CNET's March Madness toolkit
There are more ways than ever to stay on top of March Madness this season.
(Updated 3/13/09 to add new iPhone app.)
Watching the Super Bowl is easy: one game on a Sunday. But March Madness stretches across three weeks and more than 60 games. Short of being unemployed in this recession (not recommended!) you're going to struggle to be in front of a TV for it all. Unless you apply a little technology.
March Madness' home on the Web is the NCAA's March Madness on Demand site. You'll find all 63 games streamed live, and if you install Microsoft's Silverlight technology you get higher-quality video augmented by integrated team coverage, interactive boards, and a "boss button" so you can bury it all and bring up a phony spreadsheet if The Man walks by. After a game, hit the site for highlights, a full game replay, and buzzer beaters. (Disclosure: CNET is a division of CBS, whose CBS Sports unit broadcasts March Madness.)
On the iPhone and iPod Touch there's a March Madness on Demand app that will bring you a live stream of all 63 games. It's powered by MobiTV and also offers game previews, post-game highlights, and tournament news updates. They say it will do all this over an EDGE or 3G connection and offer game audio only if you just want to listen in. It costs $4.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Many other cell phones can become miniature March Madness televisions this year thanks to MediaFLO technology. Rather than a glitchy Web stream, this is a dedicated digital video signal to your phone. It looks really good. You need to check with your carrier to see if you have coverage in your market and the right phone to receive it. AT&T has the rights to offer all the games, and Verizon will pick up East and West contests.
Back home on the couch, CBS Sports has the broadcast and there's some good stuff in DirecTV's Mega March Madness package if you're willing to part with $69. It will put up to four live games on your TV at once in a four-way split screen with the ability to switch between them, a streaming stats ticker, and interactive brackets.
And of course you can beam March Madness from your living room to any connected computer and most smartphones using one of the SlingBox variants.