Wish List: What's Missing

Many soccer fans had a chance this past weekend to test the relaunched broadband service for the first time. While the service is much better than before and features so much more programming, it’s still missing some simple features that would make it easier to use and a more pleasurable experience.

Before I share my wish list of recommended features that should be added, I do want to note that it’s only fair to say that relaunched last week, so it’s going to take time to work out some of the kinks. The same happened with which had a shaky start in the beginning but soon overcame a lot of its issues to become a reliable platform.

Here are the top 6 wish list items to make a better platform:

  1. Start streams a few minutes early. This past Saturday when I sat down to watch Nottingham Forest against Swansea City on, which was supposed to kick off at 10am ET, I was frantically hitting refresh and clicking buttons to try to figure out why the stream wasn’t live. Finally at nine minutes after 10, the stream became available and I clicked the ‘Watch’ button to begin the broadcast. While this particular feed was late, and I’m sure that future feeds will begin on time, I would highly recommend that start the streams a few minutes early so that soccer fans can be ready to watch the kick off. Even if the stream shows a promo or an ad before the 10am kick off, I don’t think soccer fans will mind. They just need to know that they’re connected and that the game will begin momentarily.
  2. Create a better home screen. After logging in to, the user interface is far from intuitive. Even after you log in, you still see the preview video that everyone sees whether they’ve logged in or not. After a subscriber logs in, there should be a different homepage experience.
  3. Create a single dashboard featuring all live and upcoming games. Right now, when you click on the Schedule link after logging in, the default setting is rugby, which only appeals to the minority of subscribers. To make matters worse, if you want to see which soccer games are live or are upcoming, you have to click on each league or cup logo one by one. The solution is a dashboard that lists all live soccer games currently being shown as well as a different listing that shows all upcoming soccer games. And a separate listing for live and upcoming rugby games, too.
  4. Improve the streaming quality. I have a download speed of 19.76 Mb/s and a download speed of 1.98 Mb/s. Even with that, I experienced quite a few issues with the streaming. During the Portsmouth against Birmingham match, it took a couple of tries before the stream started. I got a black screen the first time, but the second try worked like a charm and the rest of the live stream was perfect. However, for the Nottingham Forest versus Swansea City game, it took me four to five tries before I could get it working. Either the screen would be black and I could hear the audio commentary. Or the video kept on buffering. And on another try, the video was pixelated and I couldn’t see anything. But just like the Portsmouth FA Cup game, my persistence paid off when I finally got a stream that worked through and the rest of the broadcast was flawless.
  5. Work out the bugs. I’ve had a ton of experience with testing websites for Fortune 500 companies and it’s never an easy job making sure that everything will work for all users no matter what browser or operating system they’re using. However, while it’s hard to maintain 100% perfection for everyone, it seems that is more buggy than  For example, every time when I select the “High” setting to watch games in the highest quality on, the Ray.v plug-in loads but instantly crashes my version of Firefox. I’ve tried it over and over again at least a half dozen times and it keeps on crashing with every attempt.
  6. Keep last minute changes to a minimum. Many soccer fans were upset on Saturday to learn that had issues showing the Fulham against Tottenham FA Cup match. There was plenty of confusion among subscribers. And it seems there was plenty of confusion too among (see screen grab below of the chat feature from Saturday, which claimed that “Due to a technical issue, Aston Villa v Sunderland & Fulham v Tottenham will not be available.” However, Aston Villa wasn’t scheduled to play Sunderland. Villa played Reading).

While the quality of thus far leaves much to be desired, the quantity of games it’ll show looks very enticing especially this weekend when is scheduled to show four live games at the same time at 10am ET (Chelsea v West Ham, Bolton v Wigan, Stoke v Aston Villa and Burnley v Wolves).

In addition to the six recommended enhancements to, there’s probably a list of six more wish list items such as featuring live Premier League games on that are shown on Fox Soccer Channel, as well as adding coverage from more leagues such as Lique Un.

What do you think? What wish list items would you like to see Fox Soccer Channel consider in terms of Share them in the comments section below.

45 thoughts on “ Wish List: What's Missing”

  1. Gaffer,
    I had too had a mixed experience over the weekend. On the one hand lots of sport, but on the other and streaming issues, timing issues, disappearing games plus the notorious midnight delay.
    My wishlist:
    1/ Get more bandwidth (or upgrade the servers) so that all streams work; for a couple of games I had to go to the lower speed streams to see the football/rugby as the higher stream was unwatchable. Like the Gaffer I have a 20mb download rate so the bottleneck wasn’t on my end
    2/ Offer the top speed on archived games as well as live (there are three options for live matches but only two for archived)
    3/ Sort out the rights and show us all the EPL matches either live or with a reasonable time delay (and please either give ESPN the rights to their games or show them on
    4/ Start streams on time – some of the rugby games in the achive start 9 or 10 minutes into the game
    5/ Better communication. We are customers and we are paying for the service so please let us know what is going on and when. Right now I have to go into every tab to see what might be showing over the next day or two – a central listing is necessary

  2. …the default setting is rugby, which only appeals to the minority of subscribers.”

    Ha! Shows you who is really important! 😉

    All good points. Hope they get the message.

  3. “Here are the top 7 wish list items…”

    Where is the 7th? :^P

    The dashboard is probably the most annoying aspect of accessing content. It always goes to “Upcoming” when you switch the League you are looking for programming in. It should stay either on the Replay or Upcoming tabs based on where it was previously, before you click a different league.

    Probably could have two displays for a dashboard. I think the current one is sufficient with a couple minor changes. The other could be a complete listing of available programming. An option could exist for the user to choose how to view available programming.

    The most important deal is not misleading what the programming will be. That is the biggest concern, I think.

    I’d like Super 14 coverage to become available, though I’m not aware of when Fox will be able to purchase the online rights as another provider has the online rights now.

    I’m not oozing with glee with how my first day’s experience with the service was, however, with some improvements, this can be really good.

  4. Hi Gaffer,

    Thx’s for keeping us posted on this.Could you clarify how the delayed viewing options work with FSC TV.The impression I’m getting from reading the blogs etc.. is that any game shown FSC is not available until 12 Midnight the day of the game , however a game on FSC plus is available within 2-3 hours of the game.Working away in the week , this is a key bit of info for the mid week games where watching live is not an option.Can watch FSC games via my slingbox/DVR ,but dont have FSC plus on home cable (as I’m a time warner customer !!).The guy from FSC TV on the podcast sounded like he had an attorney sat right next to him.I do wonder why what is available and when is apparently so secretive /complex ,that we have to have non committal answers to just about every question.If this guy is in marketing , you would have thought
    he could have addressed some of these in a slightly better way….

    Also compared to iSentanta ,could you give a feel as to how close FSC TV is to that picture quality.I thought that iSentanta was pretty damn good after the silverlight option.

    1. Bournemouth, it’s a good question because I was confused too. But if any live EPL game is shown on Fox Soccer Channel on television, it’ll be available at midnight that day on

      If the live EPL game is shown on Fox Soccer Plus, it’ll be available live on and will be shown on delay approximately 90-120 minutes after the game has ended.

      As for the quality of the stream, one of the readers here will need to respond to that. Reason being is that the Ray.v plugin for high quality streams doesn’t work on my Mac using Firefox. But the medium setting, which doesn’t require the plugin, looks pretty good!

      The Gaffer

      1. I checked out the Rayv stream of Reading v. Aston Villa on my Win7 laptop on Sunday. It wasn’t quite HD, and it did stutter a couple of times (though not nearly as much as Reading’s 2nd-half defense), but it was widescreen and looked good.

  5. My biggest wish list is an improvement in quality. For those of us who had Setanta-i it’s a big step down. Given that Fox is a major network it’s mindboggling that their streaming content is so poor. I also agree with all of the other items the Gaffer listed.

  6. Gaffer: Thanks for laying out the issues. Hopefully people in power at are reading. I was bitterly disappointed about the disappearance of the Fulham match. I understand that rights can be tricky, but don’t lie to the customer by claiming technical difficulties.

    I had a poor experience with their chat rep, and they urged me to send an email. I sent a polite email voicing my concerns and have yet to hear back. As I am a die hard fan/supporter I certainly won’t give up on yet, but my first weekend with them was not pleasant. I’d imagine the vast majority of people willing to pay to watch online are equally or more fanatic than I, so you’d think they would be a bit more honest with the issues.

    We all appreciate the extra avenues to watch based out what we had to do in the past to see games. I got used to driving 30 minutes to pay a $20 entry fee to a pub at 7 in the morning to watch matches, so it isn’t like I will fly off the handle if they just admit to me that there was a rights screw up with certain FA Cup matches this weekend. To hide behind technical issues was appalling.

    1. Well, I’d think it best to leave hyperbole behind. I wouldn’t say the mix up was “appalling”. It was unwelcomed, unprofessional (if they did hide behind technical excuses), but certainly not appalling. Appalling would be making everyone subscribe at $45 a pop and not a single match not being available the first week.

      However, if someone paid for a day pass, they should get their money back.

      1. That is fair, appalling is too dramatic. It was really frustrating for me though as that was the only match I cared about this weekend (as Liverpool are on ESPN2 today). The funny thing is that I was able to find a stream that worked very well via one of those “dirty” sites.

  7. The UI is a fascinating blend of absolutely gorgeous font choices, backgrounds, clear, crisp contrasts,etc. mixed with just horrendous navigation experience. Gaffer got it spot on:

    once I have subscribed & logged in, I should no longer be shown pricing options!

    There should be multiple ways to find content, including some grid based way of at least seeing what’s available *live* across all sports and competitions. Copy ESPN3 or copy setanta as a start, but seeing rugby/upcoming every time is a really poor user experience for someone who only watches soccer and where the name of the website is foxsoccer.

    Gaffer, 90-120 mins after the final whistle would be a surprising result for “as soon as possible after the final whistle”. It sounds like they have to do some post-processing, but I would have thought they could post-process the first half during the second half and get it up within minutes!

    On a positive note, vs. that original “Dark Days Ahead” epltalk post, we are clearly getting more soccer earlier, will now typically get ALL 10 GAMES every weekend through ESPN, FSC, & FS+/ This is an excellent outcome. I will no longer have to wait til 5 pm to watch delayed on-line (may still have to wait til 5 pm to watch on FSC).

    I would also imagine Fox will improve the site/offering; this all felt a bit rushed.

    From a price perspective, I will pay $15/month for over paying $15/mo for FS+ SD. When/if my cable provider offers FS+ HD, I will probably make the switch and cancel, just because the user experience of HD is so much better. Hence I would probably watch tape-delayed in HD over live on low-def. I still would love Fox to offer a coupon so that if you subscribe to FS+ through your television provider, you can get for <$15. I think that would maximize revenues for Fox as I might pay another $5/month to have both, but won't pay $30/month for both when I can see all games using one or the other.

  8. Gaffer,

    You laid out most of the issues. Thankfully the stream wasn’t choppy like it was in the England game but I had to deal with pixel and buffering issues instead.

    The Preview match, apart from it featuring Chelsea, is annoying and pointless.

    The default rugby tab – for god sakes.

    The league tabs are a pain to navigate, especially for a neutral. Having a schedule would’ve been nice.

    Also, it would be awesome if Fox could hijack a half-time analysis show from Sky or presumably Setanta (aren’t they still in business in Ireland/Canada.)
    I’m not interested in seeing the ground staff tending the pitch or someone winning raffle tickets during halftime.

    1. I remember the good ole days of wild feeds where you could not only watch a game live without commercials, but without commentary too. I actually like not having the commentary at the half. I watched the game, I know what happened. I may be in the minority there, though.

    2. “The default rugby tab – for god sakes.”

      Now, now, brn442. :-)

      Actually, I have to agree. That is just nuts….and shows that adjustments are to come.

      1. ha ha Overball, it’s beyond nuts – it’s silly – it’s called fox SOCCER tv but the default tab is rubgy? We’ve gone ages beyond the “cheerleading competitions” 20 odd years ago but you have to scratch your head and ask:

        Would it have hurt to have someone with an ounce of common sense design the website’s interface?

        Is it near impossible to have three people with a pulse and a love “of soccer” give their “two cents”?

        Its not like setanta-i went out of business overnight, they had months to sort this out.

        1. brn442, you crack me up. You expect “common sense” out of media moguls?

          From Special 1 TV…….”Get me the tank!” 😀

    1. Just took a peak at the schedule. Nice catch… though unfortunate. One less reason to get the channel on Dish Network. Better off with On Demand via the Internet. Honestly, is there any reason to get FS+ over

      1. I can see 2 advantages to FS+: (1) when they have HD, and (2) if you have a good DVR, like Tivo, you could pause live matches on FS+, or start watching from the beginning after kickoff but before gets around to putting them up on-demand.

        Advantages to your choice of live games at 10 am EST, ability to watch 2 (or more) matches simultaneously in multiple browser windows (screen space and bandwidth permitting), if you’re away from home (e.g. in the office or at a friend’s house), or if you’re the type that forgets to set your DVR.

  9. Biggest complaint:not being able to “record” on the US west coast,the 7am (or the dreaded 4:30am) kickoff generally aren’t going to happen…with setantai,I could just record the game and watch it when I chose to wake up.

    1. There was no “record”. You were just watching games ‘on demand’, just as you can do with

      1. Ummm, don’t want to get into an argument, but under the “My Channel” option you could “record” matches. I never really did it, so don’t know what the difference was between that and VOD.

        1. David the Yank is right. There really was no difference. You can hit record, which I did for all games I wanted to watch but they would be available On Demand anyway and at the same exact time. Sometimes On demand was updated sooner than “My Channel”

          So really there was no point of even recording any games. It didn’t work like a DVR. For example, you couldn’t record a game and start watching it in the middle of the game.

