More than 2 hundred million viewers watched the NFL in 2011-nearly 18 million people who tuned in in each week for the regular season to see football teams go head-to-head in hopes of a Superbowl appearance, according to the Nielsen Company.

For for those who do not have access to a television, getting the game on their computer can pose a number of difficulties. Linux users, however, who are interested in streaming the NFL through their computer can catch the action with just a few steps.

Free Streaming

As with all other things in life, you get what you pay for. The same is true of football: if you shell out a few thousand dollars for an HDTV and a few hundred dollars more for a digital cable subscription, the game comes in crystal clear in perfect high definition. Those who want to pay much less or, more specifically, nothing, will get fewer options and less quality but can see the game through Free P2P streams, which are popular among viewers due to cost and to streamers because they earn advertising revenue. Microsoft's set-up page details all the information needed to set up a P2P service; viewers need only load the site's animation and watch whatever game they prefer.

Package Deal

To be able to run a streaming football game (or any other stream) on your computer, you need to download a number of different digital packages. For starters, you will need an Internet browser to load a site. Google Chrome has automatic setups that allow you to load information from a non-Linux computer and auto-install updates. With that done, users need to load the various components of streaming video, most notably Flash and VLC, then the individual source system. Kernel has been a popular Linux operating system source for online development and enjoys the same updates and community of other Linux programs. Kernel-source and kernel-header will allow users to run nearly any streaming content in all the digital world on their computer.

Get the Game

Once you have all the tools necessary for watching the game, you just need the game itself. Direct TV customers have long had the ability to get access to both the NFL Sunday Ticket package as well as the Red Zone package, the former offering every game broadcast in the season while the latter offers the highlights of teams in scoring positions. Direct TV packages let customers get NFL Sunday Ticket for free, with the option to pick up Red Zone as well to keep updated on the games of rival teams and highlighted matches. By using a service like Adobe Air, Linux users can stream Sunday Ticket and Red Zone games on their computer without ever needing to purchase and set up a television. What's more, the Direct TV subscription service allows them to watch multiple games concurrently with picture-in-picture, rewind to catch a missed play or the beginning of the game, and then fast forward through all of the commercials.
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