Free Trial of WatchAFL

Paat K's picture

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WatchAFL is offering a free trial through March 23rd. You will be able to watch all this year's NAB AFL Women's matches (except the Women's Grand Final. The free trial ends March 23rd, WGF is March 25th.) and JLT Community Series games (men's preseason) for free! (you do have to sign up with a credit card or PayPal and cancel before 11:59 PM Australia time on March 23rd or they will start charging your account). There are also Android and Apple apps in the app stores. Go to https://www.watchafl.com.au/ for the details. Our TV schedules page has complete schedules for WatchAFL, Fox Soccer Plus (FSP), and other networks posted now. All JLT Community Series matches will be live on FSP with repeats. The official press release is attached to the full version of this article (click on "more:" if you are reading this on the home page).


Among the points made by the formal announcement are:

  • Every match, live or on demand
  • Coverage from the beginning of the Women's season and the AFL preseason
  • All of the FOX studio shows: AFL360, On the Couch, etc.
  • Support via the WatchAFL website and apps for Android and iOS devices
  • Support for Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast for all video so that video can be sent to a nearby TV with proper support


The cost is not mentioned but appears to be essentially the same as in 2016: $149 for the season or $28 per month or $17 for one week. Three quotes are included:

FOX SPORTS CEO Patrick Delany said: “We know how passionate AFL fans are about their footy. They live and breathe the sport. That’s why we will ensure AFL fans living abroad, or travelling overseas, can watch their team, every week, along with FOX SPORTS’ award-winning AFL shows and the most loved commentary team in the business. We also recognise the growing number of AFL fans around the world. The innovative new Watch AFL service will deliver AFL to more markets, across more platforms reaching more fans than ever before.”

Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp said: “This is a moment to cherish for the proselytising of a great sport globally and for distant football tragics. I look forward to watching Essendon’s renaissance in the coming season wherever I happen to be in the world.”

AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said: “The AFL and our partners FOX SPORTS are thrilled that all games and Fox Footy shows will be available to our fans who live or are travelling overseas. All our games live and on-demand, including the Toyota AFL Premiership Season and Finals Series, NAB AFLW and JLT Community Series, plus all the favourites that fans get to watch in Australia like AFL 360, On the Couch and other great FOX SPORTS programming will now be available for the first time in the new offering. The AFL is delighted to have such a great partner for our international rights and believe this is a great step for our fans outside Australia.”

AFANA has updated the TV info and schedule pages accordingly and further details will continue to be added there.



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Comments

Rob's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

It should be noted that control of WatchAFL has passed to FOX Sports, which may help with the site's reliability.

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Thanks for that reminder. It is noted on our TV schedules and info pages but was overlooked here. We'll see how much difference it makes.

-Rob
AFANA Site Admin

Swans5000's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Well...Double Disaster today...Firstly, the new Watch Footy site would not accept ANY of my log in info that I have used for years...So..I came here to AFANA to see if anyone else was having similar..Then..AFANA refused to accept my log in details which I have used here without change for 11 years!!!! When I requested New Password all I got was..."dennis.bclue@gmail is not allowed to get new password"... So..reluctantly I have had to register totally anew...I guess the same applies for Watch Footy..Really irritating as I have used both site for a very long time...

Dennis...

Jake's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

I had a similar issue with the WatchAFL site. As a Global member of an AFL team, a free sub to WatchAFL is included.

First off, my old login info no longer works on the site. That's fine. New ownership, I suppose.

So when I finally got my e-mail two days ago with my access code to redeem my free sub, a number of things went wrong as I tried to create a new account and redeem the code.

First, the specific link they gave goes to a blank page. No problem, I figure... I'll just go to the main Join page. But the code they gave me to redeem showed as "not valid".

Again, no problem... I'll just write them at the e-mail address they include. An e-mail address that was mis-spelled in their instructions! Didn't realize it until I got the e-mail bounced back about 8 hours later. (They had it as watc...@foxsport.com.au when it should be watc...@foxsports.com.au.)

I figured out what the typo was and sent another e-mail. This time, I got a response saying, in essence, "Yeah, there's an issue. You must use the link we gave you, but it doesn't work at the moment. We're working to fix it and we'll let you know."

A tad frustrating, but at least it's a known problem on their end.

