Edit: Please note that right now Ballstreams is NOT accepting new customers. Right now we recommend NBA League Pass as well as using UnblockUs to avoid local blackouts or better yet, using a VPN like Private Internet Access.Check out UnblockUs for NBA League Pass now
Basketball season is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. There are tonnes of different ways to get your favourite games, but which online service should you subscribe to this year so you can follow your favourite NBA team? NBA League Pass or Ballstreams? Here are the major factors that come into play when considering these services:
The issue with NBA League Pass and services like it are the local game blackouts. In other words, if you’re in Chicago and want to watch the Bulls game, you may find yourself looking at a blank screen saying something like “Sorry, access to this game is not available due to local blackout restrictions.” It hurts, and it also severely limits the usefulness of services like NBA League Pass due to the fact that most people want to watch their home team.
NBA League Pass also enforces national blackouts within the US. This means that if a game is on ABC, ESPN, TNT or NBA TV then you’re probably out of luck getting it on NBA League Pass in the US.
Ballstreams.com does not have any blackouts whatsoever. Also, international users of NBA League Pass actually get a much better experience and it is much more worth their while due to lack of blackouts. It looks like a lot of international (not North American) users of NBA League Pass are quite happy with the service.
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
You can completely bypass blackout restrictions on NBA League Pass by using a service called UnblockUs. It is actually a really painless process to set it up on your individual device or even at your router. If you want to learn more, we also wrote a post going into the details about UnblockUs and avoiding blackouts here.Point Ballstreams due to it not having blackout restrictions
What devices are you using?
The biggest factor in choosing a service is obviously whether you can watch it on your favourite device. Watching the big game is fine on your laptop, but often you will want it on the big screen.
Here is a breakdown of what devices each service works on.
NBA League Pass VS Ballstreams.com by the numbers:
|Streaming box||NBA League Pass||Ballstreams.com|
|Chromecast (native support)||Yes||Yes (from web browser and Android app)|
|Apple TV||Yes||Yes (airplay)|
|Xbox One||Yes (via NBA Game Time app)||Yes (via browser only)|
|PS4||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|Xbox 360||Yes (via NBA Game Time app)||Yes (via browser only)|
|PS3||Yes||Yes (via browser only)|
|Android TV||No||Yes (sideloaded)|
So, this looks like it is sort of a tie on the app front. Depending on your technical skill, you should be able to get Ballstreams up and running on any device on the market. Both Plex and Serviio also have channels for Ballstreams which expand its compatibility to game consoles.This one is a tie as there is no clear winner
NBA League Pass claims to be “HD Quality” on their website which I will assume means that it approximates a 720p resolution. Ballstreams also claims to go “up to” 720p resolution but also says that the stream can be transferred at a full 60 frames per second. In either case, this will really depend on your connection. It is worth noting that there are some complaints online about specific game feeds on Ballstreams being of low quality.I’ll make this one a tie.
Lag can be a major consideration for any online streaming service. NBA League Pass can have up to a 90 second delay whereas Ballstreams.com has a much shorter 1-3 second lag. I know that I like to look at social media while watching the game, so having a shorter delay can guard against major spoilers.Point Ballstreams due to less lag.
Access to games
Ballstreams is the hands down winner in this category. It gives you access not just to regular season NBA games, but a wealth of other streams including: NBA summer league, NBA pre-season, NBA playoffs, the NBA draft, NCAA final four games, Live Olympic games, and a tonne of archived games available on demand.
NBA League Pass has tiered plans, the highest of which adds on home/away announcers and the video vault. It also includes an archive for on-demand access (past 3 seasons), NBA summer games, and playoff games. NBA League Pass also has what they call their “NBA Team Pass” which gives full access to live and on demand access to games for one team. Not bad.Point Ballstreams for more streaming content and less restrictions
Ok, so this is what you’ve been waiting for.
Ballstreams.com: $89.99 for a year
NBA League Pass: $189.99 per year (early bird)Point Ballstreams for better value.
This is key. Ballstreams is indeed an “illegal” service. Their servers are located in Europe and could be shut down at any time due to the NBA taking them to court. It hasn’t happened yet, but this service is definitely grey market. If you’re at all concerned about legal issues, stick with NBA League Pass which is the official app.
NBA League Pass VS Ballstreams wrap up
By the numbers Ballstreams beats out NBA League Pass handily. They are on par in terms of device support but I know for a fact that someone that is less technical may have issues getting Ballstreams up and running on their TV streaming box or game console. If you’re just watching on your laptop or desktop PC then you are good to go on either.
To avoid the local and national blackouts on NBA League Pass, which virtually cripple the service in North America, then I highly recommend using a service like UnblockUs. This will unblock all of the blackouts and make NBA League Pass much more useful.
Happy cord cutting!
Disclaimer: Ballstreams.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 NBA League Pass.