Tag Archives | Sports

WatchESPN on Your iPhone (but ReadFINEPRINT)

The future is upon us. As the content owners and cable/satellite providers maintain relevance by extending their offerings beyond the traditional television. And the most promising new service is WatchESPN. Not only does it enable streaming around the home, as seen with Time Warner and Cablevision apps, but it allows you to get live ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3 broadcasts on the go. Assuming you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and subscribe to television services from providers ESPN has deals with (currently: Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV, Brighthouse).

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More Video Goodness Headed to iPad (NCAA, BBC)

March Madness App

As I’ve proclaimed several times these last few months, smaller media consumption devices are poised to become our kitchen or den “televisions.” Of course, the tablet with the richest third party ecosystem is Apple’s iPad. And I don’t see that changing any time soon, despite possibly stifling some development via their recent subscription commission policy change. Comcast recently launched 3,000 hours of on demand iPad video content and announced their intentions to broadcast live video to tablets. I’m hopeful my provider Verizon follows suit. But beyond the broad aggregation by the larger players, there’s a huge amount of specialized or niche content – currently active… and those coming down the pike.

For 2011, CBS is offering a March Madness On Demand iPad app for free. In fact, I’m willing to bet their online streaming NCAA baskbetball properties are amongst the most lucrative when it comes to advertising. So why not give the app away? It’s expected to launch March 10th with games getting underway on the 15th. Unfortunately, my poor Maryland Terrapins aren’t even on the bubbleat this point.

Next up, 2011 looks to be the year that the BBC brings their online content to an international audience. It’s expected to launch later this year and will run “a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than 10.” Unlike a Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, in its current form. is referred to as a “catch up” service and only streams recent episodes versus entire seasons. But I’m hopeful the UK powers that be realize we have a lot of catching up to do here in the US… and will consider providing a more comprehensive library.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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Last Gadget Standing Finalist #10: A Hybrid Watch for Runners

What do you get when you combining Nike’s “just do it” athleticism with the GPS expertise of TomTom?  You get a running watch–and our tenth and final Last Gadget Standing finalist.

The Nike+ SportWatch GPS powered by TomTom is a hybrid gadget that  combines both GPS technology and an accelerometer, located in the Nike+ shoe sensor. Runners can upload their data to the well-regarded Nikeplus.com website, where they can track their favorite routes, set goals, receive coaching, and challenge their friends.

Key features include the GPS tracking with the shoe sensor –great for runners off trail. The tap interface activates the backlight to mark laps during a run. And the watch has a USB connector molded into the watch strap, so you can plug it directly into a computer, no cable required.  At Last Gadget Standing we’ll find out if it tells time, too.

The SportWatch GPS should hit stores in April; the price hasn’t been announced yet.


UFC PPV Comes to Roku

Later today, Roku will make a UFC channel available to owners of their $99 box. While the highlight is obviously HD pay per view fights ($45ish?), freebie Octagon-related video content will also be available. Additionally, live event archives will be made available to PPV subscribers several days after the fact – which worked out well for my trial of Roku’s UFC service.

It’s my understanding that various press and bloggers were given advance access to the UFC113 event held on May 8th via Roku. However, given the coverage, it looks like I may be one of the few with an appreciation for combat (as a former wrestler and judoka). Quality was good. But probably not good enough. Granted, this was a beta encode of the live event and I do expect the picture quality to improve. As it has with Roku’s NBA Game Time. Also, the transport controls are limited. For this kind of action, we’re going to need a trick play function.

Fortunately, as I mentioned, live events are archived and available for a week after the fact. And given the late start time, I ended up saving the title fight (Machida vs Shogun) for Sunday. The video replay does come with full transport controls, although they aren’t as smooth as say a TiVo. Plus, I’d like to see some sort of per fight bookmarking to quickly hop around the undercard or skip to the main attraction.

All in all, Roku just keeps getting better. And while the UFC video quality (thus far) isn’t amazing, they provide a solid option to bypass cable or satellite options when unavailable. Plus, the Roku travels well. Bring your UFC fights on the road or to a friend’s home. Next up: UFC 114, May 29th.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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The Top (Pantless) Ads of Super Bowl 44

Fortunately, I don’t need to come up with the perfect “Ads of Super Bowl 44” lede as NewTeeVee pretty much nailed it: Beer solves lots of problems, women hold men back from their dreams and this year, pants are optional. But I can’t say there are any commercials we’ll remember beyond this week. My personal fave was the Kia ad (above) – fun, engaging, not crass, and it made me think about their product. (What does Go Daddy do again?) Speaking of crass, the most entertaining pantless commercial didn’t even make it on the air. And I’m bummed Denny’s Nannerpus nemesis has been replaced by chickens.

In what’s become an annual tradition, TiVo determined the top ads of Super Bowl 44 “using aggregated, anonymous, second-by-second audience measurement data about how 30,000 TiVo subscribers watched the game, and for the first time, determined not just the most viewed commercials, but instead the most engaging ads throughout the game.”

