Let’s face it – sports are better on satellite

Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches during the game against the New York Mets at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I watch a lot of sports in the summer. Baseball’s my game, and thanks to the MLB Extra Innings package, there’s a lot of it. I know I could stream it to my phone, but in general I don’t. I find that satellite TV is perfect for sports, and that’s one of the big reasons I push people who like sports to satellite. Let me lay out the case and see if you agree with me.

Big screen vs. small screen

Look, here’s the disclaimer: I’m not 25 years old. I do understand that 25-year-olds with perfect eyesight love watching TV on their phones. When I was 25 I probably would have as well, if it were possible.

I find that it’s a lot more comfortable to watch TV on a big screen that’s several feet away than stare at a small screen for hours at a time. It just feels better at the end of the day. I also have a lot more perception of “being there” — even though the TV is probably a smaller total part of my visual field than a phone would be (meaning it takes up less space in my overall vision) a big screen really makes me feel like I’m at the park. A phone just makes me feel like maybe I’m at the DMV waiting for my turn. (OK, that’s a little harsh.)

A big screen also encourages social interaction. Of all forms of TV watching, I find that sports is the best for getting people together to watch, party, and interact. I know people have Game of Thrones parties too but you really need to be focused when you watch that show or you won’t know who got killed this week. Sports on TV is designed with plenty of repetition. If you missed the big play they’ll probably repeat it. Even if they don’t you have a DVR and you won’t miss the “dramatic flow” by pausing and rewinding.

Maybe my younger compatriots enjoy parties where everyone stares at their own phones but I prefer ones where people actually share experiences. Isn’t that what a party is supposed to be?

Buffering… stinks

The problem with streaming sports is the same problem as everything else. There’s a relatively tight supply of internet capacity and a lot of people want to use it. So unless you happen to have some pretty serious hardware where you are, you’re going to run into a situation where things slow down. Your picture could get blocky, or you might get the dreaded buffering message. That’s not what you need when you’re super invested in a game, and it’s more likely to happen with those critical games because more people are likely to stream.

If you are trying to stream the big game and put it on your TV, that’s going to be better than a room full of people who are each streaming their own thing, but it’s even more embarrassing if you lose picture.

Before anyone says anything, I know satellite TV isn’t 100% reliable either, especially in regions with intense rains. By the numbers though, it’s more reliable than cable or streaming. On average, your satellite system is up about 99.9% of the time.

4K is finally here but…

You won’t get 4K sports on your phone. Even if you did you wouldn’t be able to tell on that little screen. If you want 4K sports, cozy up to DIRECTV because that’s where you’ll get it. Sports drove the conversion from SD to HD, and with enough 4K sports out there it could do the same for 4K. In past years owners have been slow to upgrade stadiums but you’re really seeing a big push for 4K this year. The games are going out in 4K, but only DIRECTV is showing them, on average of about one a week. More will follow I’m sure, but not on streaming. 4K streaming takes (on average) 4 times the capacity of HD streaming so there will have to be a lot more internet capacity added before you see 4K sports over streaming.

Here’s where you get it

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a satellite TV subscriber. If you’re not, I hope you’ll consider calling Solid Signal at 888-233-7563 and signing up for DIRECTV or DISH. The price is the same as if you went straight to the provider, the deals are the same, and the customer service is a lot, lot, LOT better.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.