How to stream the Ashes on mobile and listen on radio

For a five-day test you can't be tied to your TV the whole time


Tests can be testing. Unless you're sat at home all day with Sky Sports and have eight hours a day to devote to Cook, Anderson, Root et al as they chase-down Australia, The Ashes can drift by.

The solution? Watch it wherever you are.

According to Sky, 27% of us admit to watching sport in secret, using second screens for streaming in covertly-booked meeting rooms or, yes, in the dunny at work. Can there be a better feeling than witnessing an Ashes win while on company time? With The Ashes due to start on Wednesday 8 July, grab your smartphone and let's start sledging!

TV coverage on the go

There are three options here. For live coverage, those with a Sky Sports package – an extra £25.50 a month for existing subscribers – can watch all the cricket live on the Sky Go app for iOS and Android. Just tune-in to Sky Sports 2 every day from 10am until the close of play, but note that you can only have a limited number of devices registered, so make sure you've configured everything ahead of time.

There's yet another option from Sky, with the Sky Sports app for iPad, which lets subscribers check-out the Ashes Event Centre complete with timeline, video clips and a choice of 17 cameras.

However, you don't need to be a full-time Sky user to watch The Ashes on the move. Download the Now TV app for iOS or Android and you can snag a Sky Sports Day Pass to watch a special dedicated channel called, imaginatively, Sky Sports Ashes. What's more, it's free for the first day of the first Test – held at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff – if you sign-up before 23.59pm on 8 July.

Use the code NOWTVASHES at, but note that it only works on phones and tablets, not on smart TVs or Youview boxes. If you get hooked, it will cost you £6.99 per day thereafter, though you can get weekly passes too for £10.99. Unfortunately the month passes are only coming through for the start of the football season...

Too rich for you? Demand 5 comes to the rescue with its 45 minute Cricket on 5 catchup highlights package aired each evening at 19:00, or watch live using an TV streaming app like TV Catchup, which has apps for all mobile platforms.

Best radio player apps

However, cricket isn't all about TV.

Radio 5 Live will be all over The Ashes with frequent live updates, but you won't find Test Match Special on the regular BBC radio stations. It's broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, and for those there's really only one app in town; the BBC's iPlayer Radio app for iOS or Android.

It's also streamed on the BBC Sport app on all platforms, which will give you text updates and wicket alerts.

Of course, you can also get BBC Radio 5 live sports extra on a host of radio apps including TuneIn or Radioplayer.

If you want to catch-up on the previous day's play while on the way to work, subscribe to the daily Test Match Special podcast.

The Apple Watch option

Are you a wannabe digital minimalist who has ditched fiddling with your phone for an Apple Watch?

If so, take a look at Radioplayer, which has issued an app specially for Cupertino's new time-keeper. Radioplayer, which streams all UK radio stations, puts four icons on Apple Watch; Favourites, Recommended, Recent and Local stations; install BBC Radio 5 live sports extra as a favourite and you're just two taps away from Test Match Special.

Best portable DAB radios

Who needs a portable DAB when we've got apps that stream radio for free?

The answer, of course, is cricket spectators who insist on basic reliability; when 30,000 others all try to use their phones in Sofia Gardens, Lord's, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston or The Oval, bandwidth will become scarce. Smartphone apps will be next to useless.

It's why no self-respecting cricket spectator is without a portable DAB radio, though oddly there are very few on sale.

The high-end option is the black or white Pure Move 2500, which has gone through a few iterations and is now super-slim, weighing 105g. However, it's the 15-hour battery life that's crucial, allowing you to get through an entire day of commentary. It recharges via microUSB and uses a click-wheel navigation control similar to the first-gen iPod. Small enough to slip into a trouser or jacket pocket while moving or working in the office, it's got an FM mode too.

Almost half the price is the white Roberts Sports DAB 5, which weighs just 66g and has a similar battery life to the Pure. It uses two AA batteries, which won't suit everyone, but at least it can be recharged easily during a long day's listening.

If you want something you can also use as home, the similarly priced but merely 45g Sony XDR-S40DBPB has a headphone jack and keeps going for 13 hours, also on two AA batteries.

Lastly, there's the Bush Pocket DAB/FM Radio in black, which sells for half as much again, though offers a battery life of only five hours, recharging via USB.

The analogue option

Why are there no smartphones with DAB tuners?

Well, there aren't which makes buying a portable DAB an expensive luxury for most. If you're planning to go to one of the stadiums and want to get the commentary without investing a sizeable chunk in a portable DAB, a cheap analogue radio is a serious consideration.

That old analogue AM/LW radio in your bathroom/study/attic could come to your rescue (if it's got a battery-operated mode) despite the crackly sound quality; just tune in to BBC Radio 4 on 198 LW and you're set. Low-cost and portable analogue radios with earphone jacks and LW modes include the cheap-as-chips Roberts Sport925 and the Sony ICF-404L, which also has a speaker.