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Fox Sports Gets A "F" For Live Streaming of BCS Championship Game Content

Thursday, January 8, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 9:44 PM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Jan 8, 2008) - There is no easy way to put this. Despite the efforts of Fox Sports to "hype" the first ever "historical" (in the words of Thom Brennaman) "live streaming" of the BCS Championship game online, the best grade they can be given is an F, and only because it is not possible to get a lower grade. Why?

1. They forgot the end user/viewer in favor of their relationship with Microsoft

The world does not all use Internet Explorer. In fact, the smarter people use Firefox, Safari, Opera or anything but Internet Explorer. So what happens if you tried to access the available streams using Firefox?

Well first, you are able to see the commercials airing while the game is live on TV. No technical problems there. Then when it is time for the video to start, you get this screen:

There is no link to the plug-in. Just an error message. Most mainstream sites take the time to provide links to missing plug-ins. Not here. Why? Could it because of their partnership with the MSN Network? (slight update: subsequent loads of the page, after installing Windows Media Player 11 (see below), in Firefox showed a download link.)

So why not just fire up Internet Explorer 7, the latest and greatest from Microsoft? Do that and you also get an error message:

But since this is Internet Explorer, you get a link immediately. Not to the plug-in, but to the full Windows Media Player (a 25 MB install package).

2. People Want to See the Game, Not Useless Camera Angles of Low Quality

Get it installed and what do you get? Video that looks like it was shot with a consumer video camera at best. Hi-def? Not even close? Useful camera angles? Depends on your viewpoint, so to speak. If a screen capture were to be made, it would be a mistake to post it here because of its poor quality. Why show a stats screen if it is not even close to legible? Well, actually you really need the visual:

This is an un-doctored actual screen shot of the stats video. No alterations were made, and you can click on the image to see it actual size.

There is a simple question for Fox. If you can show hi-def quality replays on Hulu the day after the game, why can you not show the game live on-line? CBS Sports is doing it very well and very effectively with the SEC package and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships. NBC Sports did an exceptional job with the Summer Olympics. So why can't you pull it off as well, especially for a marquee event such as the BCS Championship Game?

If it cannot be done well, end-users and viewers should not be insulted with poor quality. It makes the network look bad, and makes the BCS itself look bad (as if it needed any help in that area).

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. kzfone says:

    When ESPN takes over in 2010, there will be live streaming on ESPN360, but the problem is, only subscribers to ISP's that sign with ESPN will be able to access ESPN360.

    I agree that Fox's streaming was awful tonight. I did not get that Windows Media screen, I was able to get the video right away, but I was wondering why it did not have the call from the Brennaman and Davis to compliment the camera angles. And they should have provided the on-air feed as well.

    Very bad use of online streaming by Fox. Bad foresight on the network's part.

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