info you provide!! — David, Kansas City.
David, Amazon on Thursday night (September 14) will kick off this season’s exclusive streaming of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games with the Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles matchup from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7 p.m. ET with kickoff expected at 8:15 p.m. ET. The TNF games will not be available again this season on Fox and the NFL Network, but they will be broadcast on local channels in the two markets where the teams are located. (NBC 10 in Philadelphia on Thursday; Minnesota channel TBA as of this writing.)
While Amazon’s exclusive coverage might be good news for cord-cutters, many cable and satellite customers might still be a bit confused about how to stream the games and whether they will include some of the features and benefits they have long enjoyed with their pay TV services. Here are 11 things everyone should know before trying to watch the game on Thursday night, and the rest of the Amazon TNF schedule.
1.How Do You Stream the Game?
You go to Amazon’s Prime Video app on your streaming device. (High-speed Internet service is a must here.) There you will see games shown under the ‘Live and upcoming events’ banner. Then click on that night’s game and start watching. You can also go to Amazon’s home page and click on Prime Video where you will see a link to ‘live and upcoming events.’ (The Amazon app and web site will likely have a prominent display of the night’s game on the Home Page so it will be hard to miss it.) Prime Video is available on 650 different streaming devices, although Amazon says some are better than others. See this article for more details.
2. Do You Need an Amazon Prime Sub to Watch?
No, there are four different ways to watch Amazon’s TNF games without paying a dime: Local channels in the markets of the two teams playing; bars and restaurants that show the game via DIRECTV; a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime; or a free Twitch account. Note: The TNF games are not available on the NFL Sunday Ticket.
3. How Much Is an Amazon Prime Sub?
If you want to subscribe to watch the games, an Amazon Prime membership costs $14.99 a month or $139 a year. A membership plan to only Amazon Prime Video is $8.99 a month. (The Prime membership provides many more benefits, such as free two-day shipping.)
4. Are There Ways to Avoid Streaming Delays?
Live streaming can be unreliable, perhaps most notably that it can be up to a minute behind the real time action. However, Amazon says there are certain streaming devices that are better than others at reducing delays. See this article for more details. Google was able to reduce the Sunday Ticket delay to under 20 seconds on the first week of the season so the pressure is on Amazon to do as well on Thursday. It should be noted, however, that Amazon last year won plaudits from critics (and most) fans for its weekly TNF presentations which were delivered with relatively few technical glitches that you often find during live sports broadcasts on other streaming services.
5. Can You Record the Game to Watch Later?
Amazon has included DVR controls to the live stream so you can record the game as well as pause, rewind and fast-forward while the game is being played. See this article for more details. There will also be a ‘Key Plays’ feature that will allow you to catch up on the game’s most pivotal moments.
6. Can You Watch Replays of Games After They Are Over?
Game replays are available if you opt in to record the season. To opt in, find a Thursday Night Football game on Prime Video and then click “Record Thursday Night Football.”
7. Can You Download the TNF Games?
No, you can record them, but you can’t download them onto a device. See this article for details.
8. Are There Multicasts of the Game like the Manningcast on ESPN?
The main broadcast with feature play-by-play announcer Al Michaels, analyst Kirk Herbstreit, and sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung. But there will also be a full Spanish commentary broadcast for a Spanish-speaking audience. Amazon is also promising other alternate streams throughout the season so stay tuned.
9. How Do You Know Which Bars Will Show the TNF Games?
DIRECTV has partnered with Amazon to show the Thursday Night Football games in more than 300,000 commercial venues across the nation. The satcaster, which has provided the NFL Sunday Tickets in bars and restaurants for years, has a Sports Bar Finder app that can tell you which places in your area will have both the Amazon games and the Sunday Ticket. See this article for more details and see the video below for a look at how the Sports Bar Finder app works.
10. Will DIRECTV’s Sunday Ticket Subs Get the Games For Free In Their Lineups?
No, the DIRECTV/Amazon partnership does not extend to the general satellite audience, whether subscribers have a subscription to the NFL Sunday Ticket or not. If you want to watch Amazon’s TNF games, you will have to use one of the four methods described above. See this article for more details.
11. Will the Amazon TNF Games Be Available In 4K?
No, Amazon tells the TV Answer Man that the games this season will be available in 1080p HDR (High Dynamic Range), not 4K. But that is a significant improvement over last season when it was 1080p SDR (Standard Definition Range) See this article for more details.
Below is the Amazon regular season schedule for Thursday Night Football in 2023, which includes a game on Black Friday (November 24).
Week 2 – Sept. 14: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 3 – Sept. 21: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
Week 4 – Sept. 28: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Week 5 – Oct. 5: Chicago Bears at Washington Commanders
Week 6 – Oct. 12: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 7 – Oct. 19: Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints
Week 8 – Oct. 26: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills
Week 9 – Nov. 2: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 10 – Nov. 9: Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears
Week 11 – Nov. 16: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Week 12 (Black Friday) – Friday, Nov. 24: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Week 13 – Nov. 30: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
Week 14 – Dec. 7: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 15 – Dec. 14: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
Week 16 – Dec. 21: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
Week 17 – Dec. 28: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
David, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann