For cricket fans it is the best time of the Test match cycle: England vs Australia for The Ashes. The oldest contest in international cricket, with added spice. After England won three series in a row between 2009 and 2013, the Aussies roared back with a phalanx of fast bowlers and humiliated England in Australia in the winter of 2013 to 2014. Back here in blighty England are seeking revenge, with a young and ambitious team taking aim at the more experienced old enemy. (If you're looking to watch The Ashes on iPad or iPhone also see our sister site Macworld.)
Update 20 August: The fifth Ashes test at The Oval starts today at 11am so see below to find out how to watch online in various ways.
Australia started as favourites, but one dropped catch and a great innings from Joe Root saw England destroy them in the first Test. However, the Australian's came back to level the series at Lord's. In this article we tell you how to watch The Ashes online, via laptop or PC, or on your smartphone or tablet (as well as an your faithful TV). And remember that you can put anything on your laptop on to your TV - see How to connect a laptop to TV with HDMI and more.
On this page we also explain how to follow The Ashes for free via radio or online. And outline The Ashes 2015 schedule. Everything you need for a great Ashes summer.
Let's get cracking. (See also: How to watch The Open golf online.)
Watch The Ashes 2015 cricket on TV, laptop, PC, tablet and mobile
The Ashes 2015 will be shown exclusively live by Sky Sports in the UK. The broadcaster will rebrand its Sky Sports 2 channel as 'Sky Sports Ashes' throughout the tournament. You can see every ball live throughout the series - and then again in highlights and analysis to fill the boring hours when there is no lovely live cricket to watch. (See also: how to get Sky remote to control TV's volume.)
Sky Sports is, of course, a pay-TV broadcaster. And although Sky Sports subscribers can also watch all the action on laptop, tablet and mobile via Sky Go for no extra charge, it is unlikely that you will want to shell out for an annual subscription just to watch five games of cricket (you don't have to, if you scroll to the next paragraph). Sky would disagree, of course. You can subscribe to Sky Sports for just £10 a month on top of another Sky TV bundle, meaning that at its cheapest you can get Sky TV for around £30 a month. Subscribe to Sky TV here.
If you are not already a Sky Sports subscriber you can go to the ball, and it doesn't have to mean an outlay of hundreds of pounds a year. With Sky's Now TV app and website you can pay on a one-off basis and watch online. You can get a day pass for just £6.99, and that offers access to all of Sky Sports output on a given day. Signing up for a week will get you each day of a test for less than the £6.99 daily rate. It's a pretty good setup. We have details of Sky Now pricing and how to use Sky Now here.
Watch The Ashes 2015 cricket for free
Here your options are seriously limited. The simple truth is that the only legal way to watch live Ashes cricket in the UK is to pay Sky's dollar. But you can get highlights of each day's play on Channel 5 - and these are free to air on the TV, and via Channel 5's online offering.
This may not feel like enough for the most ardent cricket fans watching the greatest series, but you can always supplement with some other great free ways to follow The Ashes 2015.
Listen to live coverage of The Ashes 2015 cricket
Cricket is perfectly suited to the radio, being a game of lulls and pauses surrounding frenetic and exciting action. And the BBC is perfectly suited to covering cricket. I personally love listening to the BBC's Test Match Special, which manages to combine whipsmart analysis of the game as it happens, with a welcome sense of fun. It is, after all, just a game.
So if for any reason you can't watch the cricket, you really should listen to live coverage of the 2015 Ashes: the pictures are better on the radio, and it is free to do so (albeit as a Licence Fee payer you are funding the BBC cricket coverage).
TMS is covering every ball of the 2015 Ashes series, as well as myriad cakes and silly games. You can listen to live radio coverage on 5 Live Sports Xtra and Radio 4 long wave, either online through TV, smartphone, laptop, PC or tablet, or via an actual radio. The best way to listen online is to navigate to the BBC Sport website, or install the BBC Sport app. Then navigate to Live Radio, and select the relevant programming.
Even if you aren't online, for any reason, you can pick up the cricket (and the Shipping Forecast) by tuning in to 198 LW on your radio. The online coverage is limited to the UK and other territories that don't care about cricket, for rights reasons. But you can pick up Radio 4 long wave a surprisingly long way away from the UK. Certainly, I have listened to the evocative crackle of the cricket on the radio in the French Alps.
The Ashes 2015 live on TV, laptop, PC, tablet and smartphone: reader poll
How to get live coverage of The Ashes cricket on websites, apps
There are plenty of alternatives to TV and radio for getting live coverage of The Ashes. Indeed, cricket is a sport that can be followed simply by looking at the scorecard, and live text updates work well in a sport that is broken up into six-ball overs.
You can simply head to the BBC Sport website to get live text coverage and a live scorecard. The ESPN Cricinfo website is my personal favourite, however: full of tricks including ball-by-ball text commentary, a full scorecard, interactive graphs, and Hawk Eye. It also offers a desktop scorecard a handy Chrome plugin which alerts you whenever there is a wicket.
There are also myriad apps which will help you keep up with all the big hits and wickets. These include Sky Sports Live Cricket Score Centre the Official ESPNcricinfo App.
Watch The Ashes 2015 cricket: Ashes schedule - when does The Ashes start?
Each Ashes Test Match is formed of up to five days of play. In each case the day starts at 11am, weather permitting. In principle play last until 6pm, but that requires the bowling side to send down 90 overs in a day - something they almost always fail to do. So there is an extra half an hour of play, even without rain interruptions. So expect the cricket to be in play between 11am and 6.30pm each day, except for the 1pm to 1.40pm lunch break, and a shorter break for tea at 3.30pm.
The Ashes 2015 schedule and venues is as follows:
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff - ENGLAND WON TO GO 1-0 UP.
Lord's, London - AUSTRALIA WON TO LEVEL AT 1-1
29 July–2 August
Edgbaston, Birmingham - ENGLAND WON TO GO 2-1 UP.
Trent Bridge, Nottingham ENGLAND WON TO GO 3-1 UP AND TAKE THE SERIES.
The Oval, London