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Tag: Versus

Watching le Tour Online – Followup

Posted by Alan at 7:44 PM on July 5, 2010

Okay, it’s been three days of watching the Tour de France online and my experience has been less than perfect.  The audio has been fine, but the video has been, mostly, bad.  The Prologue,  on Saturday, froze continuously while we tried to watch the On-Demand version.  Yesterday’s Stage 1 was pretty close to prefect.  Today’s Stage 2 was great until around 50km to go when the video began freezing – and I mean CONTINUOUSLY freezing – as in, I had to refresh the page to get the video started again and then it would freeze again within a minute or two.

I was on the verge of calling, or emailing, Versus to cancel and ask (or demand) for a refund.

But, I will give them props for beating me to the punch and sending out an email today answering what must have been a landslide of feedback about these issues.  They even got rid of the Autobahn plug-in that they had been using, and which may very well have been the source of these issues.

Below is posted the email I received from Versus today.

Dear Tour Tracker user,

First of all apologies for the problems over the last few days with the Tour Tracker service. We know that many of you have experienced problems and have contacted us through our support email or posted your feedback online. We’ve responded to many of you, but while we’ve worked on fixing these problems we know many of you have not yet received a response.

Due to the problems with the Autobahn plugin, after today’s stage we removed the video player and replaced it with one that does not require Autobahn. Initial reaction is that this has fixed the streaming problems. This was also why the On Demand video of todays stage was delayed.

Another issue (particularly for the prologue) has been the start time of the coverage. We start the coverage when the International TV broadcast starts, some days this includes the start, some days it does not – it depends on when the host broadcaster in France decides to start the broadcast. The feed goes up on the Tracker at the same time as anyone in the world gets a TV feed.

The daily schedule of broadcast times is now published on the FAQ page: http://tracker.versus.com/faq

The other issue that many of you have commented on is the audio feed and the lack of background noise. We’re frustrated with this as well. We’re working hard on a resolution to this with the host broadcaster in France to correct the problem.

We’re cycling fans too and understand that the problems over the past few days have been extremely frustrating, we appreciate your understanding and hope you will enjoy the rest of the tour without any further streaming problems with the service.

Regards,
The Tour Tracker Team.

Watching le Tour Online

Posted by Alan at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2010

While the world is buzzing about the Soccer World Cup and the vuvuzela, I will be following the OTHER big European sport – cycling.  Being a cycling fan in America isn’t easy.  While the big races are covered live on all of the big Euro TV networks, America has only sporadic coverage on Versus and Universal Sports.

Now, since I turned off the satellite for the summer because Lost ended, 24 ended, and football hasn’t started, I have had to scramble to watch bike races.  Video recaps are surprisingly not too hard to find online.  But now the granddaddy of all bike races is set to start this Saturday.  That is, of course, the Tour de France.  And, I want my full coverage – every stage, in it’s entirety.

The Tour has been covered daily in the US in recent years by the Versus Network, and they have done a great job.  But, no satellite, no Versus.  Enter the new beta version of their web site.  For $29.95 I can get full coverage of every stage in it’s entirety, both live and, thankfully, since stages start around 7-8am my time, on-demand.  It is being broadcast in “full” HD, even real-time GPS tracking of the riders!  It’s a geek/cycling fan’s dream-come-true!

In the past I have watched some video recaps and extras on the Versus website and the quality has been good.  So, I have high hopes for this.  I am plunking down my $29.95 and I will let everyone know what I think after the race actually gets started this weekend.  It should be an epic race this year so the coverage better also be epic!

Now, if I could just avoid all of those Twitter spoilers until I get home from work and actually watch that day’s stage….