          1. youre right,with setanta-i you couldnt start watching mid game.but i could watch it very soon after the final whistle….so if a game has a early kickoff,i can watch it whatever time i see fit to awake….with fox i have to wait until 9pm pst. and try to avoid all friends,coworkers,teammates,websites,text messages,phone calls & so on & so on……

  10. This is all very disappointing to hear and now I’m glad I didn’t waste my money and purchase this service over the weekend. I think I might just buy per game now and wait for Comcast to add FS+. Which I’m being told will be added before the end of the month.

  11. I watched the Manchester United match on demand. Audio was 10 seconds ahead of the video the whole match, which was extremely annoying. I finally had to turn down the volume because it was driving me nuts.

    Personally I think they are doing a decent job considering they were basically tossed this group of games from another company going out of business. I am sure the people at Fox are not trying to keep their product away from their customers, they are just trying to do what they can to get it out there and then can tweak it from there. They weren’t really given much time to work on it. Maybe a few months tops.

    By the time next season rolls around I have a feeling we are going to be very happy as soccer fans here in the US. We will most likely be able to watch ALL EPL matches live, on-demand, and a bunch in HD. Pretty crazy if you think about it.

    Personally I like watching the matches on-demand/DVR because I have a hard time getting up so early for the matches. So I really like that we have online services like (and setanta-i previously).

  12. One thing that has not been mentioned..shows. Fox football Fone is tops on the list of shows I would like to see posted on the website. Also a one week archive of the Fox Soccer Report as well.

  13. I would like to see then do mulit-feeds like Sentana did for example I would like to watch Sky Sports once in a while all day.
    Plus a stream of the actual channel would be nice I don’t ever see time warner having the space to add the channel. if I am paying $15 a month i would rather watch it on the computer at least then i can take it where ever i go and i can watch at my desk

  14. My initial experience was soured a bit when I paid $5 to see Fulham, only to learn later in the morning that it wouldn’t air. Kinda hard to get a good first impression that way. I mean, I love Notre Dame with a passion but I wouldn’t spend $5 to watch them online. That shows you how much I love Fulham.

    I did watch some rugby, but only the Friday games I missed, which of course was recorded. Some beffuing, not too bad. I can’t really comment on the live streams though.

    I’m a huge fan of & CBS College Sports online. Both are superior (and for the most part, free) to what offers. Since it will be a rare event that I’ll even need, it shouldn’t effect me much. Just wish I were left with a better first impression this past weekend.

  15. It seems to be evolving, fairly quickly; we should all give it a little time, I think. Today (Tuesday) the schedule offers 2 live EPL games on Tues, 1 live EPL game on Wed, 4 live EPL games on Sat, 1 live EPL game on Sun, 1 live live ECL game on Tuesday and 1 live ECL game on Wed. That’s without opening the Serie A tab. As someone who remembers the days when a 1 hour a week highlights show was a major breakthrough, that’s not too shabby.

  16. I know this has probably been covered somewhere but does anyone know if the World Cup games not airing on ABC will be available live on ESPN360? I thought this was a given but after finding out they are not streaming EPL games I wanted to be sure.

    Also, I thought I had read one of the US Spanish TV networks will be streaming games online. Could someone confirm this?

  17. I’m not sure if anyone has any suggestions on this, but if you use (I signed up this week) and then plug your computer into a tv – the refresh rate fps on the tv is out of sync with what the laptop is doing, and this increases the jerky appearance. Just wondered if there was any technology out there, and maybe this is something fox should look into, to stream stuff in a way that has a tv connection in mind?

    Do most users hook into the tv with an hdmi? In fact – is there a better way of doing it than with an HDMI? Are some TVs better than others for this? Just wondering if anyone is in the know. It seems this is one major argument in favour of the Roku, or of getting FS+ over As a TWC customer I am stuck with for now, and at least it’s better than nothing.

    1. Joe–were you watching live stream or on demand? Let me know and I’ll try on mine. I connect with a VGA cord (don’t have HDMI out on laptop). I’m in the same boat–stuck with TWC. Might have to switch back to DSL for World Cup since I don’t have cable or satellite tv but would miss the speed.

  18. Gaffer,
    After this morning’s debacle with the Man U vs Liverpool match maybe it’s time for you to try and get someone from to respond to your wish list. They need to be aware fo the frustration we subscribers are experiencing and that unless they fix the problems bad publicity will lose them subscribers.

  19. has anyone else been experiencing difficulties this weekend?
    mother[bleep]ers are running a pretty awful site by anyone’s standards. i haven’t had uninterrupted streaming for any appreciable length for all of this week. my connection is good enough for other streams, why not the one i fricking pay for?

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