Setanta Sports last week unveiled Setanta-i, their new broadband video player that replaces Setanta Broadband. And it’s a dramatic improvement.
In the past 12 months, I’ve spent more time watching live football matches on my laptop than I have on my TV set. Partly because I need to be more mobile around my home when I’m watching or playing with my four children. But it’s also because it’s a nice luxury to be able to pick up my laptop and walk into any room in the house or even outside to watch the game as long as I’m within distance of my wireless network.
Having used Setanta Broadband for the past 12 months, I became accustomed to the service. For me, it was quite dependable but definitely had its disadvantages. But now that I’ve tested Setanta-i, my eyes have been opened to how much better the new service is compared to Setanta Broadband.
Here are some of the brilliant features that Setanta-i includes:
- Three video settings so you can watch games from Setanta in either a small window, large window or — best yet — full-screen. Pictured above is the large window, which takes up the entire browser window. The quality of the video at every setting, including full-screen, is superb (up to 1.8Mbps). This truly makes it feel like a TV experience.
- Setanta-i features a record button! This means you can go through the schedule and pick and choose which programs you want to record for future viewing. I did it today for the Arsenal against Liverpool game and was able to login after the game ended, clicked ‘My Channel’ and found the game ready to play at my leisure. This is a lifesaver and the feature seems to be simple to use.
- Setanta-i supports Microsoft Silverlight, so the video experience and navigation is smooth and loads quickly with very little to no buffering of video. The Setanta-i player is a slick design and very intuitive — much more user-friendly than Setanta Broadband.
- Other features include a low, medium and high video quality — which you can adjust depending on your bandwidth speeds. I used high video quality and encountered no issues.
- The matches include a rating option so you and the user community can rate each game. While watching the Liverpool against Arsenal game, I noticed it was rated 3/5 stars — which led me to think that the game was going to be a draw. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a draw, but a 4-4 draw I was not expecting. I rated the game 5/5. Definitely a very helpful feature for future watching so you don’t waste your time on boring matches.
- Setanta-i also features an easy-to-use calendar and On Demand section that allows you to browse through future and past programming.
In order to use Setanta-i, you have to subscribe and download the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in as well as a proprietary program called Autobahn from Swarmcast, the company that is responsible for bringing you the Setanta-i platform. Both programs install very easily and quickly, so there’s no worries there.
I will say that I did encounter quite a few issues with trying to log on today to watch the Liverpool v Arsenal game live. I’m putting those down to growing pains at Setanta as they work on tweaking their system (it only just launched a few days ago). Hopefully the login issues will be resolved soon so we can get the most out of the Setanta-i experience.
Setanta-i really provides a glimpse into the future. If you’re not watching most of your football on a computer, legally, you will be soon. With the fantastic video experience that Setanta-i provides, I can easily picture myself watching most of my football from my laptop for the foreseeable future.
Setanta-i is available for $14.95 per month. Subscribe today to get your fix of Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup, World Cup 2010 qualifiers and International Friendlies.