TV Answer Man, I watched the Chiefs and Chargers on Amazon tonight (Thursday night) and I thought the picture was really sharp. I had some pixelation a few times but for the most part, it was very smooth. What did you think? — Eric, Seattle.
Eric, Amazon last night streamed its first exclusive Thursday Night Football game (Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs) and it appears that it was a hit with most viewers. The picture was bright with vivid colors, leaving some to wonder if it was in 4K. (It wasn’t. It was 1080p HD.) There were also no widespread reports of technical meltdowns that have become so common with high-profile live streaming broadcasts.
That said, some people expressed frustration on social media of constant buffering, error codes, muted and/or out-of-sync audio, and dim colors. There were also complaints that they couldn’t access Twitch, the Amazon-owned gaming service that was streaming the game for free. (I was one of those complainers.)
Some people also had difficulty using Amazon’s DVR controls, saying they couldn’t rewind back to the beginning or watch the replay after the game was over. (Amazon incorporated traditional DVR features into the stream, although it warned that they might not work on certain devices.)
And finally, there were the usual laments about the stream being delayed behind the real time action, perhaps as much as 15-30 seconds at times. This caused some consternation for social media users who were told of a play outcome before they could see it on screen.
However, while the negative reviews were in the minority, the nature of live streaming is that it’s difficult to please everyone. Live streaming can look different depending upon everything from which devices you use to where you live to what Internet service you employ, and about 10 other factors. That’s why one person might tell you that Amazon was terrible last night while another might say Amazon was terrific.
Cable and satellite, of course, also have some variance in their picture quality based on a number of reasons. But the differences are relatively small, particularly compared to live streaming.
As the professional leagues award more broadcast rights to streaming companies, viewers need to be aware that the quality and reliability of the presentation is far from guaranteed.
Eric, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann