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The time has finally come for the connected TV. The concept known as “Interactive TV” spawned some products and services as early as the late 90s, however, nothing ever caught fire and the concept practically disappeared without anyone noticing it was ever there. Until now…

With the increase of wi-fi home networks and content in the cloud, it’s clear that Connected TV has not only caught on but is quickly replacing optical discs as the consumer’s choice for content delivery. According to a new report by leading analyst ABI Research, at least 21% of US households already have a connected TV, game console, standalone Blu-ray player, and/or smart set-top box connected to a home network, representing about 27 million households. Mobile device apps even make it possible to take our content on the go.

So what does that mean for the football fan? With football representing such big money for the three major networks, it’s not likely we will see Sunday football games streamed live over Hulu or YouTube anytime soon. However, there is a host of TV apps and non-broadcast content available to keep the football fan entertained before, during and in-between games.

For instance, DirecTV offers a Sunday Ticket to Go, where you can stream football games on your computer, iPhone or iPad. The service is an additional fee on top of your existing plan so it will cost you for the privilege. DirecTV also offers the Fantasy Football TV app, which tracks fantasy football teams in real time.
Dish TV offers a Screen Overlay app with scores of all the live games when tuned to ESPN and ESPN2. The data updates every 30 seconds. With their IP-connected Hopper, a wi-fi-enabled set-top box, it’s possible to watch games from any TV connected to the network and they also offer access to football games via computer and mobile devices.

Most new TVs are all network-capable via Ethernet and/or wi-fi. At least one major TV manufacturer is taking advantage of this feature and has created a built-in TV widget that provides in depth-coverage for more than 40 football leagues and events worldwide in up to five languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.) The app is constantly updated with breaking news, live commentaries, press conferences, pre-match reports, player interviews, video highlights and stats.

Some TVs include the Yahoo Connected TV widget that offers an overlay when watching a game, providing additional information about players and teams and, of course, targeted advertising. If you like to play Fantasy Football, the Yahoo widget also provides streaming Fantasy Football videos including the Sunday morning Fantasy Football Live show and the ability to change rosters right on your TV before the game starts. Also view league information while watching the game plus detailed in-game and post-game player stats. Even check your league match-ups to see how you are doing against the rest of the league or just check on the current league standings. Yahoo Connected TV is not available via a device or app, just certain TVs, so look for the logo when purchasing a new flat screen.

If you are a big football fan, the latest streaming and connected TV trends go way beyond broadcast, offering tons of information, statistics, breaking news and streaming opportunities. We can help you navigate what products and services offer the best football-related content to ensure your at-home viewing experience is a touchdown.

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