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Fox Soccer iPhone App Product Review

mzl.plujfzzi.320x480 75 Fox Soccer iPhone App Product ReviewFor the past four days, I was away in Chicago in business meetings. Normally this wouldn’t be so bad if the trip happened during the week. But as it happened on a weekend when I’m usually at home watching the Premier League matches on my trusty laptop or television, it messed up my typical routine and left me in the unusual predicament of trying to watch as many of the highlights in as short of amount of time as possible.

Luckily this past weekend coincided with the first time I was able to use the Fox Soccer iPhone app I purchased earlier this week. If there was ever a use case for someone testing this iPhone app, this was it.

Here’s how the experience went for me.

On Saturday morning, I had a break in-between meetings for approximately ten minutes. I decided to boot up the Fox Soccer app on my iPhone to see if I could watch one of the games live. But the app design is not as intuitive as it could be. It’s difficult to ascertain which games are being shown live at any moment. So I ended up going through the ‘Video’ section of each game one-by-one. The first game I selected was Arsenal against Birmingham. With the first half of the game still being played, I was both disappointed and impressed at the same time. I was disappointed because there was no live stream of the game available. But I was impressed that there already were three different highlights from the match that I could play that featured key moments in the game. I was able to see Nikola Zigic’s beautiful header that was poked into the corner of the goal. The video streamed perfectly over my 3G connection on my iPhone.

With only a few minutes to go before my break ended, I tried going through the rest of the games to see if I could find a live stream. But each of them only featured match highlights. I didn’t have time to hunt and peck through the app to see if there were other ways to watch the games via live streaming on the app. So I ended up closing the app and feeling a little cheated. I was under the assumption that all of the Premier League games (except those broadcast by ESPN in the US) would be available for streaming. Even despite that, I was glad to see that match highlights from Manchester United against West Brom were available on the app, just before it was closed.

On Sunday, I was looking forward to watching Everton against Liverpool on my iPhone but was resigned to the belief that I would only be able to watch it via match highlights on the Fox Soccer app. I had a mid-morning flight to catch at Chicago O’Hare International Report, so when I left my downtown hotel around 8am to catch a cab, my expectations of the Fox Soccer app wasn’t that high. I selected the app from my iPhone and then clicked the Everton against Liverpool game expecting to see a list of highlights to choose from. But I was stunned that the only option it gave me was to watch the game live. Finally, yes! I could watch the game via live streaming on my mobile phone.

As the cab left the hotel and sped down Washington Street, I was blown away by how crystal clear the picture was and that here I was in a moving taxi in Chicago watching a live game that was happening 3,789 miles away on Merseyside. It was for me a groundbreaking moment especially since I had lived in the States persevering with listening to spotty coverage on a shortwave radio in the mid 1980s. And here I was 25 years later watching a game in the palm of my hand.

As the cab driver hurtled towards O’Hare, the quality of the stream was exceptional. Now and again it started to blur slightly, but there was never any buffering and the picture quality quickly fixed itself. I took my iPhone through airport security and to my terminal, all the while watching the game unfold. There were a couple of instances during the second half of the match when I would see a warning message saying that it was experiencing a slow data connection issue, but I chalked that up to being in the terminal and my AT&T connection not being the greatest.

After watching the Everton versus Liverpool game, I was able to go through each of the Premier League games from the weekend and watch all of the goal highlights. In fact, the goal highlights are available a few minutes after they’re scored in real-time, so the app may serve as a useful tool for those of you who are at work or on the road, or don’t have time to watch the games.

I’m still feeling my way around the app to figure out which games are available for live streaming (it isn’t clear). One of the commenters on the site here said that the app only shows the live streaming of the games available on FoxSoccer.tv (both Premier League and Champions League), but I need to use it next weekend to find out for sure, or to get more information from Fox Soccer Channel.

While the app is not perfect, it is a revolutionary step forward. I’m already considering the ways I can incorporate the Fox Soccer app into my busy work life (and home life) to save time. I’ll still continue to watch some games, but this definitely replaces the need to rely so heavily on Match Of The Day or the English Premier League Review Show. With goal highlights available in minutes after they occur and some matches shown with live streaming options, I’m definitely going to get my money’s worth out of it.

The Fox Soccer app is available on iTunes for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from $7.99/month.

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 →
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16 Responses to Fox Soccer iPhone App Product Review

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for the review. Besides paying for the App, do you have to pay for any of the content through subscription? What if you already have a subscription to foxsoccer.tv?

  2. jbm says:

    The app is free just to get news and updates, but you have to pay $8 a month for video streaming. This is purchased within the app itself, with a discount for those who buy in bulk.

