Tom Brady Watched Last Year's Super Bowl Via Illegal Stream… And Probably Had A Better Experience Than Anyone Watching NBC's Official Stream

from the so-it-goes dept

With ICE seizing a bunch of websites that were planning to stream this year’s Super Bowl, plenty of people had their ears perk up when Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady admitted that he watched last year’s Super Bowl via an unauthorized streaming site online. While his view this year was a bit more up close and personal, lots of people were talking about how NBC Universal finally decided to offer up an official stream of the game — about a decade later than it should have done so. Of course, reports from users were that — in typical NBC Universal fashion — the experience was dreadful. Even more ridiculous? The livestream didn’t show most of the commercials because apparently NBC Universal wanted them to pay extra to do so. So, instead, those who watched online “received a heavy dose of the same ads over and over again.” In other words, the online experience was worse. Of course, since they have less competition (thank you US government!), NBC has little incentive to improve the product, so expect it to suck for a few more years now that they’ve finally decided to show the game online.

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Comments on “Tom Brady Watched Last Year's Super Bowl Via Illegal Stream… And Probably Had A Better Experience Than Anyone Watching NBC's Official Stream”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Yeah, it kind of sucked

I watched the NBC stream. The real problem was the lack of commercials, which supposedly is a big driver for viewership, and the fact that they kept repeating the same commercial over and over again (which featured Dwight from The Office begging me to click on his body).

That said, NBC got a lot right with their stream. It was HD quality (or close, anyway). And the cool part of the web app they use is that during the commercials it shrinks the video size automatically and shows you a live chat session with either Mike Florio (good football analyst) or Jimmy Kimmel (good SNL skit destroyer and general annoyance). Either way, there was a true connection there for football fans or NBC personality fans.

That said, I’m surprised NBC didn’t just automatically roll in stream ads into their current offering without even giving the choice for broadcast only. You want to buy a broadcast ad, you buy the stream ad too, no choice. If they did it that way, they might get a few less advertisers, or have a bit less of a premium on the space, but they could have just streamed their own TV broadcast rather than doing 2 different ad segments, while also building their online streaming brand.

Don’t be too hard on them though. NBC got this one way more right than wrong….

Anonymous Coward says:

Yeah, it kind of sucked

Warner Brothers recently put up Lois and Clark on their website to be freely watched, something that, at one time, couldn’t even be purchased at the stores for those who wanted to watch it, so it’s a minor step in the right direction. The big media cartels still need a ton of work adapting and being more friendly to ward off their bad reputation (I remember seeing on the news a while ago that viewer audience rations are at an all time low because people are very dissatisfied with mainstream television and mainstream news), and copy protection laws certainly needs changing, but at least the media cartels are somewhat moving in the right direction, albeit very very slowly.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

What about Canada?

I was at a restaurant with my family on Super Bowl ™ Sunday and I wanted to find out the score in the game. There was no television nearby so I pulled out my iPad and tried to find a legal stream of the game. It took my about 5 minutes to realize that standing up, going around the corner to the bar and looking at the score was going to be much easier.

Once again, people seem to forget that this Internet thingy goes across national boundaries and that limiting the access to a set of IP addresses that seem to be located in a particular country is a pile of < insert derogatory phrase here >.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Why can't the networks do streaming right?

My daughter watched tv shows exclusively online through netflix & the various streams from the networks themselves. I’ve noticed that most (all?) of the network streams are truly awful. The players are buggy, things crash, there is a lot of random lagginess, and audio/video sync has issues.

This baffles me. Why can’t the networks get this right?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Why can't the networks do streaming right?

>>This baffles me. Why can’t the networks get this right?

I would add the complaint that they often run the same annoying ad over, and over, and over. It is usually highly targeted to the shows’s demographic, and that means it is even more annoying when you are not in that demographic.

