Is your web quick sufficient to stream the massive sport?

If you are a sports activities fan who’s ever tried to livestream a giant sport in your condo, then chances are you’ll already know the ache of realizing your neighbors are a couple of seconds forward of you as you hear them react to the massive landing, dwelling run or bounce shot lengthy earlier than it performs out in your display. Or, simply as unhealthy, you get a notification in your telephone earlier than seeing the successful kick. 

I’ve been there. It stinks.

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The actuality is that a certain quantity of lag or delay is typical if you’re streaming one thing dwell whereas everybody’s tuning in to the identical broadcast (my CNET colleague Eli Blumenthal does an important job of detailing the causes of the streaming delay). There’s not a lot that you simply — or your neighbors — can do about that collective baseline lag. But in case your cheering neighbors upstairs constantly appear to be a number of seconds forward of you, that is an indication there may also be points with your house community slowing issues down. 

First, let me begin by saying there may very well be longer-term options to higher your streaming capabilities. For instance, my CNET colleagues recommend upgrading your Wi-Fi router and different options in our information to bettering your streaming expertise. But let’s concentrate on short-term, fast enhancements you possibly can sort out in only a few days so that you’re prepared for the massive sport.

Don’t wait till kickoff. Use these performs earlier than sport day

Ideally, you wish to embark on this fact-finding mission at the least a couple of days earlier than kickoff. That’ll offer you sufficient time to make the mandatory changes earlier than the all-important occasion. 

Run a velocity take a look at

The first order of enterprise is to know in case you’re getting the web velocity you are paying for. I’ve a sneaking suspicion {that a} good variety of you on the market aren’t even positive what velocity you are presupposed to be getting (and perhaps that is an article for one more day), so in case you’re unsure, test your account on-line and confirm what velocity your plan guarantees.

Next, you will wish to run a velocity take a look at to seek out out in case you’re getting the obtain and add speeds you want within the rooms the place you intend on tuning in. The greatest, most thorough strategy is to run a number of checks at totally different occasions of day to get a fuller image of your connection’s velocity. But for the precise activity of getting arrange for the massive sport, you wish to run your velocity take a look at on the similar time of day because the scheduled kickoff (which is roughly 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET).

There are loads of free web velocity checks, however I most continuously use the Ookla velocity take a look at. I’ve acquired the app on my Apple TV and might see the outcomes on my LG TV — you too can run it in your browser or through the use of a free velocity take a look at app in your Android or iOS system.

Image of Ookla speed test resultsImage of Ookla speed test results

Get your Ookla velocity take a look at outcomes proper on the massive display!

Screenshot by Trey Paul/CNET

In our CNET information to how a lot web velocity you actually need, our advice for streaming 4K video (for instance, this yr’s Super Bowl protection by FOX will probably be broadcast in 4K, although most over-the-air broadcasts will probably be in HD) is a minimal of 25Mbps, in order that’s your place to begin. Overall, we additionally concluded that at the moment’s households must be searching for minimal obtain speeds of at the least 100Mbps if speeds like these can be found and reasonably priced at your handle, particularly contemplating the variety of sensible units linked within the dwelling (which we’ll contact on just under). 

With your velocity take a look at leads to hand, make sure you’re getting the speeds you are presupposed to obtain. If the numbers are far off, it would make sense to contact your web service supplier and discover out if one thing is awry on that finish, or, if doable, you would even attempt to negotiate a quicker plan for much less cash than you are paying now. If you have been along with your ISP for some time, chances are you’ll be shocked to find what higher, cheaper plans are actually obtainable. 

Look over your format

Wi-Fi is extremely handy, but it surely may also bear some blame on your buffering woes. Put merely, the farther away from the modem and router your streaming system is, the decrease its wi-fi speeds will probably be. If speeds are low sufficient, you will begin to see buffering because the streaming system struggles to drag the video content material over the air quick sufficient to indicate it to you in actual time. 

I discussed earlier than that I ran my Ookla velocity take a look at from my Apple TV. The motive for that’s my spouse and I made a decision to attach our Apple TV on to our router through an Ethernet cable. We needed our streaming providers — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, and so forth. — to all have entry to the quickest speeds in our home, which would not be doable through Wi-Fi. Likew ise, if doable, attempt a wired Ethernet connection for no matter system you intend to observe the Super Bowl on.


