How can we watch live basketball at home, just for a month?
April 29, 2012 9:57 PM   Subscribe

What's the cheapest way I can watch live basketball coverage in my one home? I'm in California, and a Charter cable internet customer. Complication: I only want a month of access.

My parents are staying with with me and my wife for a month, and my dad is going through sports withdrawal. We've done away with cable TV, and entertain ourselves with Netflix on-demand programming, plus a digital antenna that picks up NBC, CBS, Fox and the CW.

Ideally, we could find some reliable streaming service, and pay for that for a month. He has his laptop, and there's a desktop computer we rarely use. We don't want cable TV, but he's willing to pay for it for a month, if that's possible, and he brought a spare TV for that specific purpose.

Past threads that talk about streaming sites that are either no longer working, or don't appear to have any NBA coverage. Searching for "streaming sports TV" and the like returns shady looking sites with a ton of ads, and demands that you install some plugin that I've never heard of before. has a streaming feature, but you need to be a member of Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, or Verizon FIOS TV.
posted by filthy light thief to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total)
ESPN's affiliates is much larger for their Xbox app, so if you have an Xbox you could try that. You need to be a Gold subscriber but I think you can try it for a month for free (assuming you haven't already used the subscription).
posted by fiercekitten at 10:08 PM on April 29, 2012

There's the official NBA streaming service. Playoffs are just getting started, but I thought the playoffs package was cheaper last year.?.. - - Great quality streams though, better than any free or sketchy streams you can dig up.
posted by p3t3 at 10:08 PM on April 29, 2012

Response by poster: The only game system we have is a Wii, and the website makes me feel like a noob. It looks like I want the NBA Leagepass broadband, but when I select that, I'm greeted by a page that says:
Sign Up For Announcements On The 2012/2013 Season! Be the first to know about NBA League Pass 2012/2013 by registering your email below!
Is it too late to subscribe to get streaming video for this year? Also, the Wikipedia page on NBA League Pass currently says:
Although Charter Communications does not offer the NBA TV channel, NBA League Pass Broadband refuses to remove the blackout restrictions from these games. Creating a ticket requesting that the blackout issue be investigated using the league pass customer service website does not allow the blackout to be removed. Using the chat function on the support site also does not remove the blackout restriction. In fact, NBA League Pass Broadband responds with a form email with the language above and claim that you actually do have the NBA TV channel available. As a result of this practice, paying for the full premium league pass package will NOT get you the games you are promised.
How much would this impact access for the next month? As you might be able to tell, I don't follow basketball at all.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 AM on April 30, 2012

Hmm; maybe someone from in the US who has subscribed can chime in. I never get blackouts because I'm in Japan (so there are never locally televised games); and apparently the subscription packages are different outside the US too (I can choose the current playoff subscription package no problem).

You could also try contacting them directly and check about blackouts and current playoff packages; not sure how good/prompt their support is, but wouldn't hurt to try.
posted by p3t3 at 1:35 AM on April 30, 2012

If you have cable broadband you probably have espn3 which will at worst have highlight packages. They usually have games but I'm not sure if they have NBA streaming rights in addition to their broadcast rights.
posted by JPD at 2:55 AM on April 30, 2012

Actually I just checked and they seem to have most if not all of the games. It also occurs to me that if you can't get access via charter he probably can get access his home ISP/cable provider. Worst case if you've got a friend with cable nearby you could ask for their log in details.
posted by JPD at 3:02 AM on April 30, 2012

Yes, an NBA League Pass will let you stream games, either live or archived.

I'm outside the US, so I subscribe through, but I believe that the url for those inside the US is I can't see the page because it auto-directs to for me, but see if that gives you something different?

I've been using this service for about a month and find it's pretty solid. The steams are good quality, and I've watched them both on my laptop and on my iPad with the NBA app. I believe there's an app for Android, too.
posted by Georgina at 3:17 AM on April 30, 2012

League Pass doesn't carry the playoffs in the US.
posted by JPD at 3:39 AM on April 30, 2012

Well, that sucks. Sorry, filthy light thief.
posted by Georgina at 4:17 AM on April 30, 2012

If you're not particular, FIBA offers live streaming from the former Yugoslavia (where basketball is the national sport!) and Russia. Russian basketball is like Hoosier ball, but everyone's seven feet tall and can dunk. You might see some French action too and they have lots of world and regional cup action that includes the American under-16 team.
posted by parmanparman at 4:43 AM on April 30, 2012

And under-21s. The British team has had a very good year and could be a contender. I would recommend checking them out to see what America is up against.
posted by parmanparman at 4:44 AM on April 30, 2012

I just noticed you said you can't access ESPN3 - you can.

Charter Website
posted by JPD at 4:49 AM on April 30, 2012

We don't want cable TV, but he's willing to pay for it for a month, if that's possible, and he brought a spare TV for that specific purpose.

So why not do this? Most cable companies do not have a term commitment; order for a month then cancel.
posted by banshee at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2012

I just finished watching the Penguins get owned during their playoff run. Its legit and has almost any sporting event you could ask for.
posted by amazingstill at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2012

Response by poster: JPD: I just noticed you said you can't access ESPN3 - you can.

Interesting. I'll check that when I get home.

banshee: So why not do this? Most cable companies do not have a term commitment; order for a month then cancel.

The issue is more of a physical (where to place the extra TV) than monetary. The TV he brought is not small, and would awkwardly take up a computer desk. It's not the worst scenario, but far from ideal.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:51 AM on April 30, 2012

Response by poster: ESPN3 works, in a fashion. I'm not 100% sure how I got it to work, but it does, and now I see it doesn't stream as much as I thought it would. For games it doesn't broadcast, it posts PowerPoint-like updates, and graphs of activities. Very odd.

The other sites work, in a fashion. I have to close two separate layers of ads, but the video's there, in streaming glory, and that works for me.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:22 PM on April 30, 2012

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