    The mobile and foxsoccer.tv subscriptions are independent. If you have the $15 web browser plan you can’t access it on the iOS app, and if you have the iOS app subscription you can’t watch in a web browser. Due to the cheapness and the hope of being able to push it to my TV via AirPlay and an Apple TV in a future update I went with the mobile subscription.

    Word of caution though: If you don’t own at least a 3GS or last generation iPod touch this app will run s…l…o…w… video will stream fine, just the interface will lag.

  3. goalz says:

    Question about foxsoccer.tv – Does anyone have an issue with trying to watch games in full screen mode? Nearly every time I try to use this, the screen freezes and I have to switch back to the smaller size. And this has happened with two different laptops and on two different networks. I know it’s not the capability of teh computer and shouldn’t be because of a lack of Internet speed, so I figured I would ask to see if anyone else is having the same problem.

  4. MikeD says:

    It sounds like the iPhone app is pretty interesting, but as lots of people have said everywhere it’s been reviewed, it’s a little annoying to have to pay $8/month when you’re already paying $15/month, and what you get is a product where you can’t even tell which games are live!

    I’m not averse to paying a little more for the capability, but I’d like to have:
    – A native iPad app. Watching the games on that screen would be awesome compared to the phone.

    – Ability to replay entire games. At least on foxsoccer.tv they stay available for a while.

    On another nerdy note, it seems like this Google TV thing would let you stream foxsoccer.tv pretty easily to your television, has anybody tried it?

  5. Vious says:

    The App looks solid but until they allow FoxSoccer.tv subscribers to be able to use it, the App will be used by few

    Just look at the app reviews and 98% of them are as pissed off as I am that they want yet another subscription to use it

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree that FoxSoccer.tv customers should either get the Fox Soccer app for free or at a heavily discounted rate, but one thing to consider is whether the audience that will be using the Fox Soccer app will be different than the FoxSoccer.tv and Fox Soccer Channel crowd. To me, the app is meant for someone who doesn’t have time to watch the games as intensely as someone who does so on television. Just a thought.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  6. Dave says:

    They really should offer an app web package or something. Also I found the most annoying is trying to see the standings brought me to the sign in page on the app. Seriously, tables are premium content? Fox needs to get their head out of their asses on this app. Especially given that people running Android 2.2 can merely sign in and watch through their phone’s web interface with their foxsoccer.tv account. This seems to me another instance of a company trying to be greedy and take advantage of the iphone market. There’s really no need for it considering how many free aps there are that give you tables, fixtures and news.

    They could have been everyone’s heroes and got more brand recognition by merging the accounts but they chose to double their profits.

  7. Red20 says:

    Gaffer-

    Any ideas if this app will work internationally? I’m in the Dominican Republic for the next couple months, and the other day when I logged into foxsoccer.tv, I was told they can’t broadcast in this country so i was SOL.

    Just wondering if this app would work here or if I’m screwed?

  8. wavestriker says:

    I purchased a similar streaming app for the NBA last season, and it was also a separate charge from their cable and internet season pass packages. The NBA’s app started out as a fixed $40 (no monthly fee) that became available a few weeks after the season started, but the league ran several $20 specials after a month.

    I found the quality (on the iphone 3GS) variable but generally impressive – very cool to be able to watch a game in a parking lot or some other odd location. The NBA app also maintained a 24 hour archive for non-blacked out games. I think Fox should offer something similar, but maybe they’re afraid of cannibalizing customers who would otherwise purchase foxsoccer.tv.

    Mobile apps for on-the-go viewing along with a subscription for home computer viewing are an issue because there *are* separate costs involved in offering each. Perhaps the compromise is to offer one monthly price for ipad and mobile phone viewing, as long as people are happy with watching matches at home on an iPad/tablet type product.

    As far as foxsoccer.tv full screen viewing, I haven’t had any issues (Firefox/Safari on a Mac tower). Won’t run on Chrome for some reason, but the full screen experience is actually very, very nice on the other 2 browsers. Very pleased w/FSC on that front.

  9. Miguel says:

    I think they should add or create a new app providing live streaming of their channel, I would pay for that!

  10. Spurs Fan says:

    Gaffer – Are you getting royalties on this app?? Its the biggest rip off in the App section. Save your money. Murdoch just trying to gouge us again!! with the Gaffer getting his 10%

    • The Gaffer says:

      Spurs Fan, for me while I was on the road in Chicago with no access to TV or a laptop, it was a lifesaver and definitely worth the price of a coffee and pastry from Starbucks.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

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