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Is Justin.tv The Killer App For Soccer Fans?

justintv soccer Is Justin.tv The Killer App For Soccer Fans?

On Wednesday, there was only one TV network in the UK where you could watch the 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Croatia and that was Setanta Sports. Well, at least legally that is.

While only four million people in the UK had access to Setanta’s pay channels yesterday, the remaining England football supporters were on a mission yesterday to find ways to listen to or watch the live match. Their choices were (a) listening to the match commentary on BBC Radio Five Live, (b) skipping the match entirely and watching the highlights later on Freeview, or (c) scouring the internet in the hopes of finding some site that had the game.

While the last option would seem fruitless to many, those England supporters who visited one site Wednesday would have been pleasantly surprised. That site is Justin.tv, a video streaming site that features hundreds of computer users from around the world connected to webcams.

Living in the United States, my only two legal choices of watching the game live were (1) paying $25 to my local cable company to watch the match on pay-per-view, or (2) finding a pub locally that carried the Setanta pub channel and paying a cover charge of $20 to get in. So instead of paying the dosh, I decided to head to Justin.tv to see if the match was available online for free.

Not only was it online for free, but there were more than six separate streams to choose from. One of the users had connected his computer to a Middle East TV signal. While the quality of the TV signal was strong with little to no buffering, the commentary in Arabic was difficult to listen to after a while. No problem on Justin.tv. I simply clicked on the next stream until I found one that satisfied me.

The one that I did settle on was someone’s stream of Setanta Sports UK. The picture quality was better than my television and the audio levels were perfect as the commentary team of Jon Champion and Chris Waddle did well, although I half wished I was listening to the commentary from the international feed, which featured Martin Tyler and Robbie Earle.

I wasn’t alone in enjoying the England against Croatia feed. There were 30,819 other viewers on Justin.tv watching the same feed, and that was just one of the feeds that Justin.tv carried.

It’s not just the Croatia against England match that Justin.tv was featuring either. When I checked, there were more than 100 different streams showing soccer alone. With so many World Cup qualifying matches on TV, there were streams focused on all sorts of different games that afternoon.

Justin.tv features daily streams of soccer games from around the world. At this rate, the website will become the one-stop-shop for soccer fans seeking streams of matches that are unavailable on free-to-air TV stations or priced at ridiculous rates.

While the Premier League has been busy trying to remove video highlights from YouTube and cracking down on P2P providers, the league is quickly losing that battle. Justin.tv, meanwhile, will be a whole new battle as they try to protect the TV rights of companies who have paid large amounts of money to show games live.

Instead of trying to fight the unending and fruitless battle of preventing people from showing live games or highlights online, the Premier League needs to develop its own online product with state-of-the-art streaming quality at an affordable subscription rate. Instead of watching illegal streams that are poor quality, football fans – I believe – would flock to a site where they can watch matches legally with excellent picture quality and behind-the-scenes video content that they can only find from the Premier League. Again, the key is that this needs to be provided at an affordable price.

What do you think of the proposed idea, and what have been your experiences watching streams from Justin.tv? Share your feedback below by clicking the comments link.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

25 Responses to Is Justin.tv The Killer App For Soccer Fans?

  1. Robin says:

    Not only soccer fans can view EPL matches in Justin.tv's site but also able to embed the video player.

    I think that is brilliant although it would be limited to fast internet connection only.

  2. eplnfl says:

    The real danger to the sport of Justin.tv and similar sites is the quality of the comments being made by those joining in to view. To say that an uneducated opinion of whatever game is being streamed is being put out in the adjoining chat box is a under statement. This site and it's experts has always provided thoughtful commentary on the football action of the day. People who may flock to those sites to see the game are left with no other option and will be stuck with some pretty mindless chat. I would urge any one forced to turn to those games on Justin.tv to join the chat here or other sites that present insightful and knowledge based comment on the games of the day. Not just the “up yours” comment you see elsewhere.

    Hopefully, the football/soccer world as a whole and their media will learn something from NBC in the US who is now putting online for free many of their tv broadcasts. NBC is streaming online their NFL coverage and did a great job of presenting the Olympics online. It's the future!.

  3. Curty says:

    People won't pay for something that they can find for free. Sure the Premiership would stand to make some money by selling all their games online at a centralized site especially if they promote the site right. Most people however will take a less quality feed especially if it is free in comparison to a 10 or 20 dollar a month subscription price.

