The TV Answer Man!

Amazon’s NFL Stream: People Either Love It Or Hate It

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Amazon’s live stream of NFL games on Thursday night is getting mixed reviews from its own customers with many saying they either love it or hate it.

The ecommerce giant last June paid the NFL $50 million to stream 10 Thursday night games this season, starting with the week four game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. The games are available for free to the company’s Prime members.

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While most journalists have deemed the online presentation a success, Amazon’s Prime customers are far from certain. As of this morning, the NFL live stream has received a rating of just 2.5 stars out of a possible five, based on reviews posted by 1,002 people.

What’s most interesting is that 88 percent of the reviewers have either given the NFL live stream a rating of five stars (the best) or one star (the worst), suggesting a wide gap in how people are responding to the broadcast. (Fifty-five percent of posts rated the stream one star while 33 percent rated it five star.)

The majority of complaints centered on technical errors with the stream, or the inability to watch it on certain devices at different times.

“Four minutes left in the fourth quarter and the video skips to “the furthest watched point,’ which is two minutes left,” complained “Kindle Customer.”

“Disappointing. Unable to watch any of the game. Keep getting “unknown error,’ ” wrote “KP,” a “verified purchaser.”

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“Program will not show up on my Amazon video app on my Roku. I have tried looking for it, searching for it, and even adding it to my watch list on a different device and going back to the Roku to find no listing for it. If Amazon can’t be bothered to support ALL devices that its app runs on then they shouldn’t have been given exclusive rights cause going into my Playstation Vue app on the NFL channel it says the game is blacked out. Since I’m not going to watch it on my phone it essentially means I have been blocked from something that I should have access to,” added “David Brown,” whose comment was labeled as “helpful” by 135 other customers, a suggestion that his issue was shared by others.

But other customers write that the live stream is the best they’ve seen and they would like to see Amazon offer more sports online.

“Very interesting. I enjoy this from prime very much. I really would fall in love with it if prime expanded to all games which would be wonderful. All and all works great as long as you have FiOS,” John Chan, a “verified purchaser,” wrote last night during the Raiders-Chiefs game.

“What a game!!! Streaming was smooth. Will watch another Thursday NFL,” added “Reyb.”

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“This streamed at high quality on my GE tablet. My sons were thrilled to be able to watch tonight’s game, especially since we currently don’t receive any channels on our television (we use Netflix and Prime). It connected quickly and we didn’t have any buffering issues. This is a nice little additional perk to Prime.” stated “Tiffany L. Romero.”

The varied opinions from Amazon’s Prime members is not uncommon in the live streaming category. People who watch live video online often have strongly different reactions based on everything from faulty home Internet connections to server glitches to the streaming company’s inability to handle an unexpected or sudden increase in users.

Basically, the live streaming industry has a long way to go before it can match the relatively reliable delivery systems offered by cable and satellite operators.

For some people, however, that’s okay, particularly if the stream is “free,” as it is here for Prime members.

But others say Amazon, and other live streamers, should offer a perfect product before advertising it as such.

“Have full signal and won’t stream..keeps saying the video is ” unavailable”. I know it’s probably over swamped..but get these bugs fixed before advertising it!” wrote “Amazon customer.”

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— Phillip Swann