Thirty years ago, a catchy number called “video killed the radio star” had people all over the world grooving to it.
Today, the days of the old “video” are over. The Internet has taken over FM radio, and is fast set to take over television as well. From movies to your favorite sitcoms, there is nothing you cannot watch online. What’s more, you can even record your TV shows, and fast-forward advertisements.
One area in which Internet TV has been lagging behind is the area of live sports. There are a few key problems faced by online sports streaming, which are not faced to this extent by services hosting other TV channels.
All these problems center around the importance of watching it live. Watching a sports match after the news report is no fun – a game HAS to be watched live, or at least kept track of. No surprise, is it, that tens of thousands of people without TV access follow the BBC sports updates? Imagine, for a moment, the level of traffic that would be generated if sports channels were to become available online. Then sports channels would become accessible to:
The college student in hostel with no TV access
The disgruntled husband whose game clashes with his wife’s sitcom
People who choose high-speed Internet over cable TV when they can’t have both
Anyone, anywhere, with a screen to watch the game.
Clearly, traffic overload will quickly become an issue.
Great news! At long last, after years of research and development, live sports for computer owners is now a reality. The quality of the streamed video is at par with cable TV transmission in most places of the world, and an added bonus is that channels from all over the world can be viewed without paying separately for tiny “packages”.
While choosing an online sports streaming service, make sure you get the best deal for your money. You can do this by looking out for:
Services that work worldwide, so that you can watch your race/match/game even while globetrotting
Services that have the channels you watch most frequently. Do not be tempted to go for the cheap service that offers only three out of your four favorite sports channels, or you will probably end up frustrated within two months
A good user interface. The user interface is the software equivalent of customer service. While you don’t always think you’re paying for it, getting a good user interface always makes using the program a much more pleasurable experience.
Minimal tinkering with hardware. Hardware modifications carry a lot of trouble with them. Either you cannot use the service on more than one machine, or it takes you too much time to shift the hardware implements, or you forget to take the card along. Avoid services which require hardware extras for use.
Once you choose the Internet as your medium for watching sports, you can say goodbye to most TV-related conflicts not to mention high cable bills – and enjoy your favorite game to your heart’s content.