  4. BC says:

    I've thought for quite a while that the Premier League ought to do something similar to the NHL Center Ice package online. Make all the matches available to view online, both live and archived for later viewing, and include lots of highlights and behind the scenes material as well. As global as the EPL is, I'm surprised this hasn't come about yet. On of the hold ups might be the online TV packages that each club has on their respective websites. The EPL would have to compensate the clubs adequately if they start an online service because the subscriptions to the clubs' individual TV programs would surely decline substantially.

  5. ossie's dream says:

    There are parallels with the music industry. Web technology has dramatically changed the way people consume the product, whether it's an album or a football match. The suits in charge have been slow to keep up with the pace of change and have resorted to knee jerk reactions in an attempt to aggressively cling on to the old business models, which have been extremely lucrative for them.

    So, in the US, we see the RIAA suing college kids for illegally downloading music and Net Result in the UK preventing football fans from watching YouTube clips of goals.

    They're swimming against the tide, as sites like Justin.tv will continue to pop up and geeks the world over will figure out ways to break into the gated communities created by the football authorities and music bigwigs to protect their product.

    In music's case, we see independent labels (who are usually keen to try new things and push the envelope), experiment with new business models. For example, many bands have realized that the money doesn't come from album sales but from touring, merchandise and advertising. I wonder what the football equivalent of this is?

    As someone said above, as long as fans can watch a game online for free, they will. So subscriptions won't work. But I'd gladly sit through a few commercials to watch a quality stream online. How hard can it be?

  6. “People won't pay for something that they can find for free.”

    Yes and no.

    People will pay for convenience and a quality of service guarantee.

    For instance, I know I can go on the internet and download music from this place and that. But instead I go to Amazon and pay $9 for a CD's worth of music.

    * I don't have to worry about spyware in the plug-in I have to download, because I trust Amazon.

    * I don't have to keep changing services to whatever is available today, because Amazon is going to be around forever.

    * I know the music is going to be exactly what I ordered – no blank tracks, no poor quality

    * I know I'm not going to get any problem from the RIAA or anyone else, because what I'm doing is illegal.

    My experience with online streaming of soccer matches is terrible. I've never lasted more than 2 minutes because of (a) poor quality video, (b) foreign commentary, (c) never sure how long it's going to work for, (d) I'm tethered to my computer (e) it only works in “real time” and I need DVR-like convenience.

    So if the Prem offered me something that was great quality, reliable, legal and offered DVR-like convenience (plus highlights, please), I'd be first in line to pay for it.

  7. Simon Burke says:

    I have used justin.tv and its hit and miss – i didnt use it for England, i was streaming Shanghai Sports coverage through Sopcast. Justin has low quality compared to some streams and is akin to reading in a car, you eventually get sick from it. I use Justin to stream Soccer Saturday but my impression is games have been poor and you have to pop it out else you get the chatbox and as the game is slightly delayed people tell you the score before you see the goal. Based on your experience of them yesterday Gaffer I will try them again this weekend and see if its any better – I believe they stream at about 250K which isnt great though.

  8. lsmetana says:

    Great. Bring attention to it…now it's going to get shut down by lawsuits and we'll be up the creek again :)

  9. Ian Portsmouth says:

    I'm none too happy about EPL Talk's promotion of Justin.tv, which is going to draw additional users and, perhaps, the attention of TV networks (although I'm sure they already know about it).

    Still, I find it to be the perfect antidote for a dearth of football on Canadian television (the Cro-Eng game is on Setanta here, but not until Friday night). Better yet, it allows me to watch important matches in my office and in my backyard, using my laptop. Euro 2008 in the afternoon sun sure beat watching it in my basement — even if the Justin.tv picture quality was deficient.

  10. Charlie says:

    Between FSC, GolTV and Setanta on my DirecTV, I usually find what I'm looking for football wise from the comfort of my well-worn couch. I will go on the web for video streams on occasion though.

    How many Americans on this board actually paid the $25 fee for the US pay-per-view of last year's FA Cup Final with it's less-than-attractive match-up? Not me…

    Does anyone really think the FA gives a damn about making its product more accessible on a global stage through technology and doing so at a reasonable price? Not me…

    I'm sure the FA has been well aware of Justin.tv's existence by now, but I'm not worried about it. Even if Justin.tv, Sopcast or TVAnts were to get blown out of the water by a series of legal torpedoes, someone else will come along in short amount of time and take their place. That's the way things work on the Al Gore Intaraweb Thingy he (allegedly) invented. Napster as we knew it went under, bit torrents came along and picked up the slack.

