With the launch of the new Premier League season on NBC Sports, I had the opportunity today to give the NBC Sports App a test drive both at home and on the road.
After remembering how bad the NBC Olympics coverage was on mobile devices, I had some trepidation. However, I was hopeful that the NBC Sports App for iOS devices would be an improvement for the Premier League soccer games.
I was running the app on an Apple iPad 3td generation with retina display, iOS v6 on my home Wi-Fi and an Apple iPhone HotSpot connection. I also tested the app on an Apple iPhone 5 with retina display, running the beta version of iOS 7 with a 4G LTE connection.
Here’s what I uncovered on my travels today:
7:40am ET, at home — I wanted to give the NBC Sports App a test run with the Liverpool-Stoke game just to see how well it would work under optimal conditions, connected to my home WiFi. It stumbled early for at least five minutes. The app loaded but the game wouldn’t stream. I read a few message boards and saw that others had the same issue. After a hard reset of both my iPad and iPhone, the app ran smoothly.
I watched the first half of the game and experienced no hiccups. However, I did note one issue. There was a one minute lag from the iPad to the TV. Liverpool scored their goal on TV before it showed up on my iPad. This is something I’ll need to make a mental note about because there may be times when I switch to a different part of my home, switching from watching the game on my TV to a mobile device and vice-versa.
Before the next part of my journey, while waiting on the train to leave, I had the Liverpool-Stoke game on my phone and the picture was crisp and clear.
10:15am ET, on the Metro — While waiting for the train again, I removed my phone to watch Sunderland against Fulham (Jozy Altidore is on my fantasy team), while switching back and forth to Arsenal versus Aston Villa, too. I noticed that even though the app loads quickly, it sometimes takes close to a minute for the match to begin broadcasting due to buffering. Even after my train finally arrived, I hit a few dead spots where I couldn’t get a cellular signal, but due to the buffering, the app still gave me approximately two minutes of soccer before it stopped. It’s worth knowing that the app gives you a size-able buffer in case you need to relocate to get a signal.
11am ET, at my local soccer pub — Arsenal supporters filled my local pub today, and judging by the looks on their faces, they weren’t too pleased.
I was curious about the Sunderland-Fulham match, so I used my iPad to pull up the game via NBC Sports App. While doing so, four people took notice and immediately downloaded the app so that we were all able to watch the matches we wanted.
The video quality was very consistent. After buffering for approximately 1-2 minutes, the game loaded, and I then had no issues watching the game on a 4G connection in a crowded bar. There were zero hiccups or losses of signal. I even tried the Apple iPad with my iPhone acting as the hotspot, and still there were no issues.
Overall, the NBC Sports App works like a charm on iOS devices. The streams are crisp, while the audio is just as good as what you’d hear on television. If you’re a fan of the Premier League and you live in the United States, this is a must-have app that allows you to watch matches for free (as long as your TV provider has agreed a deal with NBC to provide access).
The strangers I ran into in the crowded soccer pub were equally impressed by the app.
Hopefully this will incentivize beIN SPORT to improve the availability and quality of their beIN SPORT Play app.
Here’s a brief video demo of the NBC Sports Live App in action in my local watering hole:
If you’ve used the app, please share your feedback in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: The app review is for iOS devices only. We’re aware of the issues that Android users have experienced when trying to watch Premier League matches via NBC Sports App for Android devices.