All NFL playoff games available online; Verizon only for smartphone watching

vzn_playoffWe’ve come a long way from the days when it was a struggle to even find NFL live action online. This season, all NFL playoff games, including the Super Bowl, will be available for online viewing, via a desktop computer, laptop or tablet, no matter which network is carrying the games. The league has even created a handy single web page to find instant access to the live streams, no small matter since network pages usually make you jump through several clicks to find the actual live stream.

Depending upon the broadcast network, you may need to have a qualifying cable or satellite contract to view the games. For this morning’s CBS game there was no confirmation process but for the afternoon Fox game I needed to submit cable provider info. Let me know what you see.

However, if you want to watch playoff games on your smartphone, your only option is to be a Verizon Wireless customer since that provider is the exclusive NFL live action host for smartphone devices. To view the live action, Verizon customers need to have either a More Everything plan or pay the $5 monthly premium fee for the NFL Mobile application. To be clear, customers of any wireless provider can download the NFL Mobile app to get all the stats and archived video it provides, but only Verizon customers can purchase access to live action on phone platforms.

UPDATE: Congrats to FOX for having the first playoff online broadcast fail:

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 3.01.07 PM

No word from Fox yet on when its stream will come back, or why it was down.

Friday Grab Bag: March Madness Changes, NBCSN Push

The NFL’s Pro Bowl, seemingly the one property that it has never managed to get fans to watch, is undergoing a major change as the league tries to once again salvage the event, this time by eliminating the traditional AFC vs NFC format.

Instead the league will be take the top two vote getters and make them team captains and they will then select players for their respective teams from the pool of players elected by the fans in a fantasy draft style effort.

Goodbye NBC Sports Network, Hello NBCSN
Branding seems to be all important these days and with the sports network wars heating up prior to the latest entrant of Fox Sports as a national provider and NBC is taken steps to establish its brand, and it looks like the transition is scheduled to be completed by the upcoming Winter Olympics, according to Awful Announcing.

If you are familiar with the NBC Sports Network moniker, wave goodbye as the network has been slowly phasing it out and replacing it with its initials, NBCSN.

Dell is looking to computer on a stick to help reverse its fortunes
Dell has an internal development effort code-named “Project Ophelia” that according to reports is basically a computer that runs the Android operating system and all of it is in the form of a USB stick, according to a report in Quartz.

The basic premise came from a company called Wyse that Dell acquired a year ago. Ophelia is designed to run a large number of operating systems including Windows, Google’s Chrome, and the Mac operating system in a virtual mode running in the cloud. However the fact that this might kill off Dell’s existing PC business may be an issue.

Tablet shipments head to top of the pack
Maybe Dell is onto something about killing its PC business. NPD DisplaySearch is reporting that shipments of PC tablets are expected to reach 364 million next year, a number that more than doubles the estimated 177 million standard notebook and ultra slim PCs.

The company had previously predicted that tablet sales will overtake notebook sales this year and it now looks like that trend will continue going forward, driven by growth in all regions, particularly emerging markets.

Microsoft’s Surface Tablets have quite a price tag
When Microsoft entered the tablet market there is no doubt that the company had some expectations for the platform, however having it cost the company $900 million, which is the amount that it took in a charge in its latest earnings report for the write down on unsold Surface RT tablets.

The RT was the first model to hit the market and it started shipping them last October. In addition the tablet platform has raised $853 million in revenue, according to its annual report.

NCAA makes alterations to March Madness brackets
The NCAA is seeking o keep teams closer to their true seed level with a number of changes in bracketing rules that will take effect with next year’s tournament, primarily relaxing conference and regular season rematching restrictions, according to Sports Illustrated.

Among the moves will be one that could change how the top three seeds from a conference are bracketed and may now be in the same one, as well as changing how early conference rivals can play, now moving up to the round of 32.