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Super Bowl LVI: Peacock Lags Cable Broadcast by 44 Seconds - Which Streaming Service is Fastest?

Ben Bowman

When the Rams play the Bengals on Sunday, millions of us will be glued to the game and social media simultaneously. But if you’re streaming the Super Bowl, you may encounter some spoilers from people who get a faster stream. That’s because the transmission takes some time to work its way through the various streaming services. If you live close enough to your neighbor, you might hear a huge cheer or an echoing F-bomb seconds before you see what triggered the reaction.

Watching over-the-air with an antenna is the fastest way to catch the signal, but then you’d lose out on the ability to pause or do your own instant replay. Cable is the next fastest option. But if you’re streaming, the numbers vary wildly. The Streamable tested the lag on the various services during NBC’s last playoff game to determine which stream is fastest.

Our findings may have you considering a switch, since Peacock viewers won’t see a play until a full 44 seconds after it airs on cable. That’s a full 20 seconds slower than the same company’s NBC Sports App. Here are our results from our test during the Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff game on NBC.

Service Lag Behind Cable
YouTube TV 16.5 seconds
Hulu Live TV 24.5 seconds
NBC Sports App 24.5 seconds
Sling TV 25 seconds
fuboTV 29.5 seconds
Peacock 44 seconds

If there’s a silver lining, the lag is getting better if you use a Live TV Streaming Service. Last year’s Super Bowl had an 18-second delay for YouTube TV and a 34-second delay on fuboTV. Hulu Live TV wins the “most improved” award, shaving nearly 15 seconds off its lag.

Over time, we’ll see something approaching real-time TV broadcasts on all platforms, which CBS was able to achieve with their stream last year. But, in most cases you do have to sacrifice video quality for better latency.

Bear in mind you will not be able to watch the Super Bowl in 4K this year. NBC does not offer a 4K feed, so top-of-the-line TVs will present standard HD at best.

Super Bowl LVI: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams

Last year’s Super Bowl on CBS saw an average 5.7 million viewers per minute of their streaming broadcast of the Bucs 31-9 win β€” up 65% year-over-year. Overall, the telecast saw 96.4 million viewers across TV and digital, which was down from the 102.1 million the year prior.