The Super Bowl of Streaming
This watershed moment in video streaming history might also have brought out a record number of whiners. The complaints ran the gamut: the video quality was blurry and inconsistent; some had connectivity issues; Silverlight performed like garbage; the amount of PC screen real estate used for the picture was too small; the streaming feed ran behind the live TV broadcast. The streaming option lacked the Madonna half-time show. And on, and on. There were even complaints about how the ad loads between the streamed and live TV versions were different.
I was one of the 2.1 million folks who gave it a shot on Sunday, opting to run the game on an iPad connected to my home's Wi-Fi connection. I streamed along as I watched the game on the big screen, setting the tablet down between swigs of Yuengling.
Granted, the streaming experience wasn't picture-perfect, but I thought it was still perfectly watchable. Yes, the on-screen graphics were tough to read at times and the feed did stutter intermittently. Sure, it was annoying that the feeds weren't synched up, with the video stream perpetually running 15 to 30 seconds behind the action on the big TV. The ad load? Big whoop.
But the video quality was no worse -- and, in fact, seemed better -- than what I've typically gotten when I run my Slingbox through the iPad over the same home Wi-Fi network. Still, I shudder at what it might have been like had I been forced to watch the game on a creaky 3G connection.
And I didn't get some of the streaming cut-offs that upset other users on Sunday afternoon. But that's best-effort broadband for you. Nothing's guaranteed. One viewer might get a perfect stream while another gets a pixel-icious mess. And if streaming the game was your only option, you should be glad that you even had that option. Here's hoping it will become an annual tradition.
Despite some fixable hiccups, I'd give the maiden voyage of the Super Bowl streaming experience a grade of B. Not great, but not bad, with room for improvement.
Did you give it a shot on Super Bowl Sunday? What was your experience like?
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable