Posts Tagged ‘streaming’

NFL offer refunds to European customers

Friday, October 13th, 2017 | Sport

On Tuesday, the NFL announced they would be partially refunding all of their European Game Pass customers because of the problems people experienced with the streaming service.

The announcement comes just six hours after I published my article setting out the problems. I’m not saying my blog post was solely responsible for their announcement, but the timing is clearly too similar to ignore.

They’re giving everyone 20% back, which is fair, though not beyond expectations.

However, the real test will be whether they sort the streaming issues out. Roll on Sunday…

NFL Game Pass: A story of broken promises

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 | Reviews

NFL Game Pass is an internet streaming service. You pay around £140 per year and get access to live streams of all of the games. Except if Sky Sports is showing them, in which case they’re blacked out. You also get on-demand replays of the games.

Or that is the theory. Except, this year more than most, the NFL has been unable to deliver on their side of the bargain.

Broken TV apps

Let’s start with Apple TV. The app just doesn’t work anymore. At all. If you try and use it, it just says that they are migrating to a new app. But there is no App Store on the old Apple TV, so it doesn’t work, that’s just tough luck.

And broken tablet apps

The iOS app does not seem to be fairing much better. Here is the endless spinning of the login screen:

This is probably one of the many reasons why they have managed to score a total of 1 star on the App Store reviews system:

Browsers not working

I used to use Firefox to watch the video streams on my desktop. But that is no longer an option because the sound doesn’t work any more. So, I’ve been forced to switch to Chrome instead.

Video streams constantly freezing

In week four, as customers often experience, the video streams would often freeze up or drop to an unwatchably low quality. Yet, when you contact the NFL about this, they blame it on your connection.

In fact, we have become so used to this now that we are forced to run a speed test alongside the stream in preparation for the NFL blaming it on us. Here is mine:

With enough speed to watch 30 simultaneous Netflix shows, it seems unlikely that the problem is at my end. Or the many other ends from which people are complaining.

Video streams not working

Week 5, things got worse. The website wouldn’t load and nor would any of the streams. You either got stuck on accessing the website itself:

Or, if you were lucky enough to get through, you got no video:

It eventually started working at 7:23 pm, almost an hour and a half after kick-off, and four scores into the game.

Customer service not even responding

After week 4, I send out a full and detailed complaint setting out why I thought the NFL’s service was unacceptable and that they were failing to provide the service I was paying for.

I would post it here, in full, except I cannot because the NFL did not give me a copy of it, or ever respond to it. You have to use their online contact form to send your message, and they do not seem to respond to them or even acknowledge their existence.

I’m not the only person they are ignoring:

Fake reviews

BBC journalist Mark Simpson has been on the case to the NFL. He questioned them about it, and they said: “we have a 99.3% reliability”. Which is terrible, of course. Data centres typically offer you a 5/9 reliably, which is 99.999%. 99.3% does not cut it, especially when the .7 is when the games are actually on.

Here is the interview:

And it turns out that to try and cover up how poor the apps were, staff have been faking reviews to make it look better than it was:

The Independent covered the story, as did NBC Sports.

An army of disappointed fans

A quick search of Twitter shows how many people are having problems. While the NFL put out insulting tweets saying:

We are aware of an issue that some users may be having. We’re working to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

Note that “some users” seems to be the whole of the UK and Europe. 20 tweets a second were appearing from angry users during Sunday’s 6pm kick-off.

Apple TV

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 | Reviews, Tech

I’ve started using a spare computer monitor as a TV in my bedroom so that I could hook it up to my laptop and stream programmes onto a bigger screen when I wanted to.

However, it’s irritating having to cable everything up, so I purchased an Apple TV to stream directly to it. So far my experience has been on the whole positive, with a few drawbacks.

Set up was reasonably easy, and now I have it up and running, on both my laptop and my iPad I am able to select AirPlay mirroring and begin mirroring my screen onto my TV; it also sends the sound.

That said, not everything works perfectly. Here is how it looks so far:

  • Videos in iTunes mirror though there doesn’t seem to be a volume control I can activate from the iPad
  • TVCatchUp mirrors but without any volume control
  • BBC iPlayer mirrors from my iPad, and lets me control the volume with the iPad volume control
  • 4od blocks mirroring from my iPad
  • NFL GamePass mirrors from my iPad and lets me control the volume
  • Sky Go blocks mirroring from my iPad

It is worth noting that even though Sky think they’re being clever by blocking AirPlay mirroring on the iPad, I can just open up the video stream in a browser on my desktop, full screen it and AirPlay mirror my entire laptop screen.

The built app apps for Apple TV are pretty useless though. They don’t have any apps for iPlayer, 4od, GamePass or Sky Go (and even if they did, I can only have two devices on Sky Go anyway), so I can’t imagine I’ll be doing much with my Apple TV than mirroring a different device to it.

It would certainly be nice if I could use it as a standalone box to watch things on, but until they open it up for third party apps, I can’t see me getting much use out of it that way.

Sky Go

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 | Distractions, Reviews

I got Sky Go so that I could watch the live Formula One and NFL. I pay for NFL GamePass but unfortunately even though I’m paying a lot of money for it, they still black out any games that Sky Sports are showing.

Overall, I’m disappointed.

Firstly, I can only put it on two devices. Now I have loads – a laptop, a phone, a work computer, a tablet, all of which I would like to use it on depending on situation. But I can’t, because I can only register two devices.

Secondly, they have disabled display mirroring, so I can’t plug my iPad into a TV and watch it on there. It’s just stupid though, because I can just plug my laptop into a TV and do it that way, so they’re not stopping anything.

Streaming has worked quite well though. I was able to stream last Sunday night’s NFL with only a few stops for buffering and it looks pretty good on my 27″ screen.