Watching the World Cup? Welcome to streaming

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    With the Socceroos taking on the Czech Republic tonight, now seems like as good a time as any to formulate our broadcast-watching plans for the World Cup.

    These are unchartered waters when it comes to watching the world’s biggest sporting event.

    And if you can make heads or tails of where Socceroos games are supposed to reside on Australia’s free-to-air networks – first SBS, then Channel Nine and now Network Ten – you’re doing better than most.

    Tonight’s friendly with the Czech Republic from the NV Arena in Sankt Pölten will be broadcast live on One, as well as football’s usual home on Fox Sports.

    You wouldn’t necessarily know it judging by the new Ten Daily website – which doesn’t even have a sports tab – and you have to click on the confusingly named Views to find any sports-related content at all.

    However, Network Ten seems to have been stung by recent social media criticism over their lack of A-League marketing, and they’ve been busy online spruiking the fact they’re showing tonight’s Socceroos game.

    The real test for dedicated football fans will come during the World Cup.

    Call me a cynic, but I suspect Optus may have realised they had an impending public relations nightmare on their hands when they decided a month ago to make the World Cup available to non-Optus customers.

    And while viewers who watch the English Premier League as part of their Optus packages have been largely complimentary towards the coverage – technical issues notwithstanding – the fact that Optus was the only place to watch every game of the World Cup live seems to have passed a lot of fans by.

    Those same fans may have been in for a rude shock once the tournament rolled around and they flicked on their TV to watch every game of the World Cup – only to discover SBS has the broadcast rights to show just 25 games live.

    Mile Jedinak Aaron Mooy Socceroos Australia

    The partly taxpayer-funded network effectively traded the rest to Optus in return for one live Premier League game per week.

    Whether that’s a smart piece of business probably depends on who you talk to – I watched several Premier League games on SBS this season, but as a non-Optus customer I’ve never really bothered with their Over-the-Top content – but I will certainly be paying the $14.99 required to access every game of the World Cup.

    I’ll probably buy it after the tournament kicks off, mind you, so that I don’t get stung paying for an extra month worth of games when the tournament opener and final is broadcast live on SBS anyway.

    And no matter how many people tell me that streaming is “the way of the future,” I’m not really looking forward to having to set the whole thing up through my Chromecast, when in the past I could simply switch on my TV and watch a telecast that doesn’t crash.

    Regardless of how many press releases Optus puts out, the fact is streaming technology has made it harder to watch football – not easier – and in the case of this World Cup, more costly too.

    But that’s the world these days.

    It will be interesting to see who Bert van Marwijk plumps for up front tonight at any rate, particularly with Jamie Maclaren being rushed into the training squad upon the news that Tomi Juric’s knee injury was worse than originally thought.

    Now Juric is said to be on the mend again, so Maclaren might be surplus to requirements after all.

    One player who certainly won’t be surplus to requirements is Peru skipper Paolo Guerrero. As if his drugs suspension couldn’t have got any more farcical, he was cleared overnight by a Swiss supreme court judge to appear at his nation’s first World Cup finals since 1982.

    That’s good news for football fans everywhere – if not the Socceroos’ back four.

    We’ll see that game on SBS, and use up plenty of bandwidth watching the rest.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • June 1st 2018 @ 7:35am
      Holly said | June 1st 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      ” I will certainly be paying the $14.99 required to access every game of the World Cup.

      I’ll probably buy it after the tournament kicks off, mind you, so that I don’t get stung paying for games I can watch live on SBS anyway.”

      but won’t it still be 14.99 whenever you purchase it ?

      • Columnist

        June 1st 2018 @ 8:02am
        Mike Tuckerman said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        “Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does! They could have made this clearer…”

        I assume it will always be $14.99. But to watch every day of the tournament on Optus would require two months’ worth of streaming access, since the tournament runs for 32 days. There’s no need to get that second month, though, if you plan to watch the tournament opener and/or semi-finals and final on SBS.

        I really could have worded that better!

        • June 1st 2018 @ 9:44am
          Brian said | June 1st 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          I’m collecting my chromecast today and also intend to sign up to Optus on June 15th to July 9th to get away with the one month. It’s annoying as ever since I was a little kid watching Italia 90 every game has been on FTA live.

          As an aside AFL supporters complain about Carlton on a Friday night, well Russia v Saudi Arabia worse. If it must be the host is should have at least been Russia v Uruguay.

          • June 1st 2018 @ 10:20am
            Jude said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

            FIFA doesn’t set the match schedule based on TV ratings. Each fixture is totally random. The only thing that is set before the draw are the three dates and venues when Russia (host) plays. But the opponent was randomly drawn from seeded pots.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 1st 2018 @ 10:22am
            At work said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            Yeah Russia vs Saudi Arabia is a shocker of an opener match.