1. Doritos – “House Rules”
2. Snickers – “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”
3. Focus on the Family – “The Tebows Celebrate Life”
4. Doritos – “Underdog”
5. 2010 Intel Core Processors – “Jeoffrey the Robot Gets Hurt”
6. E*Trade Financial – “Baby Love Triangle”
7. Bud Light – “Observatory”
8. CareerBuilder – “Casual Fridays”
9. TruTV’s NFL Full Contact – “ Punxsutawney Polamalu”
10. Hyundai Sonata – “Brett Favre MVP, Still Playing at 50”

If you missed any of the commercials, or just want to catch them again, hit Hulu, CBS, or YouTube. What were your favorites?

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)


Roku Adds Baseball’s MLB.TV Service

Roku BaseballRoku,  the Internet video box that’s simple and fun to use, with a near-impulse price ($99.95), has a new source of content: Major League Baseball. The Roku folks have signed a deal with the MLB to put live broadcasts of all games on the player, starting with the rest of the reason. The games are available to folks who subscribe to the MLB.TV Premium service, which runs $19.95 a month or $109.95 for the year (or $34.95 for the remainder of the 2009 reason). The gamecasts join Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon on Demand video among Roku’s offerings.

The service includes DVR-like rewind, fast-forward, and pause features and HD when available, and you can watch a week’s worth of archived shows. It’s the latest evidence that the MLB is the most progressive organization in sports when it comes to tech savvy; early instances included its release of the wonderful At Bat app for the iPhone and deal to put MLB.TV in Boxee’s media-center software.

Why start showing ballgames well past the All-Star break? Roku’s Brian Jaquet told me that the new service is in beta, and that it “opens avenues” to put other sports on the Roku player.  Roku says that an update to the player’s software that enables MLB.TV should be ready for Roku owners starting tonight; it hasn’t shown up when I check for updates on the Roku box I’m using, but  I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I don’t need access to every game, but when your favorite team is 3,000 miles away, getting to watch any game you choose sounds mighty appealing.

MLB TV on Roku


MLB to Stream Live Games on iPhone

mlb-logo.jpgThe 3.0 software will bring an exciting new feature to those iPhone and iPod touch users who have forked $9.99 over for the MLB application: live games. The first games would be streamed Thursday at 2:20pm (Chicago Cubs-White Sox) and 8:15pm (Detroit Tigers-St. Louis Cardinals). While initially only two games a day would be streamed, MLB hopes to expand it to the entire slate.

It should be noted that live video would be limited to out-of-market games. That means for me here in Reading, PA, I wouldn’t be able to watch Phillies games (after last night’s 8-3 embarrassment against the Blue Jays, I don’t know if I care, heh). However, its a giant step forward for streaming video on the iPhone.

The service will work whether the user is on 3G or Wi-Fi: the MLB servers will adjust the speed accordingly to ensure proper playback. Its going to be interesting to see whether 3G streaming works well at all considering AT&T’s increasing network problems.


iPhone Gets Major League Baseball Audio. Be Afraid, Sirius XM. Be Very Afraid.

Babe RuthI’ve written a fair amount about the annoying post-merger state of Sirius XM satellite radio, as well as chatted about it with folks offline, and nearly every time I’ve expressed frustration, I’ve said something to the effect of “if it weren’t for baseball, I’d consider dumping XM and just plugging my iPhone into my car stereo so I can listen to streaming radio apps.” And I’m sure there are other folks who feel the same way.

Looks like that “if it weren’t for” will soon be inoperative. My friend Jason Snell of Macworld has blogged that the upcoming 2009 edition of the MLB At-Bat app for the iPhone will support Gameday Audio, allowing baseball nuts to tune in their hometown broadcasts (that would be the Red Sox for me) on the phone. As Jason writes, MLB At-Bat costs $5 and PC-based Gameday Audio costs $15 a season. But you gotta think that there’s no scenario in which Gameday Audio on the iPhone won’t cost far less than I’m shelling out for XM.

Is anything else that’s exclusive to XM so lovable that I’d keep the service to get it? I’ve grown sort of fond of the Siriusly Sinatra station, with its shows hosted by Nancy Sinatra and Jonathan Schwartz. But I think I can tune in Schwartz on an iPhone via his WNYC gig, and I suspect I can find enough standards music on the iPhone to keep myself entertained.

Oh yeah: I also have to figure out the best way to let my car stereo–which lacks an AUX port–tap into the iPhone. I have terrible luck with wireless FM transmitters, and have been using something called an FM Direct adapter that lets me connect my XM receiver directly to my car’s antenna. It works wonderfully well, but I don’t know if there’s anything comparable that’s iPhone-compatible. (if not, there should be!)

One way or another, though, I suspect there’s a good chance I’ll be an ex-XM subscriber come opening day.