Comcast's somewhat newly minted acquisition, NBC, will be streaming the Super Bowl live --- and free --- on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. Don't worry, NBC should have things well under control. SNF Extra, NBC Sports' video adjunct, has been streaming games since 2008, with the NFL's blessing.
On both of those weekends, we took a quick look at the results of the streaming, on both a laptop using cable modem service and wi-fi over a home network, and a tablet PC running Android and watching the game via a Flash-enabled browser, once again using wi-fi.
With the potential of a huge online audience and the huge payoff for Super Bowl ads, why would Comcast and NBC choose to stream the Super Bowl for free? It's not because the companies are being kind. It's because there are two reasons someone would be watching online.
Reason two: they're watching it on their couch with a tablet or laptop nearby, so they can watch the various extra camera angles and other bonuses that the Webcast will have, vs. the telecast. Once again, it's bonus viewing for NBC and parent company Comcast.
While legitimate video streaming of the Super Bowl will be a first at Super Bowl XLVI, there will be another first as well. Verizon will stream the Super Bowl to its NFL Mobile app, which is the first time the Super Bowl will be streamed live to mobile devices (both iOS and Android).
Those who don't have Verizon should still be able to view the video on a mobile device, if they have a Flash-enabled Web browser.
Finally, there's one other option for those who want to socialize at the same time they watch the game, without switching in and out of different windows. The Freecast.com Facebook app will allow users to watch the NBC feed while in Facebook. What better way to be able to taunt your Facebook friends, er, easily comment about it while watching it, too.
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 will be the first time the Super Bowl will be streamed live, either to PCs or mobile devices. We doubt it will be the last.