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Annoyances with Game Center Live. NHL’s streaming service for everything NHL is great, it’s the Netflix for hockey, with games added live as they happen. Because of Big Suits and Big Money, they blackout local games and try to advertise the service for hockey fans as a method of consuming out-of-market games (even though they must know it’s the unplugged generation mostly subscribing).

NHL Game Centre Live is not a cheap purchase, close to $200/season, but it was worth it for me.  I love watching hockey and I hate cable. The local blackouts are annoying as I (like most) do follow my regions team – but it’s not that big of deal as on-demand fits my new on-the-babys-clock lifestyle much more than watching live. I have to dodge scores and Canucks news, and keep a 2-day mental note of games past, but it’s not hard, and it’s worth the tiny bit of effort.

What I can’t stand are the non-commercial commercial breaks. This is just such a stupid, idiotic, non-real-world decision. It’s just painful. I understand why: as I said before games are added live. So Game A occurs live, feeds to GCL, a commercial break occurs, and they can’t show the regions/broadcasters ads nationally/globally, so just placeholder with the annoying graphic above. Once the games complete it’s now an archive and the fella’s at GCL move on.

What I don’t understand is when the game move from live to an archive: why can’t it be processed? Why can’t they add some meta tags to the feed: break start & break end and remove the block duration. Or why can’t they add a filter before the game becomes an archive: trim video where screen occurrence is break graphic.

“The technology isn’t there” isn’t an excuse. That’s not hard to do.

“It’s not worth the time, no one watches old games” I would really find that hard to believe in our VOD generation.

“Dude, why don’t you just fast-forward?” Yeah, obvious solution to a simple annoyance: the first answer to that is that I shouldn’t have to. The second is: it’s a very difficult task to fast forward 2-4 minutes in a 180 minute game using AppleTV 4th gen. The glass touch remote is nice for general use, but for precision panning, it’s useless and ends up in unwanted jumps that are far greater then intended. Normally Siri commands should work (use it in Netflix for precision panning), but of course Siri being Siri, it doesn’t work when/where you actually need it to “Not available” is the response in NHL app on AppleTV at time of this post.

I would rather watch a commercial, even if it’s just internal ads or fluff for NHL. I’d rather watch game highlights from years ago.. pieces put together for tributes to hall of famers, promos for upcoming games ..anything. Anything other than silence and rotating repetition. But I reckon Big Suit and Big Money signed some advertising no-internal-compete clause to continue end-user-annoyance and prevent NHL from being self sufficient.

I will tolerate it, I’m not about to cancel my subscription or go for a refund. Full disclosure I’ll probably subscribe next year, and the year thereafter. This is just a problem that could be an opportunity, that I hope NHL can recognize and fix to better user experience.


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