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Published 3 years ago with 1 Comments

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  • MePLUR

    Where I live, the only pay TV provider (Sky) lost the rights to the Premier League and a few golf tournaments (including the PGA Tour, Presidents Cup and Champions Tour) to a streaming provider. While it is great that viewers can pick and choose what sports they subscribe to, which games they want to watch and when they want to watch it, there are a few negatives, including the cost, loss of quality and ease of use.

    I'm currently paying $80 per month ($50 base package + $30 for sports) to Sky. Now that they have lost the rights to the Premier League, I have to fork out an additional $20 per month, and for golf, it's another $20. As someone who regularly watches various football (soccer) competitons, rugby union, rugby league, cricket and tennis, if I had to pay for each sport individually, the cost would quickly surpass what I'm paying now.

    When the service first launched, opinions on the quality of the feed were split; some users were happy, claimed that they couldn't tell the difference between regular Sky and the streams, while others like me, weren't. I cancelled my sports subscription in protest when Sky lost the rights to the Premier League. After two years of watching football, specifically the Premier League, online (I believe they use the same platform as NFL's Gamepass), I recently resubscribed to the sports channels, and having just watched my first game on Sky, the difference in quality is significant. No pixellation, no stuttering video, no drop in quality or buffering. It isn't a bandwidth issue, because I do not have the same issues when I'm watching Netflix. Also, the online feed is delayed by a couple of minutes, so no live chats and no looking at the phone because Google Now might show the live score.

    With the streaming service, you can watch the games on a browser, iOS or Android device (the bitrate is capped at 1500kbps on Android, not sure about iOS) and on selected Samsung smart TVs. I'm tech savvy, so getting the game on my HTPC or watching it on my mobile device isn't an issue, but no matter how easy I make it for him, my dad struggles when he wants to watch a game (admittedly he's somewhat of a technophobe). Also, there are many more things that can go wrong while streaming; is the internet connection down? did Flash crash? is there an issue with the HTPC/device? is the streaming provider having issues? Who do you blame/call when you can't watch a game? With Sky, all my dad has to do is turn the TV on and switch channels. If anything is wrong, call up Sky and they'll fix it.

    Sorry for the rant. I guess what I'm trying to say is, while there are positives with the unbundling of live sports, there are also negatives. Watching the game on Sky today, it really hit home how much I prefer it that way. In my ideal world, there would be no exclusivity with broadcast rights, and users will be able to choose how they consume media; watch online, or if they prefer, via traditional pay TV, but that will never happen.

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