I promised it, so here we go. What was the first Sunday like testing out DirecTV’s live streaming iPhone app for the NFL's Sunday Ticket? Good. Not great, not bad, just good. It certainly isn’t $350 good as many gadget sites say it costs when you count for the price of the Sunday Ticket package on your DirecTV bill. Of course, I got five months of free programming when I signed up so I’m actually ahead on the deal.As a stand-alone app however there’s a lot to like.
Before we get to the quality of the live streaming, let’s just talk about how damn good the layout of the app is. You open it up and it takes you right to a menu screen of every game for the week and the current score. Click on any of them and it brings you to a sub menu where you can either watch that game live, watch highlights or check stats.
For stats junkies it does a very good job of displaying everything you're looking for so if your fantasy league doesn’t have its own terrific app — like Yahoo’s — this will come in handy. Now, about that live streaming…When you launch a live stream it takes about 20 seconds for a very distorted image to become clearer as everything buffers. I’m assuming anyway. Then you get some decent images. The problem is, unlike baseball, football features footage of many players at once from far away as they line up to take a snap. That’s when the quality shows its weakness. Up close everything looks above average for where technology is today.
My question would be how well it works away from wi-fi as I tested this on my couch and in my yard. I walked out past my signal and on 3G only the fuzzy, non-crisp picture would load. I didn’t stand there long enough to see if it would get better after a couple of minutes, but will check next week on 3G signal strength.
However, I did find a terrific use for the app that more than makes it worthy of downloading. I went to grille dinner during the second game, and even though the Redskins/Giants game was on locally, that’s what I wanted to watch. I launched the stream, held the iPhone in one hand, and turned the kabobs with the tongs in my other hand.
Of course, the grille is within my wi-fi range. Check out more photos below.
Game menu where you can pick highlights from slider