Sunday, August 22, 2010

NFL season package

This year I decided to indulge and purchased the package that includes pre-season as well as regular season games from

Good things:

  • It's cheaper than Direct TV, cost comes out to approx $20/month
  • You can watch games in single mode, duo, fourplex or picture in picture
  • You can watch games at your discretion, this really helps me, since I'm on night shift @work
  • All the games are archived, though you may need to wait 24hrs before viewing
  • There's a ten second ahead as well as ten second reverse feature, which is great to rewind plays and watch the subtle movement of players
  • You can turn off/on scores, not as useful for me, but for the football junkie that just wants to watch a game w/o knowing score, this is a nice touch. If scoring is on you'll see scoring update for all on going games.
  • There's audio as well (comes in handy @work)
  • And for the most part picture quality is excellent (HD!)

Bad things:

  • A few of the games have had video/voice issues - you'll here the announcer, but the video is frozen ( I think DET market is culprit, but it could be a faulty HD(H.264) encoder or the device is just misconfigured )[ I think DET because both of their preseason games have had issues] then the video catches up, but you missed what happened.
  • Some of the markets are cutting game footage, last week CHI @SD this was clearly evident and DET @PIT was another game. This week, DET @DEN game footage starts out w/score 3-0, sigh.... :-(
  • NFL support states that the network, (CBS, FOX, etc) is responsible for game footage or I'd like to think the local broadcasting TV station (WWJ-TV)@DET is resposible, but there seems to be a pattern in DET, I think they need technical help in multicasting the games via IP.
  • Update: Eight hours later (I went to bed) and there is new game footage from CBS for DET @DEN, and it's much, much better, (smooth like a normal broadcast) NFL support is very responsive. Yeah! (just a little slow via e-mail, but that's ok, I wonder why they would offer to cancel subscription?)

What I would like to see:

  • It would be great to have an endzone view, just like the coaches tape. In this way I wouldn't be guessing as to what the safety(s) are doing (how/where are they lined up?) or just how wide are the DE's/LB's lined up, or is the NT right over the C?
  • This view was available last year online when watching I believe Sunday Night Football or was it Monday Night Football? I didn't really care to watch any other view. I just wished I could zoom in closer when the action moves down the field a bit or switch to the other endzone view.

Overall, this is a great package that could use refinement as well an endzone view, after all I'm paying to watch the games, right? And football junkies like me would prefer the endzone view.

Note: I find the fourplex mode highly useful, instead of drag/drop four games at once, I prefer to stagger games. I'll watch one game, wait until commercial break or end of 1st quarter, then start 2nd game and continue on until all four views have games ongoing. This allows me to focus on games at a much better pace and make notes for myself for each game and/or team.

BTW I'm using Cox cable as ISP w/cable modem connected to Linksys wireless/wired router and I've watched games using LAN NIC as well as wireless card and it's just a really good experience with either method.

There is an adaptive bit rate feature which you can turn off, but I leave it on (default setting). The only thing I had to do besides purchase package was upgrade the Adobe Flash Player, which you'll do at the beginning, if you don't have the latest version on your browser. The site does a browser check and will prompt you to download/install the latest player.

Now I just need a SVGA cable to connect my laptop to our TV and thus watch the games on a big screen, but that may degrade quality, unless of course I use a video scaler as well. Or another thought has occured, I wonder if my TV has or is capable of using a network adapter? I noticed TV's are being sold as internet ready, which means they have a LAN NIC or a wireless card, built within TV or sold as a separate add on. I'll need to check...

Let the regular season begin!!!

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