Australian Fans: How To Watch The NHL PlayoffsPosted: April 18, 2012
I’ve noticed that there’s a few Australian NHL fans out there wondering what is the best way to watch the playoffs in Australia, so I’ll put my 2 cents down here.
There’s 3 ways that I know of:
- Fox Sports are apparently showing playoff games live. I can’t attest to this because I’m a pauper and can’t afford to shell out for pay TV (nor do I really have the inclination).
- What I have done since 2008 is download games via torrent from a certain website. I won’t post the address just in case but if you Google ‘nhl torrents’ you should find it easily enough. Every game is available for download, usually within 12 hours of it finishing and there’s various qualities to download too. If you want a massive full HD file you can get it. If you just want a regular old stream version you can get that too.
- For the playoffs this year I’ve tried something new and I’ve subscribed to NHL Gamecenter. I paid $60 or so and I can watch every playoff game live or replayed.
Pros and cons?
Well, Fox Sports is expensive and you don’t have a choice of what game to watch (or what feed). As far as I can tell you may not get a chance to see the series you really want to. On the plus side it’s full HD and you can record it to watch later (which is handy since most people would be at work when the games are on).
The biggest negative for the torrents option is that they are closed for registration for another month (as of the 18th of April). If you aren’t already a member… tough. If you are a member, or if you sign up in a month, then it’s not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. First, you’ve got to get your ratio up above 1 and keep it there or you get banned. This isn’t any easy thing to do with the slow internet speeds in Australia and the way ISPs count our data here. Keep in mind you’re in a swarm with users from Europe and North America who are on 100mb/s connections with no download or upload limits. Secondly, you get very delayed caps (copies) of the games so if you’re like me and have to download the game overnight, then work the next day then you often won’t get to watch the game until over 24 hours after it’s finished. This worked fine for me last year but the Stanley Cup Finals were difficult – I basically couldn’t go online in any capacity for fear of spoilers. Thirdly – there’s a forum and a shoutbox with very strict rules and if you don’t adhere to them you get a warning or you get banned. They are strict as hell, so be careful.
Now we come to NHL Gamecenter. I’ll be straight up about this – I’m no corporate rat or do-gooder but if you have a decent internet connection (minimum 8000kbps) and a large download limit then this is the winner – hands down. First off, it’s completely legal so it wins over the torrents. The quality of the streams are surprisingly good. You get your choice of what feed to watch (I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can watch the Boston/Washington series and not have to put up with Jack Edwards from NESN). If you’re watching live you can view multiple games at once (it’s kind of hectic though, I don’t recommend it). You can watch full or condensed replays and highlights. You want live stats while you watch? You get that too. AND the biggest plus for me – I installed the free app onto my iPad and I can stream the games direct to the iPad as I relax on my couch like the lazy bastard that I am. No need to sit at the computer to watch games.
So there you go Australian ice hockey fans – that’s how you do it. Next season I won’t be relying on the torrents as much as I have over the past few years – NHL Gamecenter is where it’s at.