The first installment of the new series produced by the NHL and EPIX, The Road to the Winter Classic, debuts on Tuesday night across EPIX's many platforms. The cable and online channel isn't available from most cable service providers, though, so here's a breakdown of the different ways to access the program without a subscription to EPIX or cable.
EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic
Premiere: Tue., Dec. 16 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT
Episode 2: Tue., Dec. 23 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT
Episode 3: Tue., Dec. 30 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT
Episode 4:Tue., Jan. 6 at 10pm ET/PT, 9CT
The live streaming options
EPIX is providing free live streaming of each episode on EPIX.com, the EPIX mobile and connected devices apps, NHL.com, the NHL app, and official websites from the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. In other words, there are a ton of ways to access this assuming you have a steady Internet connection and live in the United States:
* Via the EPIX and NHL Facebook pages
* Via the official app of the NHL available on Android and iOS
* Via the official EPIX App on Android, iOS, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Roku, Chromecast and Windows 8
If you're set on watching on TV, one could always use an HDMI to plug their laptop into the TV, but using the EPIX app would likely be preferable. Those options listed above cover pretty much every major streaming device on the market, so assuming you watch Netflix or something, you'll have an option available.
Unfortunately, all of those options offer live streaming only, so you'll need to sign up for a special NHL trial with EPIX in order to watch the episodes on your own time. From the small print, it appears the trial will last until March 6, 2015, which is two weeks after the final episode of The Road to the Stadium Series. It doesn't sound like the account will auto-renew then, but that's probably something I'd want to keep an eye on.
What about Canada?
If you didn't catch the theme above, EPIX seems pretty focused on the American audience for the "Road to the Winter Classic." That makes a good deal of sense -- the matchup features two prominent teams from the U.S. and is being played in the nation's capital -- but it also ignores the legions of hockey fans up north who surely want to watch this.
Luckily, EPIX found a partner in Sportsnet, which will air the weekly episodes in Canada. I can't tell if there will be any alternative streaming options for our friends up north, though, so you guys gotta make sure to have your DVRs set up unless you want to take a road trip to watch a hockey reality show.
SCH Watch Party?
I would suggest that we put together an episode thread and watch the debut of the program tonight, but it unfortunately overlaps with the Blackhawks' game against the Wild. That throws a wrench in the plans since I assume a lot of folks won't want to sign up for an EPIX trial, but with a few days off after tonight's game, I'm thinking a Wednesday night thread where we can all tune our DVRs (or streaming devices) to start at the same time (say, 8 p.m. CT) and do our best to watch it and comment on it together. We'll see how it works with the first episode and hopefully end up doing one for all four.