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Eye on Demand | April 25, 2017

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NFL Game Pass Review

NFL Game Pass Review

Review Overview

Quality of Video Stream
9
User Interface
8
Content on Offer
9
Device Availability
6.5
Value for Money
6
7.7

Sports Service Benchmark!

In what could possibly be the most impressive sport streaming service yet reviewed, the NFL have pretty much pulled out all the stops with amazing video quality and great coverage. Could this be Eye on-Demand’s new benchmark in streaming sports?

Watching America’s most popular sport anywhere in the world has never been easier with the NFL’s official service. This amazing online portal offers a vast range of live and catch-up matches, more viewing options than you can shake a stick at, along with a small range of subscription choices.

Let’s start by looking at how much damage this will do to your bank balance.

(Pricing is also available from NFL Game Pass’s Plans & Pricing Page in US$, AU$, UK£ and other currencies and was correct at time of publication, and will change as the season progresses, systematically dropping in price.

  • Follow Your Team: €64.99 (Choose your favorite team and watch all of their Pre-season + Regular Season games live. Access through 10 Jan 2016 – details)
  • Season Standard: €84.99 (Watch every Pre-season + Regular Season game live. Access through 10 Jan 2016 – details)
  • Season Plus: €129.99: (Watch every NFL Game all season – including Playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII. Access through 31 July 2016 – details)

There is also a free trial that is sometimes available, although it does come with a few limitations and is often only found near the beginning of the season.

Note: The last three options, Follow Your Team, Season Standard and Season Plus are by default set to auto-renew. This means when the season is finished, you will be billed for the next season automatically. It is possible to opt out of this in the account settings, and Eye on-Demand recommends this action as a precaution.

NFLComparePlans

Quality Button

Video quality is certainly nothing to worry about here. NFL Game Pass offer HD streams of up to 4500kbps, depending on available bandwidth. And to be honest, that is near the best quality I have seen for live sport streaming services. My own personal tests in Germany achieved an average result of 4100kbps*, which looked beautiful on my screen.

Sport is especially difficult to get right with online streaming, as the high bandwidth offered by satellite or cable services are generally not yet possible via the Internet, and low bitrates can result in pixelation or artifacts especially during high speed action. Once game play began, this was at an absolute minimum with NFL Game Pass, not a bad effort considering the small buffering windows required for live sporting events.

Remember the days when you just switched on the television to watch a game, and what you got was little more than a couple of camera angles chosen by the network? Don’t think you have such limitations here. NFL Game Pass offers some of the widest choices available, so let’s have a look at a few of them:

Single Game View: Your standard, run-of-the-mill game play which to be honest is probably good enough for most general use.

Double Game View (web only): Split the screen evenly into two games, audio comes from the selected game.

Quad Game View (web only): Split the gaming window into four equally sized games, with the audio coming from the selected game.

Picture-In-Picture View (web only): Two game mode again, but this time with the 2nd game playing back in a small window at the top/right.

Condensed View: This is exactly as it sounds, a shortened version of the game omitting game breaks, pauses and minor segments not worth including. It can shorten a game to between 30-40minutes.

Coaches Film: This option allows you to watch touchdowns and big plays from a range of different angles including behind the play and endzone views.

NFL RedZone: A great way to stay on top of all games without having to watch them, this only shows action as it nears the touchdown zone, but be warned, it may still eat up most of your day!

NFL Network: A live 24/7 online channel offering news, comment, historical archives and special features from the NFL.

NFL Banner

 

  • NFL Game Pass

    The web portal is probably the easiest place to start with NFL Game Pass, and where you can quickly create an account (which can be used on other platforms) as well as accessing some special features not available on other platforms.

    In fact, this is technically the most feature-rich of all the available platforms, which will bring a smile to those who prefer dragging a laptop around, rather than watching on a mobile device.

    Whilst other platforms may have a more comprehensive UI, the web is the only place where you can watch matches in Double Game View, Quad Game View and Picture-In-Picture, although to be honest, these are really only for novelty purposes. Streaming quality can suffer when multiple games play concurrently and although the PIP mode is nifty in principle, I find the secondary screen is far too deep within the actual game when viewed on full-screen.

    Still, that aside you also have the greatest amount of control on visual playback including manual or automated video quality settings.

