CINCINNATI -- Network television is changing the NFL playoff picture with a new emphasis on free mobile streaming.
While many fans plan to watch the big games in front of a big-screen TV or at a sports bar with droves of friends and fellow fans, some don’t have those options.
For football fans that don't have televisions or have things to do during the game, streaming the game on a mobile device is an alternative, given the advancement in technology and readily available Wi-Fi connections.
However, while they usually have great video quality, live streams of sporting events are typically expensive and often difficult to set up due to the fact they often require subscription services and special applications or technologies.
But that all changed when the television networks broadcasting the games decided to take their productions to the next level.
The CBS network recently decided to stream coverage of the AFC's playoff games on its website, according to a report on Broadcasting & Cable, a publication dedicated to the business of television.
That means the 1:05 p.m. game between the Chargers-Bengals in Cincinnati will be available on the station's sports website - cbssports.com - in all markets where the game is broadcast.
CBS also plans to stream both AFC Divisional Round and the conference championship game.
Want to know the best part? All you have to do is go to the CBS website on your computer or tablet and click on the media player.
NBC will be doing the same thing for its broadcasts, meaning the entire AFC playoffs will be shown live online. While this is the first time CBS is involved, NBC hosted a live Web stream of several playoff games last year.
Most of the NFC playoffs will air on Fox, which doesn't plan to stream the games for free, according to Variety.
Some cable subscribers will be able to watch online coverage with the appropriate login credentials, but otherwise fans of NFC teams will need to find more traditional means of watching the game.
Fox still plans to stream the Super Bowl live and for free on its website.
It's important to note that the NFL's local blackout policy still applies to all legal online streams. Any games that aren't sold out will be blacked out in their local markets.
Thankfully for fans of the Bengals, Colts and Packers, all three organizations announced Friday their wild-card matchups were sellouts.
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