-by Justin Lasher
When my wife and I recently bought our house and moved, we made the decision to cut cable. We, for a $.01 were talked into getting a very limited package (Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, and “The Shopping Channels”). As an avid sports fan, my lingering concern was the ability to watch sporting events live. I am, and have never been, one to be able to record and watch later. I am on too many social media platforms, and with instant updates, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay disconnected from what is happening in real time. What about games on ESPN? What about NBA games, that are regularly on TNT or TBS? What about NCAA Tournament games not on CBS? You get my point, I had many concerns with having to get creative and explore online options to satisfy my sports obsession.
Last night Twitter broadcasted it’s first live-stream NFL game. It won the bidding war and rights last April to do so and I naturally wanted to check out what it was all about. Although I only watched the game briefly via my Twitter mobile app, I was very impressed with the video and audio quality. I am not sure if there were buffering or streaming issues as I didn’t watch long enough to find out (the game was also on CBS, which I get). The only negative draw back for me was if I wanted to check out my twitter feed or browse something else while watching the game, I had to venture away from the game. This would have been the same if I were watching it on my laptop. Did any of you guys watch the game via Twitter last night? If so, please let us know your experiences.
Now, this online viewing isn’t something completely new to me, but I haven’t done it enough to completely form an opinion on how I feel about the shift away from watching sports though cable line on my television. I have watched both Syracuse football games this year via the Watch ESPN app on either my phone or tablet. While, I do enjoy the portability of being able to watch the games I want wherever I want, there is undoubtedly always an interruption with the Watch ESPN app.
One of the drawbacks of watching sports online is the delay in the feed you are watching compared to watching it live or via cable. No matter what platform you are watching from, there seems to consistently be a 30-45 second delay in viewing. This is particularly annoying, if you are like me, and like to partake in the bantering and commentary of the game on Twitter or Facebook while watching it.
One of the positives is that while I have turned to watching most of my sports online now, I was able to purchase a cord that hooks up to my laptop and television, allowing me to essentially watch the games on big screen, so I am not limited to having to squint and watch from a much smaller device. I know what you are thinking, and I am much too cheap, although I am close, to purchasing a smart tv, thus allowing me to ditch the cord altogether. Another positive of making the move to online viewing is the cost savings. We are paying a third of the cost of what we were paying with cable. Now that is something that makes me extremely happy.
In conclusion, there have been some bumps in the road in my transition to online sports viewing, and there are some drawbacks, but overall, it has been an easy and enjoyable experience. While I still recommend attending sporting events live when you can, I can comfortably say if you are looking to ditch cable, go ahead and do so. The benefits far out weigh negatives.
I have shared with you just one man’s opinion, however as always we want to know your experiences and thoughts. Are you like me and have made the switch? Are you still hanging on to cable? Please share with us where you stand on this topic.