If you can not join through Ethernet cable, the subsequent most suitable choice is to attempt watching the sport on a tool or TV in the identical room as your modem and router. The much less distance between your router and your Wi-Fi streaming system, the higher your probabilities for uninterrupted efficiency.

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Quick tips to help speed up your Wi-Fi at home


Check your household bandwidth usage by using your router

If you’re still encountering problems even though your download speeds seem to be up to snuff, you may be having trouble with your router. The first thing to try is the simplest: turning it off and back on again. I know that can be frustrating to hear, especially if you’ve ever asked for help from anyone in tech services. The standard first response is usually, “Have you unplugged it and plugged it back in?” But the truth is that sometimes it can be that easy — restarting your router often helps it reset and function better.

Something else worth considering is the number of people and devices using your network. While we mentioned earlier that the ideal download speed for streaming 4K video is 25Mbps, it’s important not to forget that each device on your network uses bandwidth.

Our homes are now filled with connected devices, starting with our mobile phones, laptops and smart TVs. We also have gaming consoles, security cameras, voice assistants, connected speakers/sound systems, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smartwatches and many other smart home gadgets
. These are all vying for your resources.

Take an inventory of the smart devices in your household and, with your partner, roommate, kids or whoever else is at your abode, agree on what can be temporarily removed from your network to allow a less congested network for your game day.

On that note, if you have people in the home who aren’t football fans and would like some counterprogramming — consult with them beforehand and see if you can come up with a list of shows or movies that can be downloaded ahead of time. Maybe download a copy of Encanto for the kids. Or maybe the nonsports fans would enjoy some episodes of The Last of Us or some classic episodes of The Office. Whatever it may be, take the time to get your household on board, and those alternatives downloaded early, and you can avoid strife, arguments and backed-up bandwidth on the day.

Execute a game-day checklist

OK, you’ve done a practice run several days before the big game. But now it’s Go Time. It’s Sunday and you’re just hours away from kickoff. To ensure all your efforts weren’t in vain, it’s time to run through the tasks one last time.

Rerun that speed test

The fantastic download speeds you registered several days ago won’t do you any good if your game day speeds are lacking. It’s always a smart idea to check your download speed before marking off any other items on your list.

Return to your router and double-check the bandwidth status

Remember your inventory of smart devices? Go through the list and start removing them from your network. Even though you previously discussed this with the other household members, take the time to remind them of your game day plan. For example, you don’t want the kids going off-script to hop online and play Fortnite instead of sticking to the movie you already downloaded. This will make for less stress in the fourth quarter when the game’s on the line.

Now you’re set to get the best experience possible for your home’s current setup. You’ve done all you can, now have fun!

One last play: Avoid streaming the game if possible

Before you start yelling at me, I’m not contradicting everything I just mentioned. Nor am I advocating that you give up your sports habit altogether. 

Maybe you found a few holes in your system that these tips can’t fix (you’re due for a new router, or it’s time to get out of apartment life, maybe?). Or maybe you don’t want to chance a game-day glitch. I’d encourage you to take a look at other ways to view your favorite matchups at home. 

For example, approximately 90% of all regular season and postseason NFL games are broadcast on the traditional networks of CBS, FOX, NBC and ABC. That means that even if you’re a cord-cutter like me — and Statista predicts there will be over 40 million households that part with pay TV in 2023 — depending on where you live, you can still get your football fix by using an over-the-air antenna. If you go that route, you could watch the big game without being at the mercy of buffering, blips or delays. 

That said, other sports, like the NBA, NHL and MLB, to name a few, have a much smaller percentage of games shown on the broadcast networks, so an antenna won’t do you much good there. Or, as my colleague David Anders put it in his rundown of internet and TV bundles, if you want your regional sports networks, you’ll need to lean on a traditional TV subscription or streaming service with live TV. 

Whatever you choose to do, take some time before kickoff to ensure that your game day experience is the best you can make it. Also, be sure to have all your snacks on hand, prep your chili, wings, pizza and subs early, and enjoy the game!

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