49ers vs. Steelers Livestream: How to Watch NFL Week 1 Online Today
Want to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Pittsburgh Steelers? Here's everything you need to stream Sunday's 1 p.m. ET game on Fox.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers are following similar scripts of assembling a strong defense led by an elite edge rusher -- T.J. Watt for the Steelers and Nick Bosa for the 49ers -- and surrounding a second-year quarterback with weapons.
Brock Purdy begins the year under center for the 49ers and has dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey and dual-threat receiver Deebo Samual to keep defenses guessing.
For the Steelers, wideouts Diontae Johnson and George Pickens will be running routes for QB Kenny Pickett.
The 49ers and Steelers kick off in Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on Fox. Here is how you can watch, even if the game isn't available on your local Fox channel.
The game will be shown on TV in the San Francisco and Pittsburgh areas (according to 506 Sports) on live TV streaming services, but there may be cases where you're blocked because of an internet location glitch or just want an added layer of privacy for streaming. There is an option that doesn't require subscribing to something like NFL Sunday Ticket or NFL Plus, or searching the internet for a sketchy website: You can use a virtual private network, or VPN.
Here's how you can watch the game from anywhere in the US with a VPN.
For the opening weekend of the NFL season, the Steelers host the 49ers at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT)on Sunday. The game is set to take place at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
How to watch the 49ers vs. Steelers game online from anywhere using a VPN
If you find yourself unable to view the game locally due to incorrectly applied blackout restrictions, you may need a different way to watch the game and that's where using a VPN can come in handy. A VPN is also the best way to stop your ISP from throttling your speeds on game day by encrypting your traffic, plus it's a great idea for when you're traveling and find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network, and you want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins.
With a VPN, you're able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to the game. So if your internet provider or mobile carrier has stuck you with an IP address that incorrectly shows your location in a blackout zone, a VPN can correct that problem by giving you an IP address in your correct, nonblackout area. Most VPNs, like our Editors' Choice, ExpressVPN, make it really easy to do this.
Using a VPN to watch or stream sports is legal in any country where VPNs are legal, including the US and Canada, as long as you've got a legitimate subscription to the service you're streaming. You should be sure your VPN is set up correctly to prevent leaks: Even where VPNs are legal, the streaming service may terminate the account of anyone it deems to be circumventing correctly applied blackout restrictions.
Looking for other options? Be sure to check out some of the other great VPN deals taking place right now.
This week's 49ers-Steelers game is on Fox, so in addition to a VPN set to an area carrying the game (see tips below) you'll need a live TV streaming service that carries a local Fox affiliate that's broadcasting the game. The least expensive such service is Sling TV Blue.
Sling TV's Blue plan includes NBC, Fox and the NFL Network, though it does not have CBS, ABC or ESPN. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live. NFL RedZone is also available for an extra $11 per month.
Note that to get ABC and ESPN, you'll need to switch to the similarly priced Orange plan (which drops Fox, NBC and NFL Network) or go for the combined $60 per month Orange and Blue bundle that includes channels from both packages. With the combined plan, the Sports Extra add-on, which has RedZone, is an extra $15 per month.
One important caveat: In our experience, Fox local affiliates will only be available if your billing address is in one of the 18 metropolitan areas covered in Sling's agreement. If you're outside of one of these areas, you're probably better off going with one of the alternate services listed below.
Numerous other live TV streaming services carry local Fox stations as well, namely YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, DirecTV Stream and FuboTV. They all cost more than Sling TV, but they also carry more channels, including football-broadcasting channels like ESPN. Check out our live TV streaming services guide for details.
If you live in an area where the game is being broadcast, an over-the-air antenna connected to your TV provides another option for Fox. The best part about antennas is that there are no streaming or monthly fees required, though you will need to make sure you have good reception.
Quick tips for streaming 49ers vs. Steelers using a VPN
With four variables at play -- your ISP, browser, video streaming provider and VPN -- experience and success may vary.
Sling Blue is only an option if and when the ability to get Fox local affiliates is active on your account. You may want to verify that your billing address is eligible for that option before committing your credit card.
If you don't see your desired location as a default option for ExpressVPN, try using the "search for city or country" option.
If you're having trouble getting the game after you've turned on your VPN and set it to the correct viewing area, there are two things you can try for a quick fix. First, log into your streaming service subscription account and make sure the address registered for the account is an address in the correct viewing area. If not, you may need to change the physical address on file with your account. Second, some smart TVs -- like Roku -- don't have VPN apps you can install directly on the device itself. Instead, you'll have to install the VPN on your router or the mobile hotspot you're using (like your phone) so that any device on its Wi-Fi network now appears in the correct viewing location.
All of the VPN providers we recommend have helpful instructions on their main site for quickly installing the VPN on your router. In some cases with smart TV services, after you install a cable network's sports app, you'll be asked to verify a numeric code or click a link sent to your email address on file for your smart TV. This is where having a VPN on your router will also help, since both devices will appear to be in the correct location.
And remember, browsers can often give away a location despite using a VPN, so be sure you're using a privacy-first browser to log into your services. We normally recommend Brave.