I’m a hockey fan. It’s probably the only sport I enjoy watching. I also happen to be one of those new age hippies that doesn’t pay for cable or satellite… streaming content is the only thing I care about. I am not interested in paying for channels that do not interest me, so I don’t see the merits in paying for TV I won’t watch just so I can subscribe to NHL Center Ice.
The other night I was browsing the web and somehow stumbled upon GameCenter Live. A friend told me he subscribed recently, and the price for the rest of the season was reasonable. I was still hesitant to buy it because I was unsure about watching games on my PC, and I also run Linux or FreeBSD often so it needed to work OK in their terrible flash player. Somehow I spotted a mention of the PS3. That sounded fantastic — not paying for cable but watching games on my TV? SOLD!
The GameCenter Live for PS3 is $10 if you’re not a PS3 Plus sucker subscriber, so I figured that’s not too bad an entry fee if I only have to pay it once. The download of 18MB only took about 15 minutes which is hilariously slow, but I’m not going to complain if it works.
My experience has been partially satisfying so far. I’ll give you a rundown of the current features:
These problems are not only on the PS3 — it’s also mentioned on the Boxee and Roku forums. My googling so far has found instances of people complaining on non-Sony / PS3 forums. Someone must be keeping people quiet about it. I’ve read people mentioning that they’ve heard back from Sony and they claim their engineers don’t have this issue. Others say it’s known and being worked on. My only guess is that the streaming done to the PS3, Boxee, and Roku devices are not the same as the one to the web. It’s probably encoded differently and uses different servers to do the streaming. Either way, it needs to be fixed.
At this point I’d rate the app 2/5 because of how unwatchable the Capitals vs Hurricanes game was last night. If you can handle these issues go ahead and buy it. I’m sure watching the game after it airs will be a decent experience. However, if you want to watch it live you’re going to get frustrated quickly.
I have high hopes for this market. NHL is getting my money and there’s no reason why this format should be treated like a second class citizen. As more things move to the web the situation should improve, but it needs to improve soon because I’m getting impatient….
edit: For anyone who wants to blame the issues on internet connection problems: