By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, what did you think about the Amazon stream during the Eagles-Vikings game? My picture was sensational! It did buffer a few times but not often. And I loved the coverage. Your take? — Carl, Evanston, Illinois.
Carl, Amazon last night streamed its first Thursday Night Football game of the 2023 season with the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 34-28, from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. I thought the 1080p HDR picture, which Amazon upgraded to this season, was top-notch. (Some people on X complained HDR wasn’t available on their devices. I watched on a Roku Ultra.) Vivid colors. Sharp detail. I wouldn’t say it was better than YouTube’s 1080p HDR Sunday Ticket display or Apple’s 1080p HDR broadcast of Major League Baseball but it was certainly equal.

I also didn’t experience any serious technical issues during the game, albeit I only watched the first half. (The TV Answer Man has to rise early to post all these stories, you know.) But that opinion was not shared by all on social media with many fans saying they suffered frequent buffering and picture freezing. Here’s a sample of comments posted last night on X, formerly known as Twitter:

“@Amazon prime broadcast sucks. Constantly buffering and pausing. Never had this issue with Prime before.” — T. Mathis.
“@Amazon Get your crap together! This buffering and poor picture quality is not acceptable for @NFL football games! It’s like watching football in 1985 with a rabbit ear antenna!” — Brett LaRue.
“Pixelated and buffering constantly. This stream really is hot garbage.” — Mr. Dr. T.
We are having issues again with our Amazon prime just like last year. It keeps buffering. Frustrating.”– Barbara Marinelli.
“On top of the picture quality issues and freezing, fast forwarding and rewinding is horrible! Using a firestick even!” — Hans Kernkamp.

And there were many more comments just like that, more evidence that streaming is still far from being a perfect delivery system for television. Although it appears that most people were quite happy with the picture, many others had a different experience for reasons such as sub-par home Internet service, location obstacles, device issues and perhaps Amazon technical failings. We’ve learned over the years that just because most people are seeing a great stream, that doesn’t mean everyone is.

(It’s notable that YouTube last Sunday hosted its first NFL Sunday Ticket and, judging from the social media comments, relatively few users complained of streaming glitches. This is more evidence that Google brought its ‘A game’ last Sunday. Of course, we’ll see if the company can repeat that every Sunday.)

Carl, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann