The 2020 NRL Premiership kicks off on the 12th of March, and there’s still plenty of time to make sure you don’t miss the action in what promises to be an exciting season! But what’s the best way to keep up?
These days it’s all about availability. Sure, you can watch the game at the pub, or visit a mate who has the game playing at his place. But what about when your schedule doesn’t allow for this?
NRL Live Pass vs Foxtel Now
Luckily, there are other ways that you can access your favourite sport anytime. Laptops, smartphones, tablets and game consoles let you access live games almost anywhere – on the road, in your room or even at work (just make sure it’s okay with the boss first).
Of course, it still depends on what package you have, and whether that package is available on your chosen device. So let’s review two of the top contenders for Mobile and Internet access: the NRL Live Pass and Foxtel Now Live Streaming.
What is the NRL Live Pass?
This is the official app for the NRL Telstra Premiership. The NRL Live Pass (formerly NRL Digital Pass) gives you access to stream live games via either a weekly or annual subscription.
What does it offer?
The NRL Live Pass allows you to access every match as soon as it goes live on the air. This includes all 192 NRL Telstra Premiership regular season matches and eight Finals Series matches, but does not include the Grand Final or the three games of the State of Origin series. The Trans-Tasman Test and other elite international matches will also be available for streaming in 2020.
The pass lets you stream matches across multiple mobile devices. Currently these include iPhones, iPods, iPads and Android smartphones.
Subscribers can replay every match from the Telstra Premiership, Rep Round, State of Origin and Finals Series, with replays available 12 hours after the games are over. The app also delivers scoring highlights shortly after they happen, and live post-match press conferences from your team’s coach and captain.
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How can you access it?
You can download the NRL Official App via the various App Stores, and can then buy Live Pass subscriptions through the app. New subscribers get one week of free access to try out the service with no lock-in contract, so you can make sure it’s right for you.
One week’s subscription will set you back $3.99, while a year will cost you $99.99. If you’re a Telstra mobile customer (post-paid or prepaid with a minimum $30 recharge) you can access the NRL Live Pass completely free of charge.
The service is available on the following devices:
- iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad mini with iOS 11 and above
- Android devices (running Android 5.0 and above)
- Samsung Galaxy S5+
- Samsung Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
- Google Pixel models above 1
- HTC U
- Oppo A57
- Google Nexus 7
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A
- The app is compatible with all Android devices newer than the above
Any notable exceptions?
Live matches streamed through the NRL Live pass app are not available in full screen on tablets. The live streams are limited to a diagonal screen size of 7 inches, meaning that they will appear in a window if your screen is larger than this (for example, the standard iPad screen size is 9.7 inches). However, subscribers can watch match highlights and replays without size restrictions.
You can’t stream the match to another device. This means that you can’t use AirPlay or Chromecast to stream the NRL games to your TV. NRL Live Pass is also no longer be available on laptops or PCs; you must use the app to stream matches.
What is Foxtel Now?
Foxtel has always offered a range of sports packages. With Foxtel Now, you can stream your team’s NRL matches straight over the Internet. Currently Foxtel Now is offering a 10 Day Free live TV trial, with no lock-in contract, so you can sample this experience without a financial commitment, and leave at anytime. The previous season brought a new dedicated 24/7 Rugby League channel to Foxtel Now which features:
- The latest news, player interviews and match results throughout the season
- Every match of the 2020 NRL Premiership LIVE, ad-break free and in HD
- 2020 State of Origin series I, II and III (Replays only)
- The entire 2020 Finals series LIVE (Grand Final excluded)
What does the Sports Package Offer NRL fans?
The Foxtel Sports Combo pack offers every NRL match live, in HD, and ad-break free from whistle to whistle for all rounds. This is more than double the live NRL matches found on Free to Air TV (Channel 9). In other words, one of the best Pay TV deals for sports fans.
The previous season saw the launch of the new dedicated Foxtel Rugby League channel, which gives League fans the sort of 24/7 coverage that AFL fans have enjoyed for years on the acclaimed Fox Footy channel.
How can you access it?
First, you need to sign up for Foxtel Now; a 10 day obligation-free trial is available for new customers.
You can use up to three devices running the Foxtel Now app to stream Foxtel channels – and you can even watch different broadcasts on two of them at the same time.
The service is available through the following devices
|Foxtel Now Box||Yes||
|Sony Android TV, Sony TV||Yes||2015 models and above|
|iOS Mobiles/Tablets||Yes||Via Foxtel Go app (iPhone 4s or above, iPad 2 or above – using iOS 9.35 or above)|
|Android Mobiles/Tablets||Yes||Via native app (Lollipop 5.0 or above)|
|PC/Mac||Yes||Web browser only with Foxtel Go (Google Chrome and Safari)|
|Google Chromecast||Yes||Via casting|
|Apple TV||Yes||Via AirPlay|
|Telstra TV||Yes||All models|
|PlayStation 4||Yes||All models (Foxtel Play on PlayStation 3)|
|Xbox One||Yes||Foxtel Play only|
|Samsung, LG Smart TVs||Yes||2017 models and above|
Download the Foxtel App for Mobile Streaming
While you can stream directly on your mobile device with Foxtel Now, if you have a traditional Foxtel cable subsctiption you need the Foxtel App to stream on the go. This is free to download with your Foxtel subscription.
The Foxtel app works with the following devices
|PC/Mac||Yes||Web browser only (Chrome for PC; Chrome & Safari for Mac)|
|iOS Mobile Devices||Yes||Via native app (iOS 9.3.5 or above)|
|Android Mobile Devices||Yes||Via native app (Android 5 and above)|
|Google Chromecast||Yes||Via casting (only on Multiroom service)|
|Apple TV||Yes||Via AirPlay (only on Multiroom service)|
|Smart TVs||Yes||Via casting only (only on Multiroom service)|
So you could stream direct to your TV, through a tablet, a laptop, and even a smartphone – making sure you never miss a match!
Foxtel recently streamlined their platform but will still be providing the same live-streaming service. The NRL’s new rights deal, meanwhile, means that laptop and desktop computers won’t be able to stream NRL Live Pass games in 2020 and onwards.
Both options have a lot to offer. They both give you live coverage on portable devices, so you can take the match with you. They both stream it directly, so you don’t need a cable connection.
With the NRL Live Pass you get live matches, past games, highlights and post-match coverage. You also have the choice of weekly subscriptions. However, the live match screen size restriction and lack of streaming options might prove a bit unappealing for tablet users.
On the other hand, the Foxtel Now Sports Package with Live Streaming gives you more options. You get the full Foxtel Sports experience, including ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox Footy, Fox Cricket and the new Rugby League channel – and it’s viewable on bigger screens.
|Device||NRL Digital Pass||Foxtel Live Streaming|
|iPhone/iPod/iPad||iOS 11 and above||iOS 9.3.5 and above|
|XBox One||Nope||Yup (Foxtel Play only)|
|Sony PlayStation 3 & 4||Nope||Yup|
|Foxtel Now Box||Nope||Yup|
|Android phones/tablets||Android 5 and above||Android 5 and above|
|PCs||Nope||Web browser only with Foxtel Go (Google Chrome and Safari)|
|Macs||Nope||Web browser only with Foxtel Go (Google Chrome and Safari)|
|Smart TVs/other||Nope||Samsung, Sony, and LG Smart TVs|