    And speaking of which, it was here that I achieved the highest quality stream in our tests, averaging 4100kbps*! This is the best HD live sporting stream yet tested at Eye on-Demand and the action looks stunning at full screen.

    Platform Pros:

    • Highest quality streams officially peaking at 4500kbps.
    • Manual or dynamic bitrate selection.
    • Additional viewing options such as Double, Quad and PIP views.
    • Easy navigation and reasonably uncluttered pages.
    • Easiest place to manage accounts.

    Platform Cons:

    • Not the easiest way to transfer video to the big screen.
    • No countdowns to the next games.
    • PIP on full-screen is awkwardly placed.

    (Accessing NFL Game Pass in certain regions may be blocked or experience blackouts without a good Smart DNS or VPN service)

    Sport BUTTON CC BUTTON HD BUTTON PVR BUTTON Live TV BUTTON

     

     

     

     

    This service is geographically unblocked on this platform by the following Smart DNS providers:

    [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”19173″]

  • Best Choice StampThere is no doubt that NFL Game Pass have provided a very solid iOS app. Immediately from launching you are faced with the business end of the game, so no messing about. The home page takes you directly to the current week’s playoffs and complete with a very handy countdown. Tap any of the games to see exactly when a match will begin, or start them if they are currently playing live.

    Hopping back in time to catch up on an earlier game couldn’t be easier, just tap the calender, but make sure you have the score switched off to avoid spoiling a match.

    The live Network channel complete with schedule, along with incredibly long RedZone videos are all available here, and it is sometimes amazing how quickly the streaming video will begin.

    As for the game playback window, standard Broadcast, Condensed and Coaches Film are all available along with score tables including Play By Play, Scoring Summary, Stats and your Saved Clips (presuming scores are switched on).

    Video quality was beautiful, averaging 4550kbps* for the live streams, and around 3010kbps for replays. This high quality really shows, not just on the smaller mobile screens, but also when streamed across to the big screen.

    Chromecast is fully supported on both the iPad and iPhone models, making it easy to send the streams to the main TV which looked great, especially since the feed topped 4680kbps*!

    AirPlay itself works a treat, with direct access from the playback screen and no need to mirror. The only missing point would be multitasking, so hopefully nobody rings you in the middle of a game.

    Another great feature is the ability to download replay games for offline viewing. This is fantastic for those with limited bandwidth, or when traveling. Downloads can include the entire broadcast (which can require more than 3GB depending on the game), a condensed version or the coaches film – all of which offer two quality levels.

    Despite the lower video streaming quality and the lack of additional views such as Double, Quad or PIP, the existing video quality, user interface and AirPlay options along with mobile possibilities are enough to lift this platform above the others tested.

    Platform Pros:

    • Fantastic and easy to use UI.
    • High quality AirPlay direct from playback screen, without mirroring.
    • Videos begin very quickly.
    • High quality 4550kbps* HD streams for live feeds.
    • Chromecast support with amazing 4680kbps* stream.
    • Excellent countdown to matches on home screen.
    • Ability to switch off scores, along with great stats and score charts.
    • Offline downloads for replay matches.

    Platform Cons:

    • No AirPlay multitasking.
    • Missing the double, quad or PIP views.
    • Lacking the high 4500kbps streams seen via the web.

    (Accessing NFL Game Pass in certain regions may be blocked or experience blackouts without a good Smart DNS or VPN service)

    Sport BUTTON CC BUTTON HD BUTTON PVR BUTTON Live TV BUTTON AirPlay BUTTON Download BUTTONChromecast BUTTON

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This service is geographically unblocked on this platform by the following Smart DNS providers:

    [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”16940″]

  • The following app has been tested on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 running KitKat 4.4. Due to the enormous fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, features, availability and UI may vary dramatically between devices.

    For those with Android mobile devices, NFL Game Pass offers two distinctive versions depending on whether your device is a tablet or smart phone, with the tablet version making use of the increased screen real-estate. For the most part, the tablet incarnation looks not too dissimilar to the iPad version, with live and replay options provided.

    The live Network channel complete with schedule, along with RedZone videos are all available here, and it is sometimes amazing to me how quickly the streaming video will begin.

    As for the game playback window, standard Broadcast, Condensed and Coaches Film are all available along with score tables including Play By Play, Scoring Summary, Stats and your Saved Clips (presuming scores are switched on).

