We've compiled the best ways for all you soccer (football) fanatics to watch, listen or track all of the FIFA World Cup 2010 action—whether you're watching online, on your TV, using your phone, or something else.
The world's most popular sport—some call it soccer while many around the world refer to it as football—is about to kick off its most important event. This coming Thursday, June 11th, marks the start of the FIFA World Cup 2010. If you're a fan, the good news is that your four-year wait is almost over. The bad news is that it's likely that many of the games played over the course of the month-long tourney will be on while you're at work. That's why we've set up this mini World Cup guide. We've got the best ways for you watch the games and stay connected to all the action wherever you are.
On Your HDTV
ESPN and ABC have exclusive TV rights to the FIFA World Cup 2010 games in the United States. They're the only way you're going to get the games in HD—for free and in English—this year. Luckily, the games are staggered, for the most part, so there won't be many instances of two games taking place at once.
Watching sports on a flat-panel HDTV can be a trying experience, especially in a fast-paced, constantly-moving contest. If your TV doesn't have a fast response rate, the picture can become blurred when there's a lot of action taking place. In a soccer game, for example, watching a goal kick sail in front of a moving crowd can be a little wonky. To avoid this kind of motion blur, we suggest getting an HDTV with a high response rate—the Sony Bravia KDL-52NX800, for example. It has a response rate of 240 HZ, which is one of the highest on the market right now.
Streaming to Your PC
ESPN will also be broadcasting the games online over its ESPN3 service. Most of the games will be available at ESPN3.com, as long as you subscribe to one of the participating broadband carriers. And there's the rub; several of the major broadband providers are not playing ball with ESPN and will not allow you to stream the games. However, AT&T, Yahoo, Verizon FiOS, Frontier, and Hotwire are playing nice. That said we couldn't find the opening U.S. game versus England on their broadcast schedules.
You can also stream the game from your television to your PC using a Slingbox. The Slingbox PRO-HD media player, for example, lets you watch and control the programming on your TV remotely.
Of course, there are several Web sites that offer unofficial streams of the games (though they're often just someone's webcam pointed at a TV). They're usually shut down quickly by Ustream.com or whoever is hosting them, but new ones usually pop up pretty fast. It's hard to recommend this semi-legal method for obvious reasons and because the picture quality is often terrible.