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NBA League Pass Streaming Moves Closer to Real Time This Season

The league's out-of-market package has a new experience that reduces latency and includes a Monday night whip-around show similar to NFL RedZone.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read
The updated NBA app for iOS.

The updated NBA app will make it easier to view League Pass games in real time. 

NBA/Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The NBA has some good news for streaming basketball fans looking to avoid spoilers while watching NBA League Pass. The league has revamped the NBA app for the new year, including reduced latency. That means those streaming games will be viewing the action closer to real-time alongside friends watching on traditional cable television. 

Latency is a measure of how responsive a connection is. Streaming live content often sees a delay compared to traditional cable, satellite or antenna broadcasts, which can range from a few seconds to a full minute. When it comes to watching live sports, a long delay could leave fans susceptible to spoilers from fantasy or gambling apps, messages from friends or tweets from Twitter. 

In addition to improving latency, the league says that the "majority of game feeds" in the redesigned app will stream in 1080p HD at launch. 

Read more: NFL Streaming: How to Watch Live Games, RedZone Without Cable

Beyond the updated League Pass experience, the NBA is also offering new documentaries and classic games in the app, as well as a new whip-around show on Monday nights that will be free to anyone. Called CrunchTime, the new stream will function similarly to the NFL's popular RedZone channel and offer viewers live look-ins to "crucial moments of each game." 

Earlier the league announced it would lower the cost of an NBA League Pass package to $100 for the upcoming 2022-23 season, or $15 a month. That's half-price compared to the $200 it charged for a full season a year ago. A Premium option, which ran $250 last year and allows for two people to watch at once, as well as show in-arena feeds instead of commercials during timeouts, will be $130 this year, or $20 a month. All options have a seven-day free trial.

New for this season, the NBA TV channel is also included with both packages. Last season it charged a $30 premium for the channel, which airs some national NBA games during the season in addition to daily basketball-focused shows. 

Similar to MLB.TV or NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass allows you to watch live, out-of-market basketball. Out-of-market means that games in your local area are blacked out, so a fan in Los Angeles, for example, would experience blackouts for any Lakers game airing on a local sports network. Games that air on ESPN, ABC or TNT are also blacked out on League Pass.

The NBA offers League Pass as a standalone service that can be viewed in the NBA app, which is available on a host of devices and platforms ranging from iPhone and Android phones to tablets, smart TV platforms, game consoles and other streaming devices. You can also get League Pass as an add-on to your cable or satellite package.

The new NBA season tips off on Oct. 18.