Sunday, February 07, 2010

Trialing CurlTv.com Live #Curling - Or Not

I mentioned previously that I was 'trying' to watch the 2010 Alberta Men's Provincial Curling Championship on CurlTv.com. I've been watching the free daily news on CurlTv.com for awhile, and have always wanted to trial a paid subscription to an event. Since I couldn't attend the competition in Olds this year, and because I figured it would be a Koe/Ferbey final, I figured I could cough up the $10 for five days of curling videos.

Unfortunately, trying out a subscription didn't go too well.

Actually, it sucked.

A lot.

Often.

First of all, the first few games on Wednesday weren't recorded due to technical difficulties. Fair enough, they did put up a warning on the home page. I appreciate that wiring up and taping a game in a small town curling club, then streaming it to the world isn't very easy. I also tried to watch an archived game from that day, but the game wasn't in the Games Vault, so I had to settle for an archived game from 2008, which was actually rather entertaining.

Then, on Thursday, I tried to watch a game on a PC at the university, with no luck at all. The video was extremely choppy and constantly stopped to buffer. I could only get through about 15 seconds, so eventually gave up and just followed line scores on the 2010 Alberta Men's Provincial Curling Championship site.

On Friday, I came home from a long day with hopes of watching the latest game but I had tons of troubles. The video wouldn't work, and when it did it kept freezing and stopping. Refreshing didn't help. I had stuff to do and the Scotties was on so I didn't pay too much attention anyways.

Saturday, same difficulties. The live streaming is obviously the problem. I could get a few minutes, then the video would pause, load new footage, play again for a few minutes, pause, repeat, repeat, re-frickin-repeat. Annoying as all hell. The afternoon game was a blow out, but the evening game was Ferbey/Koe so it would've been nice to watch. I could get second and third stones choppy as above, but missed most of the lead stones (*sigh*), and never did get to watch any skip stones. Grr. Argh.

A little bit of sunshine though, the Ferbey/Appelman semi was working perfectly for me on Sunday morning. No freezing, no jumping, and the video covered all shots from lead to skip. I thought things were looking up and I was reading to publicly apologize to CurlTv.com after 3 hours of a blissful semi.

But the Sunday final, don't even get me started on Sunday final. I paid my $10 for this subscription because I couldn't go to the final game. I wanted to see a (likely) Koe/Ferbey final. Even more so because the teams are probably splitting up after this season.

Right, so I've heard in the past that the Alberta Mens Final was shown on Shaw tv. I never watched this because I went to the final the past couple years.

I do not get Shaw tv where I am currently living.

That is why I bought a CurlTv.com subscription, figuring it was the only way I could watch the final. I knew I would have to miss the last half because I was curling myself, but they had to push the start time back an hour due to ice problems, which means I would be missing most of the game anyways.  I figured at least I could count on archived video in the games vault.

They are not taping the final.

NOOOOOOO!!!

Viewing rights, Shaw contract, whatever. I paid to see the final, I didn't get to see the final. No one warned me about this. I am pissed off.

There's a slight chance it'll show up in the game vault later this week, but that's not the point.

I'm kinda mad at CurlTv.com. I didn't know I would get these sort of difficulties. I didn't know I wouldn't be able to watch the final. Sure, I only paid $10, but what if I had gotten the years subscription for $60?

The problem is CurlTv.com's live streaming does not like my macbook. I could watch games vault games fine, just not the live streaming. There's a support page, but it's mostly for PCs. It's possible it's the wireless internet connection at my house, but that's never been a problem before. I've never had any troubles whatsoever with cbcsports.ca or tsn.ca videos, whether they be live or archived. My macbook is not that old, and I've got the latest operating system and the latest updates for all my software and plugins.

I can watch the archived games in the games vault with no problems (mostly). And I can also watch the free daily (ish) curling news (mostly). And the live semi on Sunday worked wonderfully - curiouser and curiouser.

So, would I pay in the future?

To watch a live event - no, absolutely not.

To get access to the games vault - maybe.

I like watching archived games. I like listening to the games while I potter on the internet or do homework or read or whatever. The curlers are good company; it's like really nice curling music. I could potentially see myself paying for a years subscription and just using it to watch the archives, and even could watch live events the next day.

But, I can do this for free on cbcsports.ca or tsn.ca. Yes, CurlTv.com covers different games/events. And yes, it does super-annoy me when CBC or TSN pull the games off the video archive without warning after a specific amount of time (what that is I don't know, it seems to be 6-8 months usually, but not always). But $60 is $60.

Maybe all the teams will split up and curling will suck next year and I'll give it up for some other obsession.

Likely not.

I do still love the free curling news on CurlTv.com so I've forgiven them for any annoyances (and I *might* just drop this whole thing and not send them a nasty grumpy-old-woman email). I should probably also apologize for slamming CurlTv.com all weekend on twitter. Forgive me, I was frustrated - your live streaming wouldn't work and I just wanted to watch the Ferbey/Koe final (read my archives, team Koe is my favourite and they're splitting up soon).

Can we still be friends? No hard feelings, eh?

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