This gadget will let you watch the Super Bowl without cable
No cable? No problem. You can still watch Super Bowl 54 live.
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Streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and FuboTV are making it easier for us to ditch the cable bill without losing our favorite shows. But streaming live sports will cost you a good chunk of what you were paying for cable, so sports fans have been in a tough spot.
I cut the cord years ago, but as a lifelong Kansas City resident and Chiefs fan, you can be sure I'll be watching the Super Bowl this year (while enjoying some BBQ, of course). And I'll be replaying every miraculous Mahomes moment—but I won't pay a penny.
Yes, you can stream live sports safely and legally
In moments of desperation (like the 2015 World Series), I pulled up sketchy websites that unreliably streamed sports broadcasts for free. Football and baseball are family activities where I come from, and I soon realized the ads on these sites weren't exactly kid-friendly. I found myself screaming "LOOK AWAY!" every time a pop-up appeared. Not a great solution. Also, I had the persistent fear that the feds were going to show up at my door and drag me to jail.
Our entertainment center is in our basement, so grabbing the game via an antenna didn't work—the signal wasn't strong enough to reach. I tried and tried and never could find a reasonable way to watch local sports without paying an arm and a leg.
When I heard about Amazon's Fire TV Recast, I was intrigued for myself and the multitude of others who share in my predicament. It's tough to be a sports fan without paying for cable or satellite, but if there are local TV stations broadcasting the game OTA (Over the Air), the Recast can give you the full cable TV experience without the bill.
How can I watch Super Bowl 54 for free?
There is an upfront cost for the Recast box, but it's way, way less than you'd pay for cable or streaming services in a year, and once you have it, there are no more fees.
The Recast hooks to an indoor antenna. The further you are from the TV signal's origination point, the stronger the antenna you'll need. We placed ours in a south-facing window (as our house is to the north of the TV stations we wanted). The antenna is situated a floor above our TV, but that's not a problem, because the antenna doesn't physically connect to a TV.
How does the Recast work?
The antenna connects to the Fire TV Recast, which is a black box not unlike a DVR or cable box. The Recast pulls in OTA channels and makes them available to all your Fire TV devices and mobile app. You can place the Recast anywhere in the house since it doesn't have to connect to your TV by a cable. Just put your antenna where you'll get the best reception, and plug in the Recast nearby.
The Recast pulls in the signal it picks up from your antenna and beams it to the cloud, so you can login and watch the channel from anywhere, even on-the-go with mobile data. It's essentially a personal streaming service for your local channels. Nice.
What else do I need to stream live TV?
You will need a Fire Stick or Cube to pull in the feed from the Recast.
We have a Fire Cube in the basement and a Fire TV Stick 4K in the master bedroom, and we can "stream" local channels on either TV now, even though the antenna is in a completely different part of the house.
Bonus? We can also watch these local channels through the FireTV app on our mobile devices.
Even cooler is that the Recast also functions as a DVR, so you can record that late game and watch it whenever. Depending on the storage you choose, it can hold between 75 and 100 hours of shows.
Should you get the Fire TV Recast?
If you don't want to sign up for a cable contract but do want to watch the 49ers take a beating February 2, the Recast is for you. (And it's also for 49ers fans too. I guess.)
My only issue with the Recast is that, if the signal is poor (maybe it's cloudy outside), it won't attempt to record something you scheduled it to record. I'd love to get a notification on my phone when that happens, because I might be able to move the antenna and correct the issue. Sitting down to finally watch the game only to be met with a screen informing me it didn't record at all is…irritating.
The Recast is the missing piece for sports fans who are also cord-cutters. It's a bit of an up-front investment, but there are no monthly fees, so it pays for itself quickly once you cancel cable, satellite, or a live streaming service. And if you have little ones in the house, you'll be glad to know you can PIN-protect all playback or by the show's rating.
If you'd rather go with a streaming service, FuboTV is a great option for live sports, and it offers a free seven-day trial before the monthly charges of $54.99 begin.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.