Fox Soccer Plus and FSCHD: Latest Developments

It’s been three weeks since the launch of the new Fox Soccer Plus channel, and almost three months since the launch of Fox Soccer Channel in HD. But what progress has there been thus far and what do we still not know?

As of this writing, Fox Soccer Plus is currently being carried (in standard definition) on DirecTV, Dish Network, and Verizon FIOS. It is available in HD on some regional Time Warner Cable platforms, but will be added in select Time Warner markets by April 5. No definitive dates are available regarding when FS+ will be added to Comcast or any other cable provider, or AT&T U-Verse, or of adding the HD version of the channel on any platform.

Considering that the changeover from Setanta to FS+ happened in the middle of the season and in a 24-hour period, overall I’d argue that it’s been handled fairly well. For instance, most people who originally had Setanta were switched over to FS+ seamlessly, within one day, on the same channel as before. And most of the coverage has been kept.

But I have some specific gripes with the product being shown currently between the two Fox channels. They are:

  1. Where can I go in the US to watch the French Ligue 1, legally? After the monotony of Lyon dominating the league over recent years, this season has a 4 or 5 team title race going down the stretch. But since Fox didn’t pick up the Setanta coverage, there’s no legal way for us in the USA to watch the matches.
  2. Why can’t or why hasn’t Fox shown replays of matches originally shown on FS+ on FSC later? Many of us remember the days when a portion of FA Cup matches and EPL matches were shown only on pay-per-view, and then were shown delayed later in the week on FSC in the middle of the afternoon, when FSC had nothing live to show. Well, now that Fox owns the rights to ALL FA Cup Matches, ALL Serie A, and (bar ESPN’s portion), MOST of the EPL, what’s to stop them from (for example) showing Sunday’s United-Liverpool match, which originally aired on FS+, on FSC this Wednesday or Thursday, instead of the 3rd or 4th replay of this past weekend’s EPL or Serie A matches? It would certainly throw a bone to the substantial amount of us cable subscribers without access to Fox Soccer Plus, and I don’t see how it would hurt the product or stop people from wanting to subscribe to FS+ by delaying the matches for a few days before showing them on FSC.
  3. HD Coverage. Please Fox, don’t treat your viewers like babies. Don’t tell us we’re watching in HD when you know the vast majority of us aren’t. I understand the motives to get us to contact our TV providers to add the channels. I don’t understand why you can’t treat your viewers with respect. A simple, “This match is available in High-Definition…if FSCHD isn’t available in your area please contact your cable/satellite provider” would be much better than the condescending (and false), “You are watching FSC in glorious High-Definition.” At this point, HD coverage of FSC and FS+ is the holy grail for serious EPL fans, and the way it’s being handled by the on-air talent has been horrendous to this point.

Hopefully by the end of this season, or at the latest the start of the next one, Fox will have fixed these issues, the main ones being adding provider coverage and HD coverage. Thoughts?

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