Live NHL Video Streaming Now Available On iPad

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During the hubbub of CES, I seemed to have overlooked¬†news that live NHL streaming has come the iPad. But, boy how I’ve made up for lost time these last two evenings. Basically, the NHL iPad app is free… but to enable video, one needs a subscription to GameCenter Live. It’s not inexpensive. Yet, it could be priceless. The current prorated fee runs $119 and includes both live and archived games (available on any/all of the NHL’s supported platforms).

Video initially loads up in a window, allowing you to keep track of other matchups – both scores across the top and other streams you can flip to on the side. Although, when the stream holds, it’s probably more desirable to catch your team full screen.¬†Incidentally, you can toggle between opposing team video feeds if you prefer or would rather avoid homer commentary. Blackout rules are still a mystery and an annoyance, applying equally to the audio-only streams also found in the app. The local affiliates must be protected?

Despite the regional restriction gripe, which is not iPad- or even NHL-specific, the ability to access live hockey anywhere is quite compelling. Although not entirely surprising given the NHL’s progressive rollout of their over-the-top services — they’ve been available on Roku and Boxee since last spring, for example. The trend is clear, while the specifics remain in flux, “television” is being redefined. And, for many of us, tablets will quite likely become our kitchen and bedroom “sets” with the Internet serving as the pipeline.

(Thanks, Floppyhead!)

8 thoughts on “Live NHL Video Streaming Now Available On iPad”

  1. Great, now I can watch my team lose anywhere, rather than only when I’m home to attend their home games / watch them lose on local TV. :)

  2. NHL blackout rules are pretty simple. The NHL divides the country up into territories by ZIP code. Each team has a set of ZIP codes in its territory.

    If your ZIP code (the one where you are physically sitting when you try to watch, which the app figures out from your IP address) is in the territory of either team playing in a given game, you won’t be allowed to watch that game online until 48 hours after it ends.

    If your ZIP code is not in the territory of either team playing in a given game, you will be able to watch online. But you WILL NOT be able to watch the game on that team’s TV channel, even if you get that channel as part of your TV package.

    NHL games on regional sports networks are available ONLY to people INSIDE the team’s territory. NHL games online are available ONLY to people OUTSIDE the teams’ territory.

    Now, the blackout for radio feeds is weird. You can go to the website of the radio station airing the games and listen to them without blackout, no matter where you are. (This is different from MLB games, which are blacked out from radio station streams).

  3. Yeah, I get how it’s supposed to work… but why would the Maple Leafs & Rangers be blacked out in Virginia? My thought is, since it was the only game on at 7PM last night, maybe it would be broadcast locally and blacked out digitally.

  4. Games on national TV are blacked out for the whole country until 48 hours after they end. Last night’s Rangers-Leafs game was on the NHL Network.

  5. Cool, thanks for the clarification. Although it emphasizes my point that this stuff isn’t immediately apparent to the casual observer.

    Also, as a follow-up to the radio thing, the teams were shown in the audio menu but nothing would play when I clicked on it after entering/exiting the menu several times. Then, at some point, it was no longer offered in the menu. So it could be a regional restriction, but it could also be related to a break in play or a bug of some sort.

  6. I had not paid much attention to NHL GameCenter because of the local black out issue. It looks like we might be moving to New Orleans so I started trying to figure out how to watch my teams. The PS3 also has Gamecenter available as well.

    The caps are really the only thing I am watching on cable right now. Makes wonder if I should cut my ties to cable. The $40 a month though is just not worth the hassle.

    At leats I don’t have to worry about the terps this year.

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