Streaming box (and stick, and TV, and soundbar) maker Roku and TV network Fox are arguing about stuff, which means the Fox Sports streaming app isn’t working on Roku right now. That might put a real damper on your weekend since the Super Bowl is in two days and Fox’s free stream is one of the most popular ways to get it.
It’s possible—perhaps even likely—that Fox and Roku will kiss and make up before the game. But in the event that they don’t, here are your best alternatives that don’t include a mad dash to sign a cable subscription.
Update, 2/1: Roku released a tweet today announcing the two companies have reached an agreement to distribute Fox Channels in time for the Super Bowl. Additionally, the Fox Sports website now lists Roku as another method to see the big game. We’re not sure what the terms of the agreement are, but at least Roku users can watch the Super Bowl.
The original article is left intact below.
A Note on 4K HDR
One of the biggest draws of streaming the game with the Fox Sports app on a Roku device was 4K HDR support, which seems to be an unlikely scenario at this point. If you have your heart set on watching in 4K, however, you’re not left without options.
There are a few scenarios where you can still watch in 4K HDR, though be aware that it may mean buying new hardware or subscribing to a new service. Here’s the shortlist:
- On fuboTV: Interestingly, fuboTV seems to be the only provider that’s making the 4K stream available on Fox. The good news is that you can sign up for a free trial if you’ve never used the service before. There’s even an app available for Roku. Damn the man.
- On a Fire TV Cube or Fire TV Stick: You’ll still be able to use the Fox Sports app to watch the game using a Fire TV Cube or Fire TV Stick, which will be the most affordable option if you need to buy something.
- On Apple TV 4K: Similarly, the Fox Sports app for Apple TV will also stream the game in 4K, assuming you have the 4K-compatible Apple TV, of course.
If you’re not dead-set on watching the game in 4K and are fine to watch in 1080p with the rest of us peasants, then don’t worry—there are plenty of options for you, too.
Use the NFL’s Roku App
Fox might not be coming to the party, but the NFL itself (the organization that oversees American pro football) still wants all the eyeballs it can get on the Super Bowl. The NFL streams games independently of broadcasters much of the time and will do so for the Super Bowl on its self-branded NFL app. You can find it in the Roku app directory by searching for “NFL.” It’s even a free download.
A standard TV antenna
All HDTVs sold in the US include a digital tuner, which means you can plug in an antenna to get TV signals broadcast locally, just like Grandpa used to do. You can buy a digital antenna from pretty much any electronics or department store, plug it in, and tune in to your local Fox affiliate for an old-fashioned broadcast in glorious HD.
A Digital TV service
Not everywhere in the country can get an over-the-air TV signal, even with the best antenna money can buy. If that’s the case, you can still stream the local Fox affiliate if it’s available on a paid live TV service. These options are kind of like cable, but you don’t need any hardware or installation (aside from an internet connection) and there’s no contract.
They typically run from $30-100 based on which channels you want, but most of them offer a free trial, which you can cancel after the game. Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and AT&T TV NOW, Sling TV, and fuboTV are among the most popular in the US, but be sure to check the information as you sign up—not every local Fox affiliate is available on streaming services!
Another Streaming Gadget
The Fox Sports app might not show up on your Roku, but it’s still available on other devices. According to the Fox Sports website, the free Super Bowl stream will be available on the following platforms:
- Android TV (no 4K support)
- Fire TV (with 4K support)
- Apple TV (with 4K support)
- Xbox (any current model—no 4K support)
- Samsung Smart TVs (no 4K support, except through fuboTV)
You can also stream on your phone via the Fox Sports app on Android and iOS, which should work with Chromecast and devices that use the same standard (including some Roku TVs!). However, Chromecast doesn’t always work smoothly with third-party apps, and there may be licensing issues for sports broadcasts. I don’t recommend relying on Chromecast compatibility.
A Laptop or Desktop
The Fox Super Bowl stream will also be going out live on the web at FoxSports.com. If all else fails, you can move your laptop or desktop computer near your TV and just plug in an HDMI cable to output the computer’s video and audio on your TV. It might take a bit of setup to get the right resolution, but it should work well enough.
All things considering, this should ultimately just be a slight wrinkle in your plans and not a catastrophic issue. And hey, even if you aren’t able to watch the game in 4K, at least there are tons of HD solutions for you. Good luck.