    Video quality is the lowest of the three tested here though, officially maxing out at 1600kbps and with our own tests averaging 1560kbps. This drop really shows when sitting side-by-side with an iPad offering almost double the bitrate.

    Thankfully Chromecast support also exists, and here you should expect a rather impressive 4620kbps* stream, at least from what our tests managed to pull off.

    Of course, Android lacks any AirPlay support which is expected, but I was however surprised to see offline downloads not on offer – this was a great feature for the iOS version and will be quite a bit missed by many people, especially those who travel often.

    Platform Pros:

    • Fantastic and easy to use UI.
    • Videos begin very quickly.
    • Chromecast support, with stunning 4620kbps* tested stream.
    • Excellent countdown to matches on home screen.
    • Ability to switch off scores, along with great stats and score charts.

    Platform Cons:

    • No offline downloads.
    • On-device video quality quite low.

    (Accessing NFL Game Pass in certain regions may be blocked or experience blackouts without a good Smart DNS or VPN service)

    Sport BUTTON CC BUTTON HD BUTTON PVR BUTTON Live TV BUTTON Chromecast BUTTON

     

     

     

     

     

    This service is geographically unblocked on this platform by the following Smart DNS providers:

    [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”16998″]

  • NFL Game Pass will work without geographic restrictions outside of the United States, Mexico, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, and any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Basically, this means anywhere in the world but America.

    However, selected matches are still subjected to blackouts within the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic or Ireland. For a detailed list of blackouts, click the links provided from NFL Game Pass’s official website.

    NFL Game Play is freely available in the iTunes store from most countries with the exception of the United States. It is possible to create an iTunes account in another country by following these steps.

    So all that said, if you still want to access this service within the United States or other locations during blackout games, you will need to access NFL Game Pass via a good Smart DNS or VPN service.

    Overplay’s Smart DNS service can connect to a range of countries that can be selected via their JetSwitch feature, allowing customers to select a server to avoid any geographic restrictions or blackouts whilst providing the highest quality streams, but prices at NFL Game Pass’s subscription page can also be set to other currencies.

    It should be pointed out though that there is always a risk associated with lengthy subscriptions and accessing services outside of their official regions. NFL Game Pass may change things at their end that could cause problems for Smart DNS and VPN services, and they would be entirely within their right to do so. My experiences with smart DNS and VPN services such as Overplay is that they will try everything they can to keep things working, but it is a small risk that should be kept in mind.

    This service is geographically unblocked by the following Smart DNS providers:

    [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”16940″]

  • I’ll be honest with you. I hail from a country where football players don’t don eight kilos of protective outfits and where the original version (Rugby) is an action packed 80minutes with very few breaks. That said, despite not being a follower myself of American Football, I’m excited about this service. And that must say something.

    NFL Game Pass have provided an incredibly solid platform to watch pretty much every NFL game you could want, in fantastic video quality and with a UI that works extremely well. In fact, NFL Game Pass has pretty much become the online sport streaming benchmark as far as Eye on-Demand can see.

    Of course nothing is perfect, and NFL Game Pass do have a couple of weak points where they could improve. Unfortunately, wherever you are in the world, the timezone is hardwired to ET (American Eastern Time) and this can be a little confusing to say the least – especially so since this service is designed to be global. Maybe a selection should be offered to switch between local and ET timezones, or possibly show both somehow.

    And finally, there could be improved platforms support. Smart TV widgets, a Roku channel or Apple TV app, anything above just mobile devices and computers. Thankfully AirPlay is supported, which goes a long way to easily stream the games onto big-screen TVs – at least that is for Apple owners.

    However, it disappoints me that NFL GamePass no longer provide a week or basic monthly subscription in a time period where monthly subs are the norm.

    Pros:

    • Fantastic high quality video streams.
    • Fast and comprehensive UI.
    • Excellent additional stats and details.
    • Massive range of games to watch.
    • Additional viewing options such as Condensed and Coaches Film.

    Cons:

    • Hardware support could be improved.
    • No offline downloads for catch-up content.
    • No local time zone option.
    • No monthly sub.

