The National Rugby League has significantly improved its online presence in recent years, showing they understand just how much people value getting their footy fix on the go. With the 2021 season about to get underway, is continuing to refine their online app, helping fans connect with every game. But how good have these improvements been – and what else is out there?
Enter the new contender – Kayo Sports. This brand-new streaming service, backed by the resources and technical know-how of the experienced Fox Sports team, has been making a very good impression amongst fans of many and varied sporting codes. And now that the the 2021 NRL season has kicked off, Kayo Sports have given footy fans access to their favourite game like never before. 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, 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. 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 “SplitView”, 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!
Sign up to Kayo’s FREE 14 day trial offer
Live sport returns to Kayo, with every game and every action from BBL, NBA, A-League, FA Cup, NFL and more – all available on Kayo’s 14 day trial.
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 ‘SplitView’ 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 2021 with access to the app costing $3.99 per 7 days, or $99 per year. Telstra mobile customers 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 (yup, they’ve thought of that)!
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 (two devices at once) or $35 (three devices) 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 for fans who really want to see a piece of the action.
What people are asking about Kayo Sports
A company called Streamotion owns and operates Kayo, which is why you’ll occasionally see references to things like creating and managing your Streamotion account. Streamotion is a part of the Foxtel group of companies, which is how Kayo gets access to all the content from Fox Sports.
The pricing for Kayo Sports is kept very simple and straightforward. It’s either $25/month for Basic (which allows streaming on up to 2 screens at one time) or $35/month for Premium (3 screens at a time). Telstra mobile customers who choose to add Kayo to their bill can get a $10/month discount off either of those plans for the first 12 months, and any Telstra customer who’s used the free AFL or NRL app access in the past can do even better, with 12 months of Kayo Basic for only $5 per month.
While the exact amount of data you’ll use while streaming Kayo varies depending on what you’re watching and whether you’re using any of the special features (especially Split View) in general you should expect data usage to average around 3.25GB per hour. If you want to limit your data usage, you can set Kayo to stream in Standard Definition, which takes data usage down to 0.5GB per hour.
Thanks to its access to the full resources of Fox Sports as well as ESPN and beIN Sports, Kayo delivers over 30 sporting codes featuring multiple different leagues and competitions from Australia and around the world. If there’s a sport you follow, you’re almost certainly going to find it on Kayo. The 14-day free trial lets you check out the range of sports for yourself without spending a cent.
Because Kayo is the Australian licensee of the various sports that it streams from Australia and around the world, the service can’t be used from outside of Australia, even if you’re an Australian customer who’s travelling. Using a VPN to access Kayo from overseas is also not supported. Remember that as there’s no lock-in contract, you can pause your Kayo subscription if you’re heading overseas and seamlessly resume it when you return.
With a user base of nearly 3 million Australians, PlayStation 4 and its successor the PlayStation 5 are hugely popular devices not just for games, but also for streaming video. Kayo is well aware of that, and has been working on PS4 and PS5 apps for Kayo which are expected to be released soon.
The versatile Apple TV is one of Kayo’s best-supported devices, and accessing Kayo on it is as easy as heading to the App Store app on the Apple TV itself. If you then move over to the “Apps” tab, you’ll see a list of the top free apps. Find the green Kayo logo in that list, click on it, and select “INSTALL”. You then just need to run the app from the Apple TV’s main menu and follow the on-screen instructions to get started.
You can have as many compatible devices as you like set up to access your Kayo account, but the amount of them that can access Kayo at the same time depends on which Kayo plan you’re on. For Basic plan users, up to 2 devices can stream at one time; the Premium plan increases that to 3 at once.
The Kayo app for Samsung smart TVs works on all smart Samsung models released in 2017 and later. You can find it by pressing the Smart Hub button on your TV remote, then heading to the Samsung Apps tab. Find the green Kayo app icon and select Download Now. The Kayo app will then be added to your Smart Hub menu.
While the Main Event channel doesn’t always appear on Kayo, you can now order and stream events from the channel as they happen and watch them directly on Kayo. You don’t need to have a current Kayo subscription to watch. You can see what’s coming up and buy access to the events you want at Kayo Sports’ website.
No – as a streaming service, Kayo doesn’t offer a recording feature at all. But it doesn’t need to, since all sports streamed by Kayo can be watched live, on delay “as live” or watched any time after the event has finished, complete with extra features for many sporting codes. On-demand replays are generally available for several weeks after the event, though how long depends on the particular sport.
Not at this stage; there have been plans mentioned to bring Kayo to Xbox One, with the company’s current roadmap looking at a release during 2021. For Fetch TV it’s unlikely there’ll ever be a Kayo app.
Because it’s designed to be used as a service focused on sporting codes and events rather than a TV schedule, Kayo doesn’t have a regular TV guide even though it offers some live channels. Instead, there’s a “Fixtures” menu which lays out what games are on when, code-by-code, making it easy to jump straight to what you want to watch.
Aside from the free 14-day trial which gives you access to all of Kayo Sports for free, you can actually access free months of Kayo if you’re a Telstra Plus member on the Silver or Gold tiers. Silver members get one month free, while Gold members get a full three free months of full Kayo access. Check your Telstra account page for details.
If you’re done with Kayo and want to cancel, head onto the Kayo web site and make sure you’re signed in. Click the menu icon at the top right, then click on “My Account”. Scroll to the bottom of that menu and click “Cancel Subscription,” then follow the prompts.