Fox Soccer Channel in HD on DirecTV Opening Weekend Observations

This past weekend was the weekend many Premier League fans have been waiting on for quite some time now, at least here in the States. FSCHD went live for DirecTV subscribers last Wednesday which was a great way to enter into the opening weekend of the 2010-2011 Premier League season. The feed FSC broadcasts had plenty of new graphics to enjoy and FSC’s Fox Soccer Tonight – their attempt at a Match of the Day-type program – was also in full HD.

With a packed weekend featuring some big games, what did you think of the new service, was it everything we all hyped it up to be? For me, it was a breath of fresh air.

I for one was highly annoyed though when FSC got viewers to the Aston Villa v West Ham match some 30 seconds into the first half. Were the lineups and tactical formations shown on some pre match show before the actual match? If they were, FSC needs to remember that many a soccer fan utilizes a DVR to watch matches as we’re all stretched thin with the number of games we view each week. Usually, I arrive to my next match some 5-10 minutes after it’s started and thus will start it from the beginning on my DVR and fast forward through the half to catch up to the live broadcast.

This of course was no fault of DirecTV but of the Fox network. DirecTV prides themselves on providing the best possible and highest quality HD broadcasting and they didn’t let down one bit. Since I was no stranger to Premier League matches in HD from ESPN’s broadcasts, the thing I enjoyed the most was not having to switch back to standard definition after watching the early match on ESPN2.

When I flipped over to 619 for the Villa v West Ham match, the clear HD broadcast was awaiting my attentive eyes. Another concern for DirecTV subscribers is the process of FSC+ being broadcast in full HD. It seems for the time being that DirecTV has set up an alternate channel like that of the old SETANTA alternate on 621-1 where multiple hour blocks broadcast a match only for the channel to go black after the match is over. I was able to catch a few minutes of a Ligue 1 match on Sunday afternoon on this very channel. I’d imagine that DirecTV will fix this in the near future, but for now I’m a satisfied subscriber.

46 thoughts on “Fox Soccer Channel in HD on DirecTV Opening Weekend Observations”

    1. FIOS doesn’t have enough capacity right now. It’s not an IPTV system, more like a traditional cable system where all channels are sent simultaneously down the fiber to your house.

  1. Wait a tick…you mean that FCS+ is in HD too on DirectTV? It isn’t on Dish as far as I know…unless they are doing the “-1” trick as well.

    Crap…I’ll have to switch back to Direct TV.

    1. RayO,

      I suppose you could say FSC+ is only slightly in HD. It seems as if only 1 or 2 matches per week are picked to appear on the alternate channel.

      This could and likely will change when the Champions League group stages start – another massive reason to have DirecTV over Dish (the myriad of channels DirecTV reserve for CL matches)

      I don’t know why this is (the alternate channel), but we’ll all keep our eyes open for new developments.

      1. I’m pretty sure that there are several live Champions League qualifying matches on FSC+ HD this week. But yes, there was only one EPL match live on FSC+ HD on Saturday.

      2. The agreement between Fox Sports and DirecTV regarding FS Plus HD only covers LIVE matches. It doesn’t include repeats or delayed/premiere matches.
        Currently FS Plus HD uses shared bandwidth with PPV channels that gets switched on/off on an as-needed basis. That’s also why a lot of people have been noticing issues when recording something on the channel and trying to watch it later, such as the DVR asking one to pay a PPV fee. Not sure if this has been fixed yet as I don’t subscribe to FS Plus anymore myself (which is a different story, heh).

    2. so when one records a game on 619, if it’s in HD will it switch to 621?I watch most of my games off the DVR and my recordings aren’t coming up in hd at all. Can someone do a definitive overview of where the games are and how to schedule recordings of them?

  2. Aside from having to call DirecTV to complain about 621-1 NOT working for nearly the entire first half of Blackburn/Everton, I was pleased. I liked the Super Sunday recap show that was on yesterday (I don’t know what you guys have against Warren Barton, he’s not Screamin’ A. Smith or anything, but at least he knows his relative #$@*).

