SAT, 7AM ET
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SAT, 9:45AM ET
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SUN

Veetle Broadcast of Tottenham Friendly Deemed a Success

Weeks from now, the opening game of the 2010 Barclays New York Challenge will have faded from most people’s memories when the regular season kicks off. It wasn’t a particularly exciting game, and Spurs looked lethargic and out of ideas for large portions of the game. However, the match between Tottenham Hotspur and New York Red Bulls should be remembered for another reason: a massive technological breakthrough which could have a dramatic impact on how we watch the sport for years to come.

Last night’s game was streamed live across the Internet for free. Veetle hosted the live streaming game on their website. And, which is so unlike what bloggers are used to, were encouraged to embed the video player on their website (including this one) to share with viewers around the world (except for the United Kingdom where the licensing rights prevented the game from being streamed there). And all of this by Veetle was done legally with the permission of the event organizers.

But the big technological breakthrough for me was the ability to stream the live game to the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. Veetle streamed the game using QuickTime so that soccer fans could load up Safari on the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, browse to Veetle.com and watch the game on the portable device. To see how it worked on my Apple iPad, view the above video and you’ll see the high quality video streaming live.

With any technology, there are always hiccups. The Apple iPhone version didn’t work and displayed an error message. And when viewing the game from the streaming web version on my computer, there were a couple of times during the match when the live streaming played only the audio (presumably because of bandwidth demands on Veetle’s servers).

But overall, I would consider the experiment a success. The quality of the stream was superb. There was no buffering. And the display on my iPad was a better reception than what I saw on television through Fox Soccer Channel’s broadcast of the game.

The game from Veetle gives us a hint of what is possible. Just in one two-hour period, we saw how the quality of the Veetle broadcast was far superior to the Flash-video that FoxSoccer.tv provides. And we saw how accessible it is, such as the iPad (unfortunately, FoxSoccer.tv doesn’t work on the iPad or iPhone at this time).

If you didn’t get a chance to experience the game last night on Veetle, your next chance is tonight when Manchester City plays Sporting Lisbon at 8:30pm ET. We’ll again be showing the game live here at EPL Talk. Plus you can access it through the Veetle website and on TV via Fox Soccer Channel.

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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 →

15 Responses to Veetle Broadcast of Tottenham Friendly Deemed a Success

  1. penpen says:

    The quality was actually pretty sketchy on my end, especially the HD stream, which I basically could not use to watch the match (would repeatedly freeze after about a second’s worth of clear video). “High” and “Normal” settings were more reliable, but still with plenty of hiccups, and the whole thing crashed completely in the last ten minutes or so of the match (had to finish watching the game on a blurry Justin.tv stream). Perhaps the reliability varies from region to region? I’m on the east coast. Here’s hoping they patch things up for tonight’s match.

  2. Tom says:

    If the HD stream froze but the High and Normal streams were working, it may be that the bandwidth or the computer one is using wasn’t big enough to process all the data that an HD stream requires.

    As for the audio only hiccups, that will be addressed going forward without further problems for the remaining 3 games.

  3. brn442 says:

    I thought it was an epoch disguised in a small step. Credit to veetle and the event organizers for making it happen. Hopefully – content providers will see the future in portable usage and un like the music industry, will realize before it’s too late that stetting up legal avenues for a reasonable fee – will benefit them in the long run.

  4. Pauly says:

    How is watching the game on the iPad a much better experience than a laptop or even a TV for that matter? Sounds like you’re just trying to justify your purchase.

    • The Gaffer says:

      No justification intended or needed. It’s all about being portable. When the kids are playing video games on the laptop and I want to take the iPad around the house or, better yet, on the road in the car, being able to see live games streaming to my iPad via 3G would be ideal.

      It’s all about portability. Watching soccer on TV is great, but if I can take an iPad with me and watch the game – with ease – on a treadmill at a gym, in a car or on the road, it’s even better.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Pauly says:

        I agree portability is great, but there are other platforms (i.e. Android) that already support HTML5 AND Flash streaming currently with version 2.2. Therefore, I don’t understand why it’s a “big technological breakthrough” when the content provider has to adapt to Apple’s limitations by using Quicktime rather than supporting current standards. That is the reason why it comes across as needing to justify your purchase.

        • The Gaffer says:

          Pauly, as far as I know, there is no Android tablet. I know Google is working on one, but if I want to see a soccer game on a larger device than a mobile phone (and something not as cumbersome as a laptop), then the iPad is a perfect way to go.

          It’s a big technological breakthrough because the Apple iPhone is the number one selling smartphone (source: http://mashable.com/2010/07/15/mobile-mix-june/ ).

