What’s The Difference Between The Streaming NFL Channel And The Linear NFL Network?
With the expansion of sports on Free Ad-supported Streaming Television (FAST) platforms this summer, one of the channels that has seen much in the way of expansion is the NFL Channel. In a similar vein, there is the MLB Channel — both were first seen widely on Pluto TV, and now can be found on platforms that include Xumo, The Roku Channel, Tubi, and others.
What viewers need to keep in mind is that the sport-based channels that appear on those free, advertising-supported streaming platforms are not the same as the NFL Network or MLB Network that they may be familiar with from cable or satellite systems.
The linear NFL Network presents live games and analysis throughout the NFL season as well as year-round. The NFL Channel that is found on the streaming systems is a completely different animal. The majority of the programming that is found on the NFL Channel includes archived games and game footage going back through the years, and includes footage from NFL Films. Some of the games found on the NFL Channel on a regular basis, go as far back as 2000.
Likewise, the linear MLB Network shows live games and gameday highlights throughout the season, as well as analysis and hot-stove league content during the off-season. The MLB Channel on streaming systems, much like the NFL Channel, shows games and archival game footage from throughout the history of Major League Baseball.
One other point in the same direction — the RedZone Channel — which provides in-game highlights on Sundays during the NFL regular season, also comes in two different versions: NFL RedZone is available for most viewers, hosted by Scott Hanson. A completely separate version, Red Zone Channel, is provided for NFL Sunday Ticket viewers on DirecTV, hosted by Andrew Siciliano. Both versions are produced from facilities in Culver City, Calif.
A similar distinction can be found with the Pac-12 Insider Channel, which is completely separate from the linear Pac-12 Network. The linear network, in that instance, shows live and recently played games and events from throughout the schools of the Pac-12 Conference, while the Pac-12 Insider Channel concentrates on archived footage from conference football and basketball games. The ACC Digital Network provides a similar archival look at content from the Atlantic Coast Conference, as opposed to the linear ACC Network.
Each of the streaming networks appeals directly to fans of the sport in question, and provides a concentrated look at the content in each case. However, it’s important that viewers keep in mind that the content is all archival in nature, and not live, linear content.