For watching the Super Bowl, my TV beat my iPad

Streaming the big game was a possibility this year, but I didn't use it. Here's why.

NFL Mobile App on the iPad: Stats, but no streaming. Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

I'm a big fan of my iPad, but not for everything. Case in point: this year was highly touted as the year that the Super Bowl would be streaming for free via dedicated apps and NBC's Web site. It sounded promising; I love two-screening it for big sports events. So, I gave it a whirl.

The experiment lasted about a minute.

The streaming site, accessible via NBC's page using the Safari browser, came in pixelated and choppy. Worse, it was a full minute behind the live broadcast. I didn't shift over to the NFL live stream, but I didn't want to or need to. The game and its compelling ads were unfolding on my TV via an over-the-air antenna, in perfect HD, and my hunching over an iPad was hardly the social thing to do.

My issue with small-screen viewing of a big-screen event goes deeper than mere video quality; the Super Bowl is a game meant to be shared. It's communal. I admire the expansion of viewing options for those overseas or unable to get to a TV, but it makes no sense to me otherwise.

I prefer to use my second screen for statistics, Twitter, or other commentary. I'm a hopeless Twitter addict during the big game. I do hope that sports continue to offer access via streaming more in the future, because it's an essential direction for sports. However, on the biggest of stages, it just doesn't seem as relevant for anyone with a TV to sit in front of.

There were, of course, other ways of taking in stats, like the NFL app (above). Some were useful ways of folding in stats, others felt like a hassle.

Did I give up too soon? Did it matter? The TV won, for this year at least.

How did you watch the game? Did you use any apps?

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