Skip to main content

NFL on Fox look bad? There’s a workaround (or two)

Other than changing the channel on your TV, we generally have little control over the more technical aspects of what’s on the screen. We (usually) can’t control resolution. We can’t control frame rate.

And that makes it all the more frustrating when things don’t work the way we expect. Case in point: Something often is amiss with live sports on Fox. And it’s not just one sport. Something was up with the standard-definition broadcast during the World Cup. It’s made the NFL on Fox look bad.

And to this day I don’t know if it’s the frame rate. I don’t know if it’s the resolution. It could well be both. But I do know that it’s readily apparent, on streaming services, on cable, and via an over-the-air broadcast. It’s so bad that my mother flat-out refuses to watch sports on Fox. Perhaps you don’t have this issue in your MSA (that’s short for metropolitan statistical area, which is how TV regions are doled out), in which case, consider yourself lucky.

The Fox Sports app on a TV.

Is this Fox’s fault? Is it my local Fox affiliate messing things up? I don’t know. And it doesn’t really matter. It’s not that I don’t care why my Fox NFL broadcasts look bad — I care more about doing something about it. And I’ve found a couple of workarounds.

Watch sports on Fox in 4K

The first workaround for bad sports quality on Fox is the less acceptable of the two because it requires spending more money. But the simple fact is that when I’ve had the option to watch something in 4K versus the standard version, it looks better. And not just in the sense that there are more pixels on the screen — because at the end of the day that’s what 4K is versus 1080p (or 1080i, but we’re really not going to get into those weeds here), or even 720p resolution.

The more important difference for me when I’m watching sports on Fox in 4K is that the frame rate issues disappear. Things are smooth as you’d expect at 60 frames per second, which should be mandatory for watching any sports, live or otherwise.

The only issue here is that options are few and far between when it comes to watching sports in 4K. I, like more than 5 million others in the U.S., subscribe to YouTube TV. And its 4K Plus add-on is great, save for the price, which tacks on another $20 to your monthly bill. If you want to watch any sports at all in 4K, you’ll need that add-on.

Unless you’re subscribed to FuboTV. It costs more out of the gate, but you also don’t have to pay extra for live sports in 4K. So there’s that.

Watch on the Fox Sports app

Then there’s the option that should make more sense for more people since it shouldn’t cost you anything extra. If your NFL game on Fox looks bad and has that janky frame rate, try watching it in the Fox Sports app on whatever platform you’re using. All the major streaming platforms and likely all of the smart TV operating systems have access to the Fox Sports app. (Especially since Super Bowl 2023 is on Fox.)

And you likely won’t need to sign up for any other subscriptions. If you already have a cable, satellite, or streaming subscription, you should be able to use that to log in to the Fox Sports app, and then watch your game there. And what I found was that the stream in the Fox Sports app didn’t suffer from the frame rate issues caused upstream.

To be clear, that’s not a wholly satisfactory solution, either. I shouldn’t have to load up another app to show me the same thing that the service I’m paying for in the first place is showing me, only at a lower quality.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football stream bad for some, again
Dolphins-Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

Three weeks of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, and a third week of streaming problems, apparently. The September 29 game, which had the Miami Dolphins at the Cincinnati Bengals, was the third straight to experience any number of problems with the stream itself, according to numerous reports online.

This season is the first in which Amazon is producing the Thursday night broadcast from start to finish and not just distributing it. And just like in Weeks 2 and 3 of the NFL season, the distribution is what had issues. The Prime Video stream would go from an excellent quality to something we can only call "substandard-definition." Everything dropped to a lower resolution, from the game itself to the on-screen graphics and even some of the advertising. And just like in previous weeks, the issues would come and go.

Read more
How to watch Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football
Thursday Night Football Week 4 on Prime Video.

Behold, week four of the 2022 season, and the third installment of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. The Miami Dolphins have traveled to Cincinnati for the game, which in and of itself should be pretty good, given that Joe Burrow & Co. are looking to keep Miami from staying perfect at 4-0.

The football is important, no doubt. But what many of us are wondering is whether the Amazon Prime Video stream of the game will actually, ya know, work this week. The first two editions of Thursday Night Football were plagued with streaming issues, with the resolutions often dropping to something more like "sub-standard resolution" and pixelated, basically rendering the game unwatchable.

Read more
DirecTV to reimburse NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers for Week 2 fumble
NFL Sunday ticket logo.

One of the most frustrating things about live sports in 2022 is that there still are exclusives to limit where, when, and how you can watch NFL games. To wit: NFL Sunday Ticket, which allows subscribers to watch out-of-market games, remains solely on DirecTV. And DirecTV has had problems delivering a quality product — which is even more annoying considering that it's not just a subscription service like YouTube TV or even NFL+.

So when NFL Sunday Ticket failed again this week (Week 1 games had problems, too), subscribers were, to say the least, unhappy.

Read more