Friday, September 2, 2016

My night of viewing CFB using smartphone apps, Twitter & a Google Cast, plus MBK notes

For those of you who have followed me on Twitter long enough, you might know that my sport of choice is baseball & not necessarily college sports.  As a displaced Yankee fan, I've been either a MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV subscriber for several years, and now as an AT&T U-Verse TV subscriber, MLB.TV is my option as MLBEI is not available.

Frankly, that's not a big deal for me to not have EI as MLB.TV, via Baseball Advanced Media's technology, has really moved forward with the quality of the stream provided, going as far as 60 frames per second, which is the quality you would get typically from a pay TV subscription feed of ESPN or FS1 for example.  Its really good and you wouldn't notice the difference when the internet feed is right.  Yes, your internet speed does matter here.  I think the minimums for 60fps with MLB.TV is around 6Mbps.  I have U-Verse at 18, which is less than a lot of cable TV providers, but fast enough for me.  

BAMTech also provides the stream for ESPN's linear TV channels, and after reading this piece from SBNation yesterday on how to watch as much college football legally through cord cutting, I figured it was time to try out watching an entire night of college football with smartphone apps via my 2nd generation Google Cast, coupled with Campus Insiders' initial Twitter-cast, even though I am not a cord cutter.  Call this an experiment regarding how to get away with not having a pay TV receiver on a TV.  

FOX Sports Go, NBC Sports & beIN Sports Connect apps were not utilized by me last night.  FOX Sports Go was supposed to be available for Google Cast tonight and it is, working both to natively cast through the full Chrome browser and on the app.  NBC Sports and beIN Sports Connect also have Google Cast in their apps natively, but I encounter a lot of crashes & hangups with the app.  beIN Sports Connect's website option also, comically, is only usable in older browsers and Firefox as the video stream uses Microsoft Silverlight, an ActiveX technology that Microsoft has stopped updating and will stop supporting in 2021 completely (I'm sure by that point beIN Sports will use a supported video stream).

Here's the apps & sites I engaged with on my Samsung Galaxy S5 along with the games:

WatchESPN (app) - Charlotte at Louisville (in some areas, FOX Sports Go was the app for this game), Appalachian St. at Tennessee, Tulane at Wake Forest, Maine at UConn, Indiana at FIU, Montana St. at Idaho 
BTN2Go (app) - Oregon St. at Minnesota
Pac-12 Now (app) - Southern Utah at Utah
Campus Insiders (website) - Weber St. at Utah St., South Dakota at New Mexico
OVC Digital Nework (website) - Western Illinois at Eastern Illinois
Southland Digital Network (website) - Houston Baptist at Central Arkansas

All played relatively flawlessly.  My notes:
  • WatchESPN got up to speed very quickly with high quality video.  Other apps, seemed to take a little longer to warm up to get the best possible video.
  • Website casting was a bit hit-or-miss on the quality of the video, even from the same site, which may come down to the quality of the originating equipment.  For example, with the exception of some video stuttering, Weber St. at Utah St. looked sharp from the start.  South Dakota at New Mexico had more noticeable pixelation.
    • South Dakota at New Mexico required my location services to be turned on for my phone.  Even then, it seemed like I had to force my Chrome browser to provide CI with my location to view the game as in-market ROOT Sports viewers cannot stream the game.
  • I viewed Weber St. at Utah St. on Twitter on my laptop and it held up pretty well.  It looked like the feed on Twitter was ahead of the Campus Insiders website by about ten seconds when comparing my phone vs. my laptop.  I did not see how the stream looked on my phone through Twitter, but the social aspect was clearly laid out as it has been for other sporting & political events.
I did miss out on the ability to view Rice at Western Kentucky as part of this experiment as CBS Sports Network's stream is limited to three TV providers plus (possibly?) CBS All-Access subs though I receive the channel as part of my TV subscription.  But I had the ability to catch a lot of games and didn't have to switch the video input on my TV to go from my receiver to my HDMI2.

* The Big 12 released its men's basketball conference TV schedule.  After taking into account the televised non-conference games that were announced by the schools, plus removing the three Longhorn Network intraconference games (those games are part of Texas's member retained package), ESPN has, so far, selected about 112 Big 12 games, which includes the conference tournament.

Per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the Big East schedule is coming out late next week.  As of yesterday, only Villanova had not officially posted their non-conference schedule.

* "COUGH" Marathon (more coming) "COUGH"

1 comment:

Hokie Mark said...

1. I, too, watched college football without a TV last night - on my smartphone! I watched a little Tulane @ Wake Forest*, Wm & Mary @ NC State, and S Carolina @ Vanderbilt. Furthermore, I have Sling TV (the Orange Pkg), so I don't have cable at all.

2. You may want to fix a typo - you list "Charlotte at Louisville (in some areas, FOX Sports Go was the app for this game), Appalachian St. at Tennessee, Tulane at Louisville". Tulane was at Wake Forest.