Bob's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

 It does seem the new system didn't carry our account information over, but it wasn't a big deal creating a new account with the same information.  I  didn't encounter your other problem. Still using the same AFANA logon information I've used for years. 

mattdk's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Yeah Dennis, its a completely new company now so I doubt they would have your login info. Just setup a new one. It takes 1 minute and is worth it for the increased quality of being broadcast by Foxsports now.

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Dennis,

I don't think anything is wrong with your previous logon so far as I can tell. Do you want that password reset?

Most likely, something transient triggered a security violation on the server. A password reset should fix it and I can move your new posts over to your old account.

We go out of our way here to help users. All you needed to do was let us know and we will help.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

Dennis James's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Hi Rob...That was the problem..I could not sign in here in order TO ask for help..So had to re register..Which will be fine for now...

Dennis...

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

No one needs to sign in to ask for help. Not sure why you would think that.

Click on "Feedback" on the menu across the top.

Click on "General Feedback".

Complete the on screen form, submit.

Nevertheless, if you need the password reset for the old account, that can be done. "OK" is all it takes in response.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

Jake's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

I see a new app and updated WatchAFL page has been created.

The most exciting thing about that is that I notice Fox footy shows are now available as part of a WatchAFL subscription... The Bounce, AFL 360, On the Couch and Open Mike.

I was already very happy with WatchAFL, but this makes it even better if you're into the weekly commentary and news shows.

The only thing they're lacking is native apps for Roku and Apple TV. Part of being "discoverable" is being on the services where cord cutters and non-cord cutters alike are spending part of their time.

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

We'll have to wait and see if the access to all of the Fox Footy material continues but so far, so good. Fans have asked for those for years and it didn't seem possible however perhaps having News Corp entities at both ends has helped along with some common sense solutions by the AFL.

I agree that a native Roku and Apple TV app would be another great step forward.

During the match last night, there seemed to be some teething problems with the video feed but hopefully that is all they are.

One problem so far is that some users have had trouble with the Chromecast feature in the app. Thus far, it does not seem to work consistently but hopefully that gets resolved quickly.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

madmadworld's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Rob thanks for all you do.

Today for the update about the app's. I dreamed of the day of not using a computer to watch the watch AFL site. 
The new much improved site now is the biggest step forward ever for us fans. Was just shocked to be able to just watch the live channel, it kept me wake...lol
2017 best season Ever

Footy fan in USA since 1969. Best Team Sport on This Planet

madmadworld's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

Good news, got the app working on this Android box (below) I had bought to see some real 4k off my big Satellite dish. The picture not as good as I watched yesterday on a computer on the live stream . Could be the settings on this little box, as I never tried the Android part of it.

10 minutes later...
playing with it now on my old TV somehow got to "cast" to my new TV. it is a 360 show and the picture is good. pretty cool
http://www.ebay.com/itm/K1-Plus-DVB-T2-S2-S905-Quad-Core-Android5-1-OTT-TV-Box-4K-H-265-Player-/301956515843?hash=item464e02c803:g:WboAAOSw1KxXNVpt

Footy fan in USA since 1969. Best Team Sport on This Planet

Bob's picture

Re: Free Trial of Watch AFL

So I just finished watching my first replay with the new Fox Watch AFL coverage (Bulldogs - Dockers), and it was 110% better than last year.  The picture and sound were perfect with no need to start each quarter individually like last year.  Even got to watch the Aussie commercials. I watch with a Chromebook attached to my HDTV, and last year something changed with about 4-5 weeks left in the season which prevented the Chromebook from streaming the replays anymore. Neither Rightster or I were able to determine whether it was their problem or a change to the Chrome OS.  No problem this year though.  It was perfect. So far, two thumbs up. 

daddyodilly's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

I am enjoying the new look for Watch AFL on my desktop computers and smart phone.  I am delighted to finally be able to watch the Fox Footy channel as seen on television in Australia.  The 24/7 channel on Watch AFL in past years was similar but this is the same channel as seen down under.  Also amusing are the domestic commercials for Australian brands and retailers!  I've yet to watch a complete game on demand so I am interested to see how it will work to watch the game straight through without having to cue each quarter,  if the connection holds well, buffering, etc.  I have to make a confession:  When I first registered with the new Watch AFL I made a TYPO on my email address.  Not knowing what the typo was I could not log in.  But the good folks at Watch AFL were accessible by email and they made the correction for me.  It delayed my successful log in by a week during which time I was biting my nails.  My fault. 

mattdk's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

 Fingers crossed they also stop the annoying filler videos they used to have! I'd have rather watched Australian ads than the same stupid review/promo video over and over. Used to drive me crazy. 

mattdk's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

I'm not sure if anyone else is as excited about Foxsports having the rights now, and Rightster being given the flick, as I am. 

