Soccer fans in Canada and abroad know Bein Sports well as a primary outlet to take in matches, but how well does its Connect app stream them?
There is a cost benefit analysis that goes into this because Bein Sports is also available from cable TV providers. You pay handsomely for it because it’s lumped into a sports package, but it is there if you prefer a remote control and large screen over a phone or tablet. Still, there is the convenience of watching a match on your terms, not only when cable broadcasts it live.
While it’s not exclusively a soccer platform, that sport takes up almost all of its space and programming. Open up the app for the first time, and that becomes readily apparent. To be more viable, Bein Sports has tried to secure the rights to more of the popular leagues in Europe, though has also brought in competitions from South America and Africa.
The jewel of the service is undoubtedly Ligue 1 from France. With Lionel Messi joining up with Paris St.-Germain (PSG), many eyes will be on the famed Argentinian to see how the team does. You get all Ligue 1 matches, giving you plenty of chances to see Messi play with Neymar again after their brief stint together in Barcelona.
The SüperLig from Turkey is also included, showing games from a league that has also improved in quality over the last several years. Conmebol Libertadores is an annual tournament in South America for club teams that the app also fully covers. Conmebol Sudamericana is a similar tournament, albeit a step below Libertadores. And finally, the Africa Cup of Nations competition also gets in here, as national squads in the continent play each other to come out as champions.
Beyond that, it’s slim pickings. You get some running events, and the odd non-soccer sports documentary, but otherwise, it’s all about what happens on the pitch.
The app works with both iOS and Android devices, including tablets, so you can enjoy watching on a larger display on the go. Roku offers the app on its platform, though you can’t get it on an Amazon TV device. At least not directly. For that, you would need to download something else, like FuboTV, which has its own subscription.
There’s no official app for Android or Google TV, either. While I’ve heard there is one in other regions, I have yet to see it in Canada. You can always try sideloading it to see what happens, but you can also use a Chromecast to push it to your TV as well. Chromebooks don’t have an official app, though I did download one from Google Play and it seems to run fine. On Windows and Mac, you can just use a web browser to take in the action. There is no access for smart TVs and game consoles.
In a word, nothing. If you start an account and sign up, you are on the hook to pay from the start.
When you do sign up, you have two options in Canada. Either pay $14.95 + tax monthly or redeem a voucher code to shave off some of that cost. I never saw an option to purchase an annual subscription, which usually comes at a lower month-to-month cost.
Once you’re in, you can stream anything that has already aired, or tune in to something playing live. Since it is an app and platform, you don’t need to subscribe to cable to get anything it’s showing. In fact, games that never make it to the TV channels are readily available on Bein Sports Connect.
If you want to tune into highlights, you certainly can, or take in an abbreviated match in 30 or 60 minutes. Note that watching a full game means you also get the pre- and post-game shows, so it is a full replay of the entire broadcast, not just the match itself.
Up to two devices can stream simultaneously, and you are effectively registering a device when you log in. You can add up to four devices total. Try to add a fifth, and the first one gets bumped. I ran into a weird issue where I had to input a code from my phone when trying to watch on the Roku app. Doing it the first time was fine, but I was puzzled as to why it asked me again when there were only two devices at that point.
Bein Sports Connect does stream in HD, and while there are no real specifics, it looks to be in 720p resolution. There is no option, at least in the app itself, to tell it whether you want a lower bitrate to save on data. I always recommend using Wi-Fi for streaming video apps, but you should be fine watch a game without killing all of your data.
Bein Sports doesn’t provide approximations of how much data it takes up, though does recommend connection speeds no less than 10Mbps. It’s hard for me to tell exactly how much that equates to, but if I were to take a guess, I would say 500MB per hour is a good gauge.
You can always check how much data the app takes up on your phone. With iOS, go to Settings>Cellular and swipe down to see it on the list. With Android, go to Settings>Apps>Bein Sports Connect to find out.
The biggest competitor for soccer content would have to be DAZN. It has the English Premier League, Belgian Pro League, Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, Major League Soccer and women’s competition to boot. It no longer has Spain’s La Liga or Italy’s Serie A, the latter of which you can find on FuboTV. La Liga has gone over to TSN Direct.
The app isn’t without its quirks. The weird repeat login process was annoying, and there were times when I would click on a live match and it would give me an error. When I found that same match on a different page in the app, it worked. The inconsistency does show, and clearly, Bein Sports has some work to do to smooth things out.
You may be okay with all that as a soccer fan, but in truth, spending money on something like FuboTV might be the better investment because you get access to more leagues and sports content there. Try that one out on a free trial first before jumping into Bein Sports Connect.