  11. Ruam says:

    If you want a link to all free streaming sites, that are updated daily, go to this URL. It is updated every day, so you know, where to find the match, that you're looking for….

    http://www.fsicrew.info/streams/todays-links/

  12. Todd says:

    I pay for FSC and Setanta broadband…but sometimes I watch the match on justin.tv anyway because the match isnt on delay, or i prefer the english (sky/bbc) commentators. makes me wonder why i am paying…i guess i just feel like a complete POS if I just take it for free. but justin.tv is great for someone with a mac, like me, who cant do most of the P2P. and really, theres often a very minimal delay

  13. Once you get over how entirely unethical it is, Justin Tv does the trick very nicely. Only football is not meant to be watched on a grainy laptop with the musings of a thousand 14 year-old wannabe xenophobes commenting non-stop right beside the picture. I have a giant mac so full-screen ruins it.

  14. Dave says:

    I have used Justintv for a few years now…the streams are not of the highest quality all the time but it does just fine when there are no other ways to watch a game
    Plus you get to watch the panels from BBC and RTE when they show the games….which is worth the hassle of buffering or the idiots on the chatbox.
    Plus they will let the stream run longer sometimes and after the ireland game I got to watch the Apres Match skit and Top Gear :)
    For all you Celtic fans out there…there is a Scottish fella on justintv with a channel called TicTalk and he shows all the Celtic/scotland games…but he also commentates on them himself!! LOL and he doesn't hold back either…his slaggins are fierce!!

  15. Curty says:

    I have a techninque with Justin.tv where I downsize the page to where the viewing box is as small as possible that it fits in the corner of my computer monitor that allows me to surf the internet and when I when I want to switch to the game I can just mouse over and click the viewing box. This allows me not to have to watch the chat that is going on and allows me to just watch the game when I want to watch it. It really works out great1

  16. stop publicizing justintv says:

    or you can just hit the 'pop out' button and remove the chat entirely….

  17. alex says:

    Setanta allows you to watch games online for a subcription fee (8 pounds a month) which seems pretty reasonable. I have a friend (in the US) who watches a ton of games there. So clearly Setanta has figured out there's an international audience for their games and IS broadcasting online already.

  18. Stevie the K says:

    Agree with Phil above. Price a high quality offering fairly and you'll make money and give people what they want.

  19. psilas says:

    Thats right, I've had the Setanta streams for about 4 months and I'm very happy with it for my 8 quid.

    If you watch football you'll be even happier as I just use it for the boxing which at the moment, has some great fights lined up.

    I think the way forward has to be fairly priced pay per view streams though, as I only watch boxing so about 3-5 pounds per event seams fair if theres only 1 fight a month/match.

    I believe Eurosport UK also has a stream for only about 35 pounds per year which is great if you like Euro boxing/football or tennis!

  20. djspurs15 says:

    I used to have Sky Sports 1 and 3 for an extra few pounds on top of the normal sky package, but then they raised prices AND took sky sports 3 away leaving me with the same price. They're ar$£holes for doing that. I had no choice but to just let number 1 go too. I think of watching games on p2p as REVENGE. Sweet revenge.

    What Setanta and Sky Sports do is highly unfair. Prices are high and you only get one match per week on Setanta. They should lower prices and offer the whole premier league fixture list each week if they want to stop justin.tv and others from denting their precious profits which they get millions of anyway!

  21. Lisa says:

    we can buy many of these tv shows online

  22. veryeee says:

    I lke sports, want to buy more show for this site online.

  23. rick says:

    Yes justin.tv is great I would recommend the site http://www.justin.tv/luchoquirozzzz is where I watch all my games..

  24. JUSTIN says:

    jUSTIN TV ARE CRAP,WHEN YOU WANT TO WATCH A GAME HOURS BEFORE YOU CAN SEE THE PREVIEUW LIST,WHEN THE MATCH STARTS 70% OF THE CHANNELS GOING DOWN,THE QUALITY ARE BAD AND SOMTIMES THEY REMOVED THE CHANNEL.
    tHE BEST P2P TV ARE TVU,SPOCAST AND OTHERS,USE JUSTIN TV ONLY WHEN YOU CANT FIND A BETHER STREAM .
    jUSTIN TV WAS MADE FOR KILLING THE P2P SOCCER WORLDWIDE AND YOU
    WORKING HARD TO HELP THIS FU.C.K.I.N. PEOPLE WHO MAKE THIS SOFTWARE!

  25. Carl says:

    Check out TVU aswell, it’s almost perfect and you get FSC and Gol TV perfect stream.

    Sopcast is great for free football too and I sometimes get games in HD there too now.

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