Having endured years of shocking quality from Rightster I'm stoked. I even wrote Gillion McLachlan a letter he had to sign for to complain about it. Who can forget it cutting out in the last quarter of the 2013 Grand Final? Where the game was even and when it came back on the game was done.

Just looking at the quality of the videos of some trial games it is super HD. The painful thing with Watch AFL before was that in 720p the quality was not high enough to HDMI into a TV so you had to sit around a laptop with friends. When they switched to 1080p last season for some games it cut out so much it wasn't worth it.

One thing, normally you get a free membership when you sign up as a global member of your team but currently for the Lions at least the global membership is not available yet. This is pretty good value historically.

On the topic of quality anyone notice that even on television FS1/FS2 that it cuts out a fair bit? I guess its being sent a long way but still. 

Just to repeat so super stoked they took the rights off those ***bags at Rightster who seem to be going broke and changed their name recently. I must have emailed their support 100+ times to complain. Sometimes the video player itself would break, other things it was practically impossible to use. 

Mark Dillman's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

I had pretty consistent reception on Watch AFL from Rightster except on my smart phone. On my two computers at home, one of which is connected to our big screen TV, the connection was consistently good and only rarely had jerky pictures. During those years I had two smart phones at different times and very frequently just lost connection trying to watch games. But this new Fox version is really noticeably better. The pictures are sharper and brighter on live and on-demand games and especially on the 24 hour channel. And the audio is clearly in stereo. My one contact with their tech support was positive. So far I'm really happy. And if Fox Sports 1 & 2 keep up with one game each every week I can keep telling friends where to watch at home.

Jordan's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

Rightster were a thousand times better than the mob they replaced years back... I think they were called Livesport.tv? It would only work on computers in Flash video, live streams would buffer forever and ever, and replays weren't posted until days later! Their support was terrible and I'd be so furious every time I tried to stay up late to watch a live match. With all its glitches, Rightster was an absolute God-send!

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

Whatever change happens, it will please some and displease others. I am sure, before the season is over, we will get complaints about the new service. Never fails. Not in 21 years.

BTW, please watch your language. This is a family board. I edited your message this time but next time, it will get unpublished per our terms and conditions.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

Matt's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

Yeah I'm sure it works OK for some and not others but I had a super fast connection and my friends here complained about it a lot also.

There is def a relationship being the technical infrastructure and the constantly improving video quality. Higher quality = more bandwidth.

I also watch the NRL and with a VPN you can watch it for free on livestream. So its about time the AFL caught up, and Livestream is free. I also found foxsoccer2go to be very patchy.

The quality of games on TV being a little scratchy is weird though. It's like they are simply accessing a similar stream to we can online.

Anyhow, I work in technology and its a tough job for one of these services to provide solid quality over the whole world. But when you watch things on espn.go and its high quality you kind of expect the same because you know it's possible.

Fingers crossed the new foxsports coverage is awesome and also that with a global membership to your club you get it for free, even though if the quality is good I'd be happy to pay triple for it.

MontanaMac's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

 It seems the reviews here of WatchAFL are pretty good.  The iOS app reviews aren't so great.

Love the game and want to watch with a quality picture.  Right now, I use AFL Live, but that is low image quality and often stops to buffer.  I can also get Fox Soccer Plus, but on Dish network it is just standard def.

What kind of broadband download speed is required for a good smooth feed?  You WatchAFL subscribers, what is your download speed?  I get about 10Mbit, so I'm concerned that may not be fast enough.

Thanks!

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

Not sure how to answer this. AFL Live! has matches during preseason only and isn't a full service unless you live inside Australia (I suppose you could access it with a VPN). They also have radio feeds. WatchAFL is a full video service available only outside Australia.

As to the WatchAFL vs. Fox Sports question, