That was a quick summer, wasn’t it? It seems only five minutes ago that Chelsea were crowned the Premier League champions, but this weekend it all starts again, with Arsenal hosting Leicester City on Friday evening, and a full Saturday and Sunday of fixtures ahead.
To help you get ready for the Premier League 2017/2018 season, we’re going to outline the various viewing options you’ve got, and dig into the state-of-the-art technology the broadcasters are using to beam all the action to your living room (or the pub next door).
Watching in the UK
Sky and BT are the places to go if you want to watch live games in the Premier League this season: Sky has 124 games, all in 4K with Sky Q, while BT has 42 games, all in 4K as long as you have BT Broadband (so if you have Sky Broadband and buy BT Sport as an extra, you’re stuck with HD quality).
Sky is shaking up its channel packages this season, with the old numbered packages making way for channels dedicated to particular sports. The Sky Sports Premier League channel is the one you want for top-flight footy.
As for prices, check the latest offers for Sky and BT as they’re likely to have changed since we wrote this – the companies are always trying new methods to tempt in viewers. At the time of writing Sky Sports bundles started at £18 a month (though you also need a basic Sky package as well), with BT starting at £29.99 with broadband included.
Meanwhile, you’ll once again be able to enjoy highlights of the Premier League on the BBC with Match of the Day and MOTD2.
Another option is the Now TV service run by Sky, which works in lower resolution over your broadband connection rather than in 4K through a satellite dish. You can get Sky Sports for £19.99 a month at the moment, with no need to buy a basic Sky channel package as well. One of the appealing aspects of Now TV is you can also pay per game.
Finally, if you’re tempted to watch through a dodgy stream, we’d advise against it – the Premier League is cracking down on these unofficial channels like never before this season, in a bid to protect the large fees it gets for broadcasting rights.
Watching in the US
In the US you’re looking at the NBC Sports Network for your Premier League fix. Stateside soccer fans can watch every match live, if they so wish.
The channels you need to keep an eye on are NBC, NBCSN, USA, CNBC and the Premier League Extra Time channels, available through most TV packages. If you prefer your commentary in Spanish, NBC Universo and Telemundo are the channels to tune into.
This season there’s an extra option for cord-cutters: you can pay NBC $50 for online streaming access to 130 games during the season. That’s a not-unreasonable fee of $0.38 a game, with no cable subscription required.
You get a bunch of highlight packages thrown in as well, so it’s worth considering for football fans who don’t already have access to the NBC Sports Network and want to be able to watch the action from wherever they are.
New season, new tech
One of the big upgrades Sky Q customers can look forward to this season is Dolby Atmos: that’s the 3D surround sound audio upgrade that makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.
You do need Atmos-compatible speakers to get the full benefit though – and oddly, Sky’s new soundbar doesn’t fit the bill. Meanwhile, BT customers have been enjoying Dolby Atmos for some time now.
Also new on Sky Q boxes is the ability to watch matches from the start if you’re tuning in halfway through. You’ve always been able to rewind live TV, but the new feature means you can jump back to the first minute even if you’ve only just turned the TV on.
Meanwhile 3D TV has been pretty much abandoned at this point, so you won’t have to dust off your 3D specs unless you’re heading to the local cinema rather than watching the football at home. In a few years from now we might all be enjoying Premier League football in virtual reality, but that’s still some way off.
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