            • Roar Guru

              June 1st 2018 @ 11:08am
              Mango Jack said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

              Russia is a shocker of a host nation. In some ways worse than the next one.

              • June 1st 2018 @ 12:21pm
                Brian said | June 1st 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Nah Russia a proper football nation. Lev Yashin, Dasayev, Cherchesov. The old USSR made it to the semis etc. Its also a big nation with lots of cities.

                Yes there are political issues but you can’t compare it to a small country where women have to get their husbands permission to divorce, with slave labor building stadiums and having never made the World Cup before.

                Compared to Qatar Russia looks like the perfect host

            • June 1st 2018 @ 1:30pm
              Mark said | June 1st 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              In many ways, yes, but at least the tournament will get off to a positive vibe for the host population. It may not get any better for them.

          • June 1st 2018 @ 10:26am
            Ron said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

            The fixture is not set to maximise Tv ratings. Teams are randomly assigned to Groups. The highest seeded team is assigned #1 in the Group and the other 3 teams are randomly assigned numbers 2,3,4. So, the opening match was A1 vs A2. A1 is always the host. No one knew who A2 was going to be until the random draw. A2 could have been any team other than 7 other top seeded teams.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 1st 2018 @ 10:46am
              At work said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              double up

            • Roar Rookie

              June 1st 2018 @ 10:47am
              At work said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

              True, although as luck would have it the randomness of the draw has thrown up this match instead of Russia vs Uruguay.
              It’s just a stinker of a group really.

              • June 1st 2018 @ 10:55am
                chris said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

                lol – harsh but true!

          • June 1st 2018 @ 11:12am
            MQ said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            ONce upon a time, the opening games were often yawn fests or a minnow defeated the better credentialled team 1-0, which at least added some interest.

            In 2006, Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2 in a pretty entertaining game. I think that was the first year when they had the host in the opening game rather than the reigning champ.

            The 1-1 draw in 2010 between Sth Africa and Mexica may have got drowned out in the blare of the vuvuzelas.

            This year, both teams are poorly credentialled, that being the case, don’t be surprised if it ends up being a ripper of a game!

            • June 1st 2018 @ 12:13pm
              Brian said | June 1st 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

              The old system of opening with the champion was much better. Argentina losing to Cameroon in 1990, Brazil beating an enterprising Scotland in 1998, France losing in 2002.

              Now they have moved to the host they should at least setup a good opening game. I know it was somewhat random but Russia are there by design so why not the other team.

              If they stick with this for 2022 we could open up with Qatar vs Panama. Last week we had Real Madrid v Liverpool and now Russia v Saudi Arabia no wonder UEFA revenues are up and FIFA down.

              • June 1st 2018 @ 12:22pm
                Ron said | June 1st 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                How can you compare the Champions League final, which is a fixture involving the 2 teams who’ve proven the best in that competition over 9 months, to a random draw opening match of a FIFA world cup? The opening match at the Euro in 2016 was France vs Romania. The draw is random. Keep it random. No one cares what the opening match is except the 2 nations involved.

    • Roar Guru

      June 1st 2018 @ 8:10am
      Griffo said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      I haven’t checked but I’m hoping there is a two week trial for Optus like Foxtel Now – I can cancel before the trial is over when the later tournament starts.

      I almost activated the Foxtel trial until I found out about the Czech game being on One.


      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2018 @ 10:14am
        JamesH said | June 1st 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Lol they’d be pretty dense to allow a 14 day trial over the World Cup. If there is any sort of trial permitted it would probably only be for a day or two.

        • Roar Guru

          June 1st 2018 @ 11:12am
          Mango Jack said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          Fox offered free trials during tournaments like the rugby world cup. I guess they hope that a percentage will, intentionally or otherwise, not cancel their subscription and start paying for it. In any case, they’ve got your details and will pepper you with marketing material.

          • Roar Guru

            June 1st 2018 @ 1:15pm
            Griffo said | June 1st 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            That is mostly what I’m afraid of Mango Jack – unless using a temporary email you’re theirs for the duration if you don’t fork it over (or ‘out’)…

          • Roar Guru

            June 1st 2018 @ 2:15pm
            JamesH said | June 1st 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

            Optus did a free trial last year but unlike Foxtel it’s not something they seem to do regularly. I can’t find anything to suggest they would do it during the World Cup. I hope I’m wrong though.

            Optus Sport is also a lot more limited in scope and less established than Foxtel too, so the comparison doesn’t necessarily work.