    Technical Details:

    • Minimum of 750kbps bandwidth for the lowest quality streams (higher than 4500kbps sustained is required for their HD streams)
    • Latest minimum computer requirements can be found at the NFL Game Play website.
    • For a list of supported mobile devices, jump to NFL Game Play’s website.
    • Only one device at a time can access the live streams, even if they are all within the same network.

    Sport BUTTON CC BUTTON Catch-up BUTTON HD BUTTON PVR BUTTON Live TV BUTTON Download BUTTON AirPlay BUTTON

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Log:

    25.10.2013: Review Published: Score 8 – Sports Service Benchmark

    11.11.2013: Updated with changed info on Overplay Smart DNS and overall test results.

    27.01.2015: Updated with new pricing.

    31.01.2015: Overall update & adding Android review + Chromecast tests. Score updated to 8.1.

    04.08.2015: Score dropped due to lack of weekly pass in new season. Updated pricing.

     

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    * Bitrate tests were based on multiple averages and are subject to both the geographical location and ISP bandwidth at the time.

     

Comments

  1. Nicholas Polydor

    “Overplay’s Smart DNS service connects to Dutch servers avoiding any geographic restrictions or blackouts, but prices at NFL Game Pass’s subscription page can also be set to other currencies.”

    This is wonderful flexibility.

    Do you have a list of all the services supported by Overplay SmartDNS, and which country’s servers it connects to for each? I’ve looked on their website but can’t see anything. Thanks.

    • Hi Nicholas, OverPlay don’t publish a complete list of their services, so what you see here is probably the best out there. Keep in mind that although everything you see here works via OverPlay on the platforms reviewed (at the time of publication), they still have plenty more we need to get around to.

  2. shaun canady

    I noticed that if I were to buy the “Follow Your Team” subscription, I wouldn’t be able to watch my favorite team if they made the playoffs. Could I then purchase the “Watch for 7 Days” subscription each week during the playoffs? I think this would save me some money instead of purchasing the “Season Plus” subscription at the beginning of the season.

    • Hi Shaun, I would contact NFL Game Pass for that question, just to be sure, but I suspect the “Watch for 7 days” should work.

  3. Michael Simmonds

    You can also watch in the NFL app on the Xbox One

  4. chris

    This has to be most fraudulent review Ive ever read.

    Nothing written here is based in reality this is nothing but a bought and paid for review by the NFL.

    I had the NFL GAME PASS until this morning when I got home and tried to use it. There are no full games its a lie! and a big one….No game started at the beginning they all began with random time left in the 1st quarter and then skipped parts of every quarter I suppose they have to fit all the commercials in. never cut the commercials but the game?

    You cant use the FFW RW or pause if you do, it starts the game over where it let you start watching.

    I have 100 mpbs internet, every streaming service I use netflix amazon run great and Vudu movie stream 4k on my UltraHD Tv but this looks like I need to get aluminum foil to help my rabbit ears

    NFL GAME PASS is such a fraud that when I called my credit card company to complain they told me they already have an investigation going about the NFL game pass. seems am not the only one who thinks this is fraud. My credit card company refunded my money and will go after the NFL for the money. I could careless if my CC is successful they gave me my money back.

    This review is more an honest assessment of the fraudulent Game pass app then the bought paid for review above…..

    • Hi Chris,
      Thank you for your… well, rather critical comment.
      1st of all, I can assure you that this review was not paid for by anyone, especially the NFL. Eye on-Demand has absolutely no connection with the NFL at all, nor the provider of this streaming service in any possible way.
      2nd, When this service was tested (at the time of publication), it worked extremely well, and was deserving of the score. The review is 100% unbiased.
      3rdly, Perhaps you didn’t realize that NFL Game Pass is only officially available to those outside of the US, and requires a VPN or Smart DNS access for people within the United States to access. This is clearly stated in the Blackouts and Regions tab.

      Finally, after all this is said, your point of view is important, and I appreciate your contacting us. I would actually be interested to hear more of the issues you experienced, and so would our readers, so please don’t hesitate to explain in further detail the problems you experienced.

  5. How do I improve the picture quality on my nfl game pass?

    • Hi Ron, First of all, I need to know what is the problem with your picture quality? Is it pixelated, is it stuttering/juddering etc.
      Secondly, I need to know how you are accessing it, what device, WiFi or Ethernet, your geolocation, if you are using VPN, Smart DNS or nothing etc.
      The more info, the easier it will be to diagnose.