Edit: Please note that right now Hockeystreams is NOT accepting new customers. Right now we recommend NHL Gamecenter as well as using UnblockUs to avoid local blackouts or better yet, using a VPN like Private Internet Access.Check out UnblockUs for NHL Gamecenter now
My favourite time of year is coming around again. Hockey season! But what is the best service to subscribe to this year to get your NHL fix, NHL Gamecenter Live or Hockeystreams.com?
The answer is not as simple as you may think. Here are the factors you need to think about:
The biggest knock against NHL Gamecenter is that it has those pesky local blackouts of games. This means that if you live in Winnipeg, then more often than not, you actually won’t be able to watch the Jets play on Gamecenter. Now, if you like a team that is not locally in your city, you will likely be able to avoid local blackouts much more often.
Hockeystreams.com does not have any local blackouts to deal with.
Use a VPN like Private Internet Access
The most foolproof way of avoiding local blackouts right now is using a VPN service like Private Internet Access. Basically this service allows you to appear to be in any number of locations (including many in the US) to skirt around blackouts. It works and it is also a great tool to protect your privacy online.Check out Private Internet Access now
Use a DNS masker like UnblockUs
I have been using Gamecenter Live for many seasons now without local blackouts because I use a service called UnblockUs. It is super simple to setup on individual devices or even at your router. Check out this post that talks all about how to avoid local blackouts.Point Hockeystreams since there are no local blackouts.
What devices are you using?
Here is a breakdown of what devices each service works natively on. Natively meaning that there is an actual app that exists on the platform and it doesn’t require any funky tweaks to get working.
NHL Gamecenter VS Hockeystreams.com by the numbers:
|Streaming box||NHL Gamecenter Live||Hockeystreams.com|
|Chromecast (native support)||Yes (new for 2015 on Android, iOS, web)||Yes (from web browser and Android app)|
|Apple TV||Yes||Yes (airplay)|
|Xbox One||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|PS4||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|Xbox 360||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|PS3||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|Android TV||No||Yes (sideloaded)|
At the end of the day, this one sort of depends on how technical you are. If you’re keeping everything above board so to say, then NHL Gamcenter Live is your best bet. It is also worth noting that you can stream Hockeystreams via the Plex and Serviio app on both Xbox and Playstation.Point NHL Gamecenter Live since because it has more native device support. But if you are at all technical, Hockeystreams.com actually pretty much supports the same devices through Chromecast and web browsers. It’s a bit of a toss up, but the end user experience may be simpler for non technical users.
There is a bit of controversy on this one. I personally love the quality of NHL Gamecenter on my Xbox One. On a good connection it looks just like 720p HDTV. Hockeystreams claims that it can go up to 720p at 60 frames per second while NHL Gamecenter is just 30 frames per second. But a few searches online and you quickly see a lot of posts by people complaining about the quality of some streams on Hockeystreams.com.I’ll make this one a tie.
A major issue for live sports is the lag that the service introduces to the feed. I know for a fact that the NHL Gamecenter feed is usually off by a good 30 seconds. Hockeystreams.com claims to only have a 3 second lag. This is really handy for folks that follow along with the games on social media as they happen and don’t want spoilers.Point Hockeystreams due to less lag.
Access to games
A year subscription to Hockeystreams is actually a full calendar year, whereas the NHL Gamecenter one is just for the NHL season. Additionally, Hockeystreams gives access to other hockey leagues such as OHL, WHL and AHL if that’s your thing.Point Hockeystreams for more games and a full calendar year.
Here is the deciding factor for a lot of people.
Hockeystreams.com: $99.99 for a full calendar year
NHL Gamecenter Live: $149.99 for the regular NHL season ($179.99 Canadian)Point Hockeystreams for better bang for the buck.
Are you a Rogers internet customer in Canada?
Then NHL Gamecenter Live might be free! Check your internet package to see if it qualifies.
Keep in mind that NHL Gamecenter Live is the official video streaming app for the NHL. Hockeystreams.com on the other hand has… let’s just say dubious legality. If you’re concerned about getting in any legal issues or losing the service due to the NHL cracking down on services like Hockeystreams, go with NHL Gamecenter Live.
NHL Gamecenter VS Hockeystreams wrap up
By pure numbers Hockeystreams.com wins out easily. However, the service is a little bit less “official” if you know what I mean. It also doesn’t have as many official apps which makes the experience less smooth than if you are using Gamecenter Live on a streaming box. For those that are just utilizing a laptop then either one is great.
I highly recommend going with a service like UnblockUs if you are going the NHL Gamecenter Live route as it will unlock all of your local games.
Happy cord cutting!
Edit: I have updated the article based on some great individuals over on the /r/hockey subreddit.
Disclaimer: Hockeystreams.com is not a legal service. Their servers are located in Europe so there is a chance that the service could be shut down anytime. Cord Breaker does not condone illegal activity in any way. When in doubt, go with the legal option, which is NHL Gamecenter Live. It really is a decent service for a fair price.