    • June 1st 2018 @ 8:16am
      AGO74 said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      The technical challenges will be interesting. They struggled at the start and that was just with EPL. Optus overcame that but I suspect the demand will be much higher with the World Cup. Do they have the capacity to successfully stream without malfunction?

      question on chromecast for anybody who can answer it – what is the quality like? Is it equivalent to the HD when you are watching on phone/tablet? (I’ve been told to get cheomecast ultra for big screen).

      • Roar Rookie

        June 1st 2018 @ 8:43am
        Lamby said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        The Chromecast device displays in the resolution of the source. So you don’t need the 4k version for the World Cup. You might want it for Netflix as they have/will have 4k content – amusing you have a 4k tv.

        I quite like chromecast. You find the content from your phone/ipad (netflix, plex, youtube, Fulham TV) and you cast it. It offloads the content and you can turn the phone/ipad off (or give it to a child so you can watch in peace).

        • June 1st 2018 @ 8:58am
          chris said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          Hey thanks Lamby for that advice. I didnt know you could turn your phone off once you throw it up to the TV.
          Had never tried it.

        • June 1st 2018 @ 9:25am
          AGO74 said | June 1st 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          Thanks for the tip.

    • June 1st 2018 @ 8:25am
      Bolt1493 said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      I tried Optus at the start of the EPL this year. Getting 8mbs downstream on ADSL2 but only getting blobs on the screen. I persisted for a few games before “your Internet is not fast enough” error. Would have to be a massive improvement for the World Cup. I too will be waiting to see the volume of complaints before any purchase.

      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2018 @ 11:31am
        Matt H said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        This is the problem for me too. No NBN coming any time soon, assuming that works. My ADSL with Telstra is terrible. We often can’t even load normal websites, let alone streaming. Repeated complaints to Telstra over weeks on end have finished up with:

        1. The don’t have a minimum speed guarantee so if your speed is too slow, bad luck
        2. Apparently my speed is ‘within acceptable limits’. Obviously those limits don’t include steaming or watching Netflix.
        3. They gave me some extra data, which was #$%^&ing useless since the internet is so slow we can’t use even half our monthly data anyway.
        4. they told me to try using the internet at times when others aren’t using it. so basically when I’m not home and when no live shows I want to watch are on. Well done.

        4G costs a fortune to get any meaningful data level.

        If there is no NBN, no access to cable, how the heck am I supposed to get enough internet to watch?

        • June 1st 2018 @ 11:38am
          chris said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Matt I have similar complaints. Unbelievable that all these companies are basing their operating models on an infrastructure that cannot support it.

        • June 1st 2018 @ 11:50am
          Bolt1493 said | June 1st 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Sorry to hear about the poor internet trouble. Your issue is why the NBN started in the first place but they seemed to have largely stuffed it up because it should never have been operated by a government in the first place.

          My issue is slightly different. I can get full HD on Netflix with no problem and have multiple different sourced streams operating within the house simultaneously but Optus – No. i think their compression approach is the problem.

        • Roar Guru

          June 1st 2018 @ 1:16pm
          Griffo said | June 1st 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          I’m surprised they didn’t show you how far you are from the exchange, and that you can expect low bandwidth due to the distance…

          • June 1st 2018 @ 1:59pm
            chris said | June 1st 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            Oh I do get that old line. “Oh sir you are 1.5km from the exchange”
            Me: “And”?
            Them: “Well youre quite far”
            Me: “Should I move closer to the exchange?”
            Them: “Have a nice day sir and thank you for choo…..”

            • Roar Guru

              June 1st 2018 @ 4:09pm
              Griffo said | June 1st 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

              Yeah I got that once…a rocket needs to be fired up the proverbial as far as bandwidth goes, or at least the way it is presented in ‘plans’ and should be based on available capacity at peak on off peak times, location, etc. that shows the realisted download and upload speeds.

              We have NBN in the area but there are so many issues when connecting and phone dropouts I’m waiting as long as possible. I had such high hopes in the beginning 🙁

    • June 1st 2018 @ 8:36am
      me too said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      no idea what viewers sbs gets for their EPL games and have to admit it sounds a great deal for them and passive EPL fans, but I’d much rather it not have happened. Net speeds across the country aren’t yet reliable enough to cover such a big event. bound to be many complaints. I won’t be geeting it because speeds here aren’t good enough to warrant the bother. Hopefully sbs shows replays?

      • June 1st 2018 @ 9:02am
        chris said | June 1st 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        I’m also really concerned with streaming such a huge event. Our internet speeds collectively in Aus s*cks.
        Optus are going to get absolutely hammered with complaints I reckon.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 1st 2018 @ 8:37am
      Stevo said | June 1st 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Call me gullible or what but I’ve bought the Optus package to see how it goes. Looking forward to seeing how professional the coverage will be.

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