          I’m not trying to ostracize the Android users, but having a game streamed live to iPads (and hopefully iPhones) this weekend is a big deal.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • Pauly says:

            So according to you, it’s a technological breakthrough because Apple has sold a lot of iPhones? You stated in your article that it didn’t even work on the iPhone. So it’s more the possibility of a “technological breakthrough” than the actual reality of it?

  5. The Gaffer says:

    Pauly, it’s a technological breakthrough because it’s the first time that I’m aware of that a game involving a Premier League team can be streamed live on to an Apple iPad. It didn’t work on the Apple iPhone last night, but hopefully that’ll be fixed tonight.

    It’s not a technological breakthrough because Apple has sold a lot of iPhones. But it is important because there are more iPhones out there than any other model of mobile phones.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  6. Alan Knut says:

    It would be easy to get on an anti-Apple rant right now, so I won’t.

    I feel the true success of this evening was the video quality. In the future streaming HD video is going to have to be the norm. I watched it on a higher than HD resolution and it still looked nice. Just as nice as my Comcast cable… We are, hopefully, going to say good bye to the traditional cable company and pay subscription fees to websites that will be able to stream directly to your TV or to your computer without having separate fees for each.

    Android is going to be the platform of the future. Smartphones running Android will outnumber the number of iphone OS in the future. I feel this is inevitable due to Apple’s business practices. Although you can’t knock them for giving out their OS for free like Google is. Not to mention Android is open source and by years end all new devices and recent devices will support flash. Now all Android needs are a few good tablets. Of which, I will never buy unless it has handwriting recognition.

    ESPN3.com will be offering HD streams this fall/winter on certain events to XBox Live Gold subscribers. So let’s hope this includes quite a few soccer matches.

    • sucka99 says:

      To Alan’s last point, I have to partly agree with Paul in sentiment on this one. The real breakthrough to me will be ESPN3.com streams on a real STB (i.e. the Xbox) streaming (allegedly) HD quality video direct to your TV bypassing the whims of cable/sat providers and and without having to rely on using computers (portable or otherwise) to watch the leagues that we care about. Hopefully that will also include the Prem, but I won’t hold my breath.

      However I think this veetle thing will be a revelation if it spurs (no pun intended) ESPN3 and foxsoccer.tv to embrace platforms like the Xbox or Roku/Boxee (as you mentioned long time ago) as well as the Apple, Google and eventually WP7 app stores rather than money-spinning exclusive partnerships with service providers like Verizon or AT&T. Those deals are not good for anyone.

  7. Steve says:

    I was doing this during the World Cup(albeit illegally), nothing new here. Streaming a pre-season friendly that is accessible on the apple iOS is far from a breakthrough… Now if they can come up with a high quality, easily accessible streaming network for the EPL that’s free or affordable, then that’s a breakthrough. Till then, very little that is new here, Veetle has been around a while.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Steve, we’ve been familiar with Veetle for a long time too including the illegal streams they show. But the reason we called this a breakthrough is because Veetle and soccer fans were able to use legal means to watch a game via Quicktime on the Apple iPhone and iPad as well as online.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  8. Stiffy O'Riorda says:

    It always amuses me when self-appointed technology wizards proclaim Android is going to be the platform of the future, as if they actually know what they are talking about. There isn’t going to be ‘a’ platform of the future. There will be many platforms. There isn’t even going to be a single Android platform, there will be many of them, each a little different. Some very different. Apple will certainly be a big player and be responsible for one of the platforms that will last, because its take on technology and usability is user-centric and, without doubt, lots of people appreciate this focus on the user, along with Apple’s elegance in design and quality in delivery. Apple will also provide a single consistent user interface on its platform, across smartphones, iPads, computers and whatever else it comes up with. Just as with applications on the Mac, once you know how to work one Apple device, you already know how to work all the others. Consistency is one of the things its good at. Whereas there will be many flavours to Android, each manufacturer adding to the basic Android code to generate its own user experience. This may or may not turn out to be a problem for users. We shall see. Nobody has all the answers for all the people, and people who deny the real qualities offered by Apple are perhaps as dumb as those who proclaim the only answer is Apple.

  9. jason says:

    Hostspot shield says f**k you to the british athorities when trying to tune in to watch a live match here in the UK.

    I mean seriously wtf are these fags on at the FA? I go to holland and I can watch any prem match I want on a saturday afternoon (regardless of who is playing) and this is the same right across europe.

    And you wanna know the really funny thing? No other footballing authority across europe as such ridiculous rights issues with their own live matches. For example you can watch any bundesliga match you want on match day on tv (ppv or regular sports channels) same pretty much where ever you go in europe. But in the land in inbred f**s…no you can’t watch live prem games or friendlies or whatever else.

    Thats why i say a big FU to the fa and stream any match I want to watch on the net…the FA should spend liess time fisting their own arses and more time giving the british people the same god damned rights to view as everyone else in europe.

    Here to the sky gay premier league dying soon….

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