As long-time fans of the National Rugby League will know all too well, the code was one of the first major ports in Australia to make the move to putting streams of their live games online, making sure that their dedicated fans were able to keep up with their teams no matter where they were. The 2019 season that’s about to get under way has seen the biggest change to that landscape yet, with the NRL’s own streaming offering – WatchNRL – still there to deliver streams of each and every game (live or delayed) on desktop PCs, phones, tablets and even the Apple TV. However, it’s not without its restrictions.
Enter the new player – Kayo Sports. This brand-new sport-only streaming service is an absolute dream for fans – a smartly designed, feature-packed, high-quality streaming service backed by innovative features and a true embrace of its existence as an app-based service, rather than a broadcast one. Kayo has access to the resources of Fox Sports, meaning not only do they provide comprehensive coverage of the NRL season each and every week and every single game, they also cover dozens and dozens of other sports from Australia and around the world.
What Makes Kayo Different to WatchNRL?
While the goal of both services is to deliver live streams of games to fans as they happen, the veteran WatchNRL service is far more straightforward in its approach. It’s been around for some years now, and its goal is pretty simple – to deliver reliable NRL streams of every game, viewable on whatever connected platform you have access to. And aside from constantly updated on-screen scores (and replays available on demand), that’s pretty much all there is to it. The service now has a basic Apple TV app so you can watch on your TV, which is a nice advancement.
Kayo, on the other hand, was born in this new age of streaming TV powered by smart apps, and the developers that Kayo have tasked with putting their site and apps together have done a stellar job. First of all, you’ll find your game will be available to stream in full 1080p high definition, whether it’s on a mobile device (modern phones way exceed HD quality these days) or a big-screen TV. You’ll also find it looks smoother than usual – because Kayo streams at 50 frames per second, double what you’ll find on regular broadcast TV. That translates into a much better visual experience for fans of the game.
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What Else do Kayo and WatchNRL Deliver?
The real point of difference with Kayo comes from its feature set, accessible whether you’re viewing via their web site, on a portable device or on your TV (with the Apple TV app in particular being loaded with extra features). Comprehensive stats are available for each and every game, updated in real time as the game happens. A unique SplitView feature lets you pick up to three other games to stream at the same time as the one you’re watching, letting you keep an eye on all the sport that’s important to you without having to channel hop to get there.
And best of all, both delayed live streaming and on-demand replays have a feature called “Key Moments” that lets you jump straight to the game’s most crucial events – tries, spectacular plays and so on. That means if you come in late and want to quickly catch up with what’s happened in the game so far, you can jump straight to the bits that mattered and then seamlessly drop into the live game, all from the comfort of your couch.
WatchNRL’s stats are limited to scores, as the service is primarily designed solely to stream video of the games without fuss.
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How Much Do They Cost?
It’s hard to go past Kayo’s keen pricing here – because even with all of its advanced features, it’s not just an NRL app. You get access to dozens of sports from all around Australia and the world, and it’s all included for the one price – $25 per month to stream on two devices at once, or $35 per month to stream on three. That’s it – no contracts, no catches, no hidden extras. It’s arguably the best value in sport TV right now, working out to under six bucks a week.
WatchNRL, meanwhile, is set up differently for a reason. It’s available for anyone in Australia to subscribe to, but you can only stream games on it outside Australia. That means it’s positioned more as a way for Australians travelling overseas to keep up with their teams and their games, and as such offers weekly, monthly and yearly subscriptions priced at $19, $33 and $189 respectively.
Kayo, then, is substantially cheaper and gives you a lot more – but Kayo, of course, can only be used inside Australia.
Which One Scores?
Having access to live NRL streams anywhere on the planet is an undeniable advantage for WatchNRL that will be of great interest to the more travel-prone of the game’s fans, many of whom will take up a subscription as they need it. But Kayo Sports, with its high quality video, next-generation features, dozens and dozens of other sports and wide device compatibility really cannot be beaten, particularly at the bargain price of only $25 per month for all the NRL you can handle – and a lot more besides!