    All in all the product is good and gave me plenty of quality matches to keep my wife angry with me!

  3. DirecTV will not fix the FS+ HD problem. It could have easily broadcast FS+ HD full-time, but chose to broadcast live matches only. It won’t change anytime soon unless people start voicing their displeasure.

    Write a polite e-mail to, who is an executive vice president in charge of customer service. If enough people chime in, politely, change can happen.

  4. Did anyone notice the crackling sound on the Saturday morning ESPN match and then on one of the matches on FSC HD that same day? I watched so many games, I dont remember the particular match. Does FSC and ESPN get their feeds from the same provider? Two different channels having the same audio issue was strange. Unless it was Directv itself.

    1. yes they’re using the same feed from TWI (the international broadcaster/producer). ESPN just probably tweeked-up the sound a little bit more (I noticed that ESPN did this last year when they had broadcast the monday night games from ESPN UK), which i noticed as well, the atmosphere at white hart lane sounded fantastic from the TV.

  5. Interesting. Sounds like Directv is taking a page out of the Dish Network playbook. Dish Network typically only shows Regional Sport Networks in HD during games, not 24/7. Directv notes having 100% HD RSN’s. But now they are only HD’ing the matches on FS+. Bandwidth that tight? Honestly, that would work a little better on FSC (infomercials, review shows) than FS+… unless there is a lot of non-HD matchups on FS+, rugby.

  6. I made the mistake of not re-setting my ‘season pass’ to record the premier league games – So went to watch the first Villa game and it had recorded the non-HD version that was still set up in my system from last year….. Now we’re fixed and good to go.

    Overall, great weekend, love the football in HD. However, very disappointed in Fox Football Tonight. If I’m watching a condensed version of a game I haven’t seen, I don’t want to see the FINAL SCORE of that game on the ticker that pops up from Fox Sports. That’s my only complaint.

    1. Did you record it or watch it live? If you have an HD box, there will either be two Ch. 619s (one for SD and another for HD) or just one for HD. Set your guide to hide SD duplicates.

  7. Liverpool/Arsenal was in HD for me (Direct TV).
    On Direct TV, we really are very close to a football paradise. Yes, there are minor issues (FSC + not broadcasting on HD all the time), but, all in all, it was a glorious weekend for football fans.
    My biggest complaint w/ Fox Soccer Channel remains the timing of their “live” broadcast.
    They begand the Villa game 40 seconds in.
    The Liverpool/Arsenal game started w/ the usual 3 minute delay. I am sick of this!!!
    Hello, Fox Soccer Channel? Are you reading this??? Live should mean Live!!!

  8. Yes, the HD is awesome and the feed from SKY is all good, it’s just FSC’s homegrown shows and talent are just not good enough. They should show the feed from when the teams march down the tunnel with the British commentators.. this would solve a whole lot of issues with the handoff.
    The Fox Soccer Tonight set was a rehash of all the othe sets they use, must be the same studio and Christian Miles is so subpar. Look at how well Max Bretos did on ESPN in the morning, obviously he has gotten 100% better since jumping ship.

  9. Ok–absurd question. Direct TV went on HD last wednesday– I got home and turned on Sky Sports News (not HD–but better picture than via the standard fee) and….who was the incredible blonde woman in a plunging (i mean–plunging) neck-line on her royal blue top? Yes, yes, I know I’m a dork for asking.

    Anyway–Liverpool-Arsenal was HD for me on Direct TV on Sunday, I live in the Chicago area.

  10. Yeah, Arsenal v Liverpool wasn’t in HD for me either? Oh yeah……I have Comcast, the largest cable company in the country, and they don’t have FSC HD. Assholes.

  11. Great start by DirecTV. If they are going to put out live games in HD on FS+, couldn’t they give us the specific start and end times in the Guide? At present, the only way to record it, short of setting up a manual recording, is to record the entire 4/5 hour time slot and this makes it impossible to record two other simultaneous matches.