The only explanation I can think of as to why they do their online shows so poorly is that none of the executives watch them streaming, or if they do watch a stream is on some internal company streaming system that doesn’t suck. My guess is that the executives think of the streaming side of their business as some kind of niche market and they don’t realize how many people want their shows that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Someone is going to step up and give the public what it wants and crush the competition. I know I am going to get bashed for saying this but at the heart it is true and everyone realizes it. In the middle of the 90’s when every single news analysis show was stating the exact same point even though half the country disagreed – A company called Foxnews stepped up and buried the competition and now is regularly burying broadcast competition even though it has a 25% viewer gap. The time is ripe for one of these media giants to step up and commercialize the same thing everyone is craving for and put half the competition out of business. So who is it going to be?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Yeah, it kind of sucked

Still, since Apple with their ad way back Super Bowl ads have become the pinnacle of advertising creativity, expense and placement costs.

Too often, the ads have been better than the game itself.

NBC, and other broadcasters, need to learn that there are some occasions where it’s at least one of the ad’s that’s the star of the show. And that holds true for the Super Bowl. That said, they should be shown.

Jay (profile) says:


A company called Foxnews stepped up and buried the competition and now is regularly burying broadcast competition even though it has a 25% viewer gap.

Uhm… Fox News is a propaganda machine for conservatives. People disagree with Fox because statistically speaking, they are the most ill informed of all news watchers. This is a consistent thing.

Now that you have more progressive news channels out there, Fox is going to lose its luster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yeah, it kind of sucked

I couldn’t agree more. It was a step in the right direction, but how do you kill unofficial streams when you exclude all but a certain few. I couldn’t watch it on my boxee. I wasn’t going to muck around with it on linux. I don’t have Verizon so the mobile version was out. BBC was streaming it in a flash player but of course I’m not in GB.

Come on everyone can view youtube; get with the program.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We always hear about how illegal streaming and copyright infringment hurts the little guy, the worker.
Here we have a worker who contributed to the downfall of his industry, why have they not sent ICE to arrest him?
Or is this that double standard like when the head of one of the labels admitted his children had downloaded music and he gave them a stern talking to while he was funding witch hunts seeking millions in damages from people who did the same thing.

Its just like the use of the N word.
You have a group that claims it is completely wrong and offensive, unless it is a member of their group who uses it.
And while I might get smacked down for making the comparison, the point remains.
If it is that bad, making any exception is wrong.
Tom Brady admitted he consumed stolen content, unleash the dogs… or admit it only matters when the little people do it.

MattP says:

Yeah, it kind of sucked

You can provide a better experience with Silverlight video than you can with HTML5 and Flash.

With smooth streaming you encode several different bit rates and the client grabs each 2 second frame at the rate it can handle at that moment.

You talk about not wanting to install a plugin yet in your extensive list of alternatives you list a non ratified standard which would could involve a browser upgrade for users out there or another plugin that users may have to download.

Sonnyb says:

NBC's Super Bowl video streaming

I’m a Cox Cable subscriber in the Las Vegas, NV area. I was able to watch the Super Bowl online at NBC and was amazed by the quality of the video stream. I have Silverlight installed and the video stream fluctuated between excellent and average quality. Most of the stream was excellent. I was able to watch the whole game with no commercial interruptions. When the OTA broadcast broke for commercial the video stream just went blank or the sportscasters did comments for that period of time for that interval with a screen saying they would continue the game in a few minutes. I was impressed by the whole experience even though I was thinking I would have liked to have been able to watch the commercials. Toward the end of the game a box popped up in the top left hand corner of the screen that let me select the commercials that I wanted to watch, one after another. All of them! No complaints here as I am totally impressed by NBC’s presentation of the Super Bowl live over the internet.(It’s extremely rare for NBC to impress me!) I’m not sure why others had a completely different viewing experience. Maybe NBC tried different things in different areas of the country. I’m really surprised that my experience was pretty much the opposite of everyone else. If other networks were to offer a viewing experience like this people wouldn’t need to search for unauthorized sites to view this content.

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