Many soccer fans had a chance this past weekend to test the relaunched FoxSoccer.tv 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 FoxSoccer.tv relaunched last week, so it’s going to take time to work out some of the kinks. The same happened with Setanta-i.com 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 FoxSoccer.tv a better platform:
- Start streams a few minutes early. This past Saturday when I sat down to watch Nottingham Forest against Swansea City on FoxSoccer.tv, 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 FoxSoccer.tv 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.
- Create a better home screen. After logging in to FoxSoccer.tv, 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.
- 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 FoxSoccer.tv 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.
- 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 FoxSoccer.tv and the rest of the broadcast was flawless.
- 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 FoxSoccer.tv is more buggy than ESPN360.com For example, every time when I select the “High” setting to watch games in the highest quality on FoxSoccer.tv, 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.
- Keep last minute changes to a minimum. Many soccer fans were upset on Saturday to learn that FoxSoccer.tv had issues showing the Fulham against Tottenham FA Cup match. There was plenty of confusion among FoxSoccer.tv subscribers. And it seems there was plenty of confusion too among FoxSoccer.tv (see screen grab below of the FoxSoccer.tv 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 FoxSoccer.tv thus far leaves much to be desired, the quantity of games it’ll show looks very enticing especially this weekend when FoxSoccer.tv 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 FoxSoccer.tv, there’s probably a list of six more wish list items such as featuring live Premier League games on FoxSoccer.tv 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 FoxSoccer.tv? Share them in the comments section below.