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.)
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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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I have 1gig speed in my home.
The Amazon stream of the Thursday night football was atrocious. Buffering, fade outs. Unwatchable. Seriously? They need to fix this. Asap.
Sounds like it’s a step in the wrong direction. Luckily, my team plays on a Thursday later in the season and I hope all the problems are fixed by then. I really hate streaming media for all the reasons exactly like the problems last night. With traditional media cable/satellite you’re paying for a service that includes delivery to your TV. With streaming — you are the technician, the IT guy, leaving you to figure what went wrong (which is often, to hit or miss). I don’t need those hassles, so I’m willing to pay for “cable” TV — which is more like a utility — if there’s a problem — they fix it.
Watched game on Smart TV that is hard wired to router. Picture was amazing, almost 4k quality because not compressed signal like on cable. No pixelation, no jutter, no freezing. Friend streaming via Roku stick on wifi said pic was like 1996 Internet porn. I switched to my Fire Stick and while not as bad as he was seeing, picture quality was like watching an stretched standard definition picture.
Great video on a Kindle Fire device.
Watched on Roku TV, no problems just like any other game on Directv , just not 4K perfect reception
It was nice to see the not-overly-compressed 1080p video from my hard-wired AppleTV. For me, one minor glitch in the second half, but stream recovered quickly. If Amazon keeps the bit rate high, I’m in. Also, it is no problem for me to use my remote’s “back” button to catch up on the baseball game on the cable box during commercials! (I plan on keeping both for awhile).
I compared picture quality on fox kttv channel 11 in los angeles to prime video and i was blown away by amazon primes perfect picture! and i only have 50/50 internet i have frontier fios ,but watching on my local fox was horrendes they ought to ashamed their broadcast look blurry and not clear at all they and ABC and ESPN need to join the modern world and get rid of their 720p broadcast and switch to 1080p!
I agree with the above Celtic Fan…I have a 77 inch C1 Oled in the kitchen and a main viewing TV Oled C2 83 inch in the Family room.(one about 4 feet further view than the other from my chair) Spectrum delivers our cable (Used for Kitchen TV in the comparison) and I used a Roku to stream the Prime signal to the family room TV. Any fixes necessary on our end would be with the cable signal not the prime. As a 4K enthusiast I would say the Roku signal was definitely near 4K and the cable picture a duller softer picture… LA Chanel 11 in HD of course…
Modern age my ass! What will you watch when your internet goes down? Otherwise, I’m sure it’s great — if you’re an IT Technician.
The picture looked fine. No streaming issues. I missed the 1st quarter because in my channel flipping habit the game didn’t come up. I had to look up where the game was being “broadcast”. Fortunately I do have prime so watched 1/2 the 2nd quarter before the wife wanted to watch something else.
What stinks you can’t just channel flip but have to go in and out of Prime back to cable so I didn’t get to see much of the game till the end when the wife went to bed.
So the ratings looked like it was under 10 million compared to over 20 million last week on commercial TV. Great move by NFL to limit your viewership. Don’t be like MLB, NHL, and NBA and cut out the casual viewer. Out of sight out of mind.
I’m not sure why it didn’t just work like most Amazon content that lets you stream, and fast foward, pause and rewind at will. I received a notice that I would have to select the dvr feature if I wanted to do all those things, so I did. I was really frustrated when I could not view it on my older Vizio 32″ TV which normally works for all other Amazon content as it has the app on it. It game was just no available on that TV. My newer 75″ P series Vizio had the game available but even though it showed the DVR option selected, the game would only start from the beginning and not let me rewind or fast forward. I switched to Fire TV and I could then rewind, pause and fast forward, but if I turned off the game and came back, I had to start the game over again. All and all I thought the experience sucked.
Your experience validates my take on streaming (NFL and in general) — there are just too many things that can go wrong. Who are you going to call when you do have problems? I doubt Prime Video even has on-call tech support. Amazon gets their 12 bucks a month, regardless if you have tech problems or not. Great business model — “use it or lose it” and they get your payment.
2 other points:
Point 1: Amazon (and all Streamers for that matter) can tweak or throttle your service. For example, I have no doubt that they have the ability to cut service to certain urls when demand increases for a live event like NFL. Who’s service do you think will be first to be throttled? It won’t be wealthy customers who spend thousands on merchandise from Amazon. It will be marginalized clients who may have spotty payment history paying for Amazon Prime. So, they tweak your feed, you think “oh geez my picture is buffering, it must be my TV”. How do you know if you’re being throttled and how do you fix it? You don’t know and you can’t fix it. You have no one to call. That will be another 12 bucks for Mr. Bezos please.
Point 2: The content (movies and TV shows in this case) is not static. I don’t want the hassle of seeing what is leaving next month – I shouldn’t have to. The library should be fixed PERIOD. If you want to catch the end of that movie you forgot to finish – it should still be right where you left it. A month or 6 months from now. HBOMax customers now know (or soon will know) that their shows, may be unavailable. I’ve read articles calling it “decluttering” by HBOMax. Well, the “clutter” may well be – your shows. Your movies. They may even be the reason why you signed up to get HBOMax in the first place. You just never got around to watching them, and now they’re gone. Just ask the deluded people who bought (BOUGHT mind you, not rented) their favorite TV shows or movies from Google Play. They bought them thinking they owned them – but they didn’t own them and now are gone into the great .html ether. And I don’t want hear any whining about licensing agreements. If a streamer can’t afford to pay for their content then – IT’S NOT A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL.
Wow. New to streaming? All these things you are describing as potential problems just don’t happen. Cable tv is archaic and the very reason why more and more are leaving it.
Of course, the internet is “always” up (famous last words – it has already happened to some locations). Break out the old rabbit ears when it happens to you. Just hope there’s not a weather emergency, or a natural disaster and you can’t get the news you need to save your life.
It should be noted that the same company that provides your internet typically also provides your cable tv. So I guess I do not see your point. And btw… my internet provider is very stable.