Streamhunter Service Just How Good Is It?
What Is Streamhunter?
Streamhunter is a website that claims to allow you to watch all the games of your favourite team for free. The main analogy they use is: “You pay 15 Euro for a soccer shirt and you get every game of your favourite club free. You don’t have to buy expensive subscriptions or cable TV.” No doubt you read our USAgoals article which is a similar offering.
Streamhunter also has two sister sites that offer the same service. They are “Streamfighter” and “Goalhunter”. These three websites all have similar layouts.
The question is: how can they offer these games for free? How does Streamhunter work?
How Does Streamhunter Work?
To find out what’s going on under the hood, I started with a thorough analysis of Streamhunter. The article explains in detail how they are able to stream the games, but here’s a short summary:
All Streamhunter links point to one single location which returns different links for every game. These links point to IP camera streams that are hosted on Amazon AWS servers. That way it becomes very difficult to hunt them down and block them.
This method has a big flaw: the stream quality is very poor because all links point to a single server that is shared with many people. To counter this they offer different qualities, but this is only available on the website itself – the links always point to low quality streams. Another problem with this method is bandwidth: a single IP camera can generally handle only 50 connections. As you can imagine, this quickly becomes a problem when 10 000 people try to watch the same live stream at the same time.
In order to solve these problems, Streamhunter has created two different systems: an automated system that selects free servers and distributes incoming traffic automatically and a manual system where Streamhunter employees manually prioritize traffic.
It’s worth noting that they also make use of a very interesting technology: UDP multicast (see the article for details).
The amount of resources needed to offer this service is huge, plus traffic is so high, that it even affects Amazon AWS servers located in Europe and North America. To solve this problem, they have created ‘shadow’ portals. They need to buy servers, pay for bandwidth and provide customer support. What makes the entire operation profitable is the advertising they run on their site: all visitors are forced to watch two video ads before they can access any of the games. One such site is https://streamhunter.to.
What is annoying about the site is how they even use the acceptance of the cookies to redirect to ads.
How To Find A Game?
When you visit Streamhunter, you’ll be greeted with a list of upcoming games. You can find the link to any game by scrolling down until you find this:
This is a live updated list of all available games. When a match starts, it will say “LIVE”. This means that everyone is trying to access the links at that moment and as a result, the quality will be very poor. When a match ends, it will say “VOD” which is short for ‘video on demand’. All games that are available after the live broadcast are linked from this page.
This article by TorrentFreak has an interesting tidbit about Streamhunter: “Streamhunter has its roots in another project, one that was started earlier this year by another group of football fans who wanted to share their passion with others. Their site, however, lacked the polish and reliability that Streamhunter currently offers.”
How To Find Quality Games?
Often there are no quality games available when you visit Streamhunter. They only offer low-quality videos which are generally unwatchable. If you know when the game starts, it’s easy to find high quality videos: visit Streamhunter about 30 minutes before the game starts and start looking for links that say “HQ”. This means that they offer a high-quality video (see image).
If there are no HQ links available, try again 1 hour after the game starts. This is when most people stop watching the match and Streamhunter wants to clear up bandwidth for more HQ links.
The quality of these videos is excellent: 1080p at 60fps . I had some issues with this video but as far as I can tell, these problems were caused by server problems, not the video itself.
What’s the difference between a live stream and a VOD?
A live broadcast can only be watched during the event, for example, a football match. When it ends, people will still try to watch the video but since the links are no longer available, everyone sees ‘video unavailable’ or something like that. This is why Streamhunter cannot provide live streams after the event ends.
The video on demand (VOD) is a recording of the stream. This means that you can always watch the match later and since no one is trying to access it at that moment, you get high-quality videos. The downside is that matches usually last only 90 minutes, so you might miss some of the action.
How Does Streamhunter Work?
Streamhunter has a very large network, so you may access it from any country. You can choose which server to connect to by changing your local IP address. This is done with a VPN, proxy or Tor. If you want more details on how to change your IP address, please check this article.
If you’re using a computer, you also need an addon for your browser. They work with Firefox and Chrome but not Internet Explorer or Opera. The addon is called ‘Open Media Player’ and can be downloaded easily.
Is This Service Legal?
One important question to consider- Is Streamhunter legal? According to the FAQ, “streamhunter.to is one of the leading websites for watching sport streams and does not infringe on copyrights. Our service acts merely as an index of videos that are freely available all over the Internet.”
They don’t host any content themselves so they’re not breaking any laws. However, this is different for each country so it’s best to check your local laws.
How Much Does It Cost?
Streamhunter.eu is completely free . They only request that you share the website with others once you find a link that works for you (see image). You can also use the Facebook like/share button on the right, or tweet this article on Twitter.
If you do not want to look for working links yourself, they offer a subscription service called ‘ Streamhunter Basic ‘. For €5/month or €50/year you get access to high-quality live and VOD streams. This is much cheaper than other paid services (see comparison table).
Streamhunter Basic offers more than 3 times as many live match events as Firstrow
Firstrowsport is $5.99/month but you can only watch football on your computer and the quality of the videos is low.
Streamhunter Basic costs €5/month and you can watch football, rugby and tennis on any device, including smart TVs and mobile phones.