How to watch football on the Internet

So Setanta went bust, no one else has picked up Ukraine vs England and you're wondering whether a) you want to watch the football on the Internet and b) exactly how you're going to do it. Fear not. You'll be just fine. Here's the Pocket-lint guide of how to watch football on the Internet.

Step 1: Your broadband connection

It doesn't take a crazy fast connection to be able to watch the footy. Kentaro will be streaming the game live from 4.45pm on Saturday and you can watch it in much the same way that you watch YouTube or BBC iPlayer. The whole game isn't downloaded to your computer or stored on your system, so you don't have to worry about how much space you have. All you need to do is check that you have a download speed of at least 0.5 Mbps, which just about everyone will have. You can check your broadband speed for piece of mind.

You should also be aware that the entire game will probably count for something like 3 or 4GB of data downloads, so do bear in mind how much your broadband contract allows you each month. Most companies will just warn you about your usage if you go over your quota as a one off without charging you any extra, but it's worth taking a look at your agreement all the same. If you decide that this is something you're going to want to do on a fairly regular basis, then it might be worth stepping up to a deal with larger allowance and even faster speeds. Take a look at our top broadband packages.

Step 2: Your geographic location

What country are you in? If the answer is either Albania, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, the Balkans, Turkey, Latin America, North America, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Thailand or South Africa then you're not going to be able to use Saturday's Kentaro or Orange service. Quite a large part of the world when you look it at. There's bound to be a "less official" way to view the proceedings online and if you can find a reliable site then this all still applies.

Step 3: Sign up now!!!!

The price of the game has been getting more and more expensive as the days go by. Today is your last chance to grab it at £9.99 before the full whack of £11.99 kicks in. You'll need to pay through PayPal but that won't necessarily mean signing up for a PayPal account and you can use the system to make the transaction with your normal credit or debit card. If you've still got an issue with that part of things then you can contact Kentaro direct.

During the sign up process, you can test that the video service works for you with their trial video trailer before you need to pay. Choose the high quality option (800 kbps) for the best viewing and if that works skip to Step 6. If it's jumpy and cuts out then try the lower quality (450 kbps). If that's ok, skip to Step 5, if not go to Step 4.

Step 4: Troubleshooting

Ok, so you've either got nothing coming up at all or it's just sticking and buffering all over the place. If not a sausage, then a) make sure you have the latest version of Flash installed - Adobe Flash Player version 10. It might even be worth uninstalling it and re-installing it again if you do already have it. And, b) make sure you have both pop-ups and java script enabled. Go to the Options and Tools section of your browser to find the right boxes to check. If you're still getting nothing, then try either a different browser or give Kentaro a call who might be able to talk you through it.

If you're getting a picture but it's awful, then it's most likely an issue of bandwidth. Either you have a terrible connection or someone around is sucking up all the Internet. Try to minimise the amount of internet use in your house. Close all other tabs and browsers and applications like Skype or Spotify or anything that's on in the background. Make sure other people in your house aren't playing online games and try to keep people off webcams and the telephone too.

One issue that could be beyond your control is if everyone in your area happens to using the same ISP as you and you're all trying to watch the service at the same time. This could very well become a problem for people even if the initial test works fine. There's not really anything you can do if that's the case except to try to disconnect and re-connect again but if that doesn't work, skip to Step 7.

Step 5: The low quality option

Not as bad as it sounds. You've not got the greatest view of the game but it works fine in a relatively small window on your computer. You might be able to squeeze three of you round it plus some beers but that's really as good as it's going to get. If you suddenly experience any issues during the broadcast then go to Step 4, otherwise enjoy the game and let's hope England makes it worth your while. END.

Step 6: Watch on the big screen

Lucky you. Plenty of bandwidth and a good service, so you might want to think about connecting your computer to your TV or even a projector if you happen to have one. Check your computer and check the back of your TV. If both have HDMI ports, then your luck's in again. All you need is an HDMI cable which you can buy at any electrical shop, plug it in and select the right input on your TV. You might also need to activate the right mode on your computer, usually located on the F8 key.

If you don't have HDMI at both ends, then your next best bet is VGA. You'll certainly need a VGA or mini VGA connection at your computer and either a VGA on your TV or even a SCART socket will do. If you're good to go then either grab yourself a VGA cable or a VGA to SCART which is slightly harder to find but not impossible. Select the right input on your TV and use the F8 function as above and you should have a picture. What you won't have is any sound. So, the easiest thing to do next is either turn the sound up on your computer or better would be to plug in a pair of speakers to it or connect it up to your stereo via audio cables. If to your stereo, you will probably need a 3.5mm audio cable from you computer that splits into two for your music machine but you might well find that one faff too far.

The final option and possibly the most expensive is to buy a media streamer which will probably cost somewhere between £100-£200. Good ones include the SlingCatcher or solutions from Linksys and Netgear. These plug into your set and connect to your Wi-Fi network so you can stream the video direct from you computer without the need for cables. If you happen to own a PS3 or an XBox 360 Elite, then you're already in luck because they will work as media streamers too.

If you suddenly experience any issues during the broadcast then go to Step 4, otherwise enjoy the game and let's hope England makes it worth your while. END.

Step 7: The last resort

If all else fails then either go round to a mate's who's had more success or you can always go to any one of many cinemas which are also showing the game. There's also the good old radio too.

 



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