    1. It’s annoying, I know. I just do a manual record. FWIW, I think it was the same was with Setanta Plus (channel 622) last few years.

  12. COMCAST!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  13. On a slightly separate note, we got a huge press release from EA Sports & the EPL about how EA Sports had taken over the statistics for the EPL, and now we would be seeing amazing stats during games, including items such as distance covered and maximum speed (that we have seen before, like in Champions League) and ones we haven’t seen before, like vertical leap for defenders going up for corners. We would be able to see ball speed, g-force, etc. for hard free kicks or blasts on Joe Hart, etc.

    What did we get?

    Nada. Just the same old possession 52% – 48% that we saw with Actim last year. The EA Sports Logo replaced the Actim logo, but that was the only change I saw. Was the EA “game controller” on the blink? Or is this another feature that will be shown on Sky but not on the international feed.

    Very disappointed…

  14. Loved every minute of it. Sports is so much better in HD and soccer is one that was meant to be shown in HD.

    Of course, having such a great picture only made it worse when Reina let that goal in …

  15. I can’t believe what they replaced FFF with. My. God. So much fail in one episode. Martino was horrible. The format was horrible. The pedo-looking cohost was horrible. Never again.

  16. Gentleman (and a few ladies, possibly?),

    To whomever raised the complaint about the games on FSC+ only being available in 4/5 hour chunks:

    I was also extremely annoyed by this, but I think figured out the solution today. I believe it is in the “Manage Recordings” section of the Menu heading. There is an option for manual record. You can plug in the channel and hours you wish to record. I have yet to attempt this, but it must be the solution.

    1. Yes! I was able to “manual record” the England vs. Hungary game last week. It was odd though how the last few minutes of my recording were some sort of Cheech and Chong movie?! Then on Saturday I could not access the channel without getting the “download for $6” option. They can’t possibly expect me to pay more for the hd version of a channel I’m already paying $15 a month for, can they??

  17. My FSCHD on DirecTV didn’t work the last 2 days. Worked just fine before then AND after then….but not during the days

    All other channels worked just fine

  18. Did no-one else think the quality was lower than on ESPN? All “HD” is not equal and I think some compression is being done. It was certainly not as good as an NFL game in HD.

    1. Yea I noticed that too. I was wondering what was up with the compression, wondering if it was DirecTV or ESPN or whoever provided the feed.

      The whole FS+ deal is a pain in the ass and annoying it plain just needs to be in HD. Hell FS+ subscribers pay $15 a month for one channel we deserve HD.

    2. I saw the same difference in quality. FSCHD just seemed to be a little softer and compressed more than the ESPN broadcast. I was home for the weekend and got to watch FSCHD on Cox. Now I’m back home with Comcast and am stuck with FSC in SD and one match a week rebroadcast in HD on Comcast SportsNet.

    3. Both FSC and ESPN broadcast in 720p so it’s most likely the source of the particular game you were watching. The channels don’t have much influence regarding picture quality unless they actually produce said event with their own equipment.
      There’s differences in PQ for almost every match I’ve noticed, especially with soccer from various locations in the world, while the NFL is US-only and produced by the same company. Lots of factors involved.

  19. I don’t know when or how but Fox Soccer HD has finally launched for time warner cable. It’s great and its definitely nice to see because I wasn’t expecting it at all. All the news I hear about it comes from dish network and direct tv so its nice to see cable get some attention.

    1. Mo, I just placed an order to get DirecTV because TimeWarner does not have FSCHD, and has had no plans to get it. I read your post, and then contacted my local TimeWarner office, they are not broadcasting FSCHD, and according to the guy I talked to, have no intentions. What TWC area are you watching this in? I will cancel my DirecTV installation if I can confirm that TWC have plans to broadcast FSCHD in my area (Rocehster, NY)

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