Kayo v NRL Official App – Which One Scores?


The way the National Rugby League has represented itself online over the past few years has shown they are an organisation that know how much people value being able to access their team’s games no matter where they are – and with the 2019 season kicking off, the League has continued to refine their online and app offerings to help fans connect with every game. But with the minefield of streaming rights to navigate through, even the latest version of the official NRL app comes with a few “gotchas”.

Enter the new contender – Kayo Sports. This brand-new streaming service, backed by the resources and technical know-how of the veteran Fox Sports team, has been making a very good impression amongst fans of many and varied sporting codes. And when the 2019 NRL season gets under way, it’s already clear that Kayo Sports will be right there with live streaming coverage of every game. But with the NRL app already providing exactly that, is there any reason to use Kayo instead? You bet there is.

What Makes Kayo Different to the NRL App?

When it comes to live streaming NRL games, there’s been no denying that the NRL Live Pass is on the ball, and has been for years. Put together by a dedicated team at Telstra – who are also the named sponsor of the Premiership itself – the app is right there when you need it with each and every game available as it plays out. Alongside each game are up to the minute stats, making sure you’re across everything that’s happening.

But there’s a few key limitations – the most annoying one being instantly apparent to anyone using a phone or tablet with a screen bigger than 7 inches diagonally. Because that’s the size limit on live streams from the app, a restriction that comes from the rights agreement with the League that can’t be avoided.

That also means that you can’t display video from the NRL digital app on your TV – there’s no support for Chromecast or AirPlay and no way to brute-force either into working. If you’re watching the game on the app, you have no choice but to watch it on your phone or tablet (you can, though, replay the game later on the NRL website at no extra cost).

Kayo, meanwhile, is a product of the streaming age, where almost everything people watch is streamed to their TV in some form or other. Kayo is no exception to that, with its apps allowing you to send video to your TV via Chromecast in full high definition. But not only that – there’s also dedicated Kayo apps for popular streaming devices like the Apple TV and the two models of Telstra TV. And that’s really the ideal way to watch the NRL on Kayo – sit back on the couch, grab your remote, and fire up the game! On Apple TV (as well as the website and phone/tablet apps), Kayo even supports “split view”, letting you have up to four live streaming windows on the screen at once. That lets you keep an eye on several games at the same time or, when available, watch multiple camera streams from the one event. It’s brilliant!

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What Else Do Kayo and the NRL Official App Deliver?

The most important adjunct to the all-important live streams is, of course, the stats. Both Kayo and the NRL app offer extensive real-time stats as the game progresses, keeping you on top of exactly who’s doing what and when. But a review of Kayo reveals they take it a step further with some clever new features, the most impressive being “Key Moments”. This lets you start up a stream of a game already in progress and quickly catch up, by instantly zipping to the bits of the game that made a difference.

If you prefer, though, you can start streaming an NRL match even after it’s already kicked off, with a “no spoilers” feature making sure you can stream the game “as live” even if you jumped in half way through. By comparison, the NRL official app only lets you join a live stream in progress, so if you miss half the game you’ll have to try to catch up with it later. Kayo also offers a ‘Split-view’ option so you can watch up to four live events at the same time.

How Much Do They Cost?

The official NRL app has been operating on a dual weekly/yearly pricing system for a long time now, and that continues into 2019 with access to the app costing $3.99 per 7 days, or $99 per year. For Telstra mobile customers they can get free access, but to maintain it they need to spend at least $30 per month on their mobile service – so you can’t just get a cheap prepaid SIM and have access!

Kayo, meanwhile, is playing on a different level, with a comprehensive live and on-demand TV coverage of not just the NRL, but also dozens of other sporting codes from around Australia and the world, from cricket and golf to American football and baseball, all of it in crisp high definition on your big screen TV or computer screen as well as your phone. With the added quality and flexibility, as well as the extra features, the monthly price of $25 (which lets you stream on 2 devices at once) is well worth it. The NRL app’s extreme restrictions on video streaming make it hard to recommend in comparison.

Which One Scores?

The NRL official app is certainly a great go-to for fans of the game, if all you want to do is check some news, browse the fixtures or watch a game on your phone while out and about. But Kayo, with its a 14 day free trial, high-quality video, next-generation streaming tech and innovative features, is the definite must-have choice if you plan to watch the game on the big screen.