Bring the ice Down Under with NHL.TV
Frozen lakes are something of a rarity in Australia, which is probably why ice hockey has never gained much traction here. It makes sense: maintaining an ice rink through Australia's long, sweltering summers can't be cheap and even our winters aren't consistently cool. What makes less sense, though, is why our TV coverage of the game is so poor. You won't catch a single NHL match on free-to-air TV and even if you fork out for a complete Fox Sports bundle with Foxtel, you'll be stuck with just the three matches a week Foxtel chooses to broadcast.
Fortunately, hardcore hockey fans need despair no longer. Thanks to NHL.TV, Aussies can stream every NHL match live to their TV, phone, tablet or myriad other devices, all without breaking the bank. Coupled with the latest news, scores and statistics from across the league, NHL.TV is the front-row seat Australian ice hockey fans have been waiting for.
What is NHL.TV?
NHL.TV is the National Hockey League's own subscription streaming service, providing fans all around the world with live and on-demand access to the latest games in both the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Available through the NHL website as well as a host of mobile and non-mobile apps, NHL.TV offers unparalleled coverage of every save, stick-check and slapshot.
How do I sign up for NHL.TV and what does it get me?
NHL.TV offers two levels of access: a free Lite tier and a premium subscription tier. The Lite tier requires no sign-up and lets you view all the latest news, scores and statistics, along with a selection of match-recap videos, highlight reels and classic matches from the NHL's history.
However, to stream the current NHL season, you'll need to purchase an NHL.TV subscription. In doing so, you'll get access to live streams of both the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, available in high definition (HD) and 60fps if your device and Internet connection support it. 48 hours after a game has been played, it'll be added to the video archive for you to go back and watch at your leisure.
Matches streamed through NHL.TV come packed with additional features, from multiple camera angles to milestone markers indicating key moments in past games. Each match offers you the choice between home and away broadcast feeds, letting you pick the play-by-play you want to hear. And if you prefer to watch matches at your own convenience, you can hide the scores on played games to keep the outcome a surprise.
It's also worth mentioning that, unlike American NHL.TV subscribers, Aussies don't have to worry about blackouts for particular NHL games. Since Australian free-to-air channels don't cover the NHL, all matches are available for streaming here in Australia.
How much does NHL.TV cost?
While the Lite tier of NHL.TV will cost you nothing, you'll need to pay to watch the current season's matches. A yearly NHL.TV subscription will cost you US$24.99 (approximately AUD$33.12), while a monthly subscription will set you back US$2.99 (approximately AUD$3.96) a month.
One thing to note: both the monthly and annual subscriptions default to recurring payments, so if you don't want to be charged indefinitely, you'll need to disable automatic renewal in your NHL.TV account settings.
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What devices are compatible with NHL.TV?
Whether you're at home or out-and-about, you have plenty of options available for accessing NHL.TV.
If you're looking to load up NHL.TV on your computer, the NHL.TV website supports all Windows PCs running Windows 7 or later, along with Mac computers running OS X 10.8 or later. You'll also need an updated version of either Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari, with the latest versions of both Adobe Flash Player and Java installed. Streaming NHL.TV on your computer comes with the added benefit of Mosaic View, which allows you to watch up to four games at once on a single screen. This feature is not supported on other devices.
To watch NHL.TV while you're on-the-go, you'll need to download the NHL mobile app to a compatible device. For the Android version of the app, that means any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.2 or higher. For the iOS version, meanwhile, you'll need an iPhone 4s or newer, an iPad 2 or newer, or fifth-gen iPod Touch or newer running iOS 8.0 or higher. Other than the lack of Mosaic View, the only limitation to NHL.TV on mobile is the inability to stream in HD or 60fps on certain older devices.
NHL.TV also supports a number of streaming devices for watching games on your TV. Apple TV models from the second generation on can download the NHL app from the iTunes store to access all the same functionality as on mobile. Xbox 360 and Xbox One gaming consoles have their own NHL app downloadable from their respective stores. For Google Chromecast owners, both versions of the mobile app support casting NHL.TV over a Wi-Fi network.
While you can switch between as many compatible devices as you want, your NHL.TV account can only be accessed by one mobile and one desktop device simultaneously. Account sharing is strictly prohibited and may result in your account being deactivated.
How much data does NHL.TV use?
All streaming through NHL.TV uses adaptive bitrate technology, with video quality dependent on the speed of your Internet connection. To stream in standard definition (SD), you'll need at least 1.8Mbps; for HD, at least 3Mbps; and for 60fps HD, a minimum of 5Mbps. Since a typical NHL match lasts around 2.5 hours after accounting for stoppages, this works out at roughly 2GB of data used per match in SD, 3.4GB per match in HD and 5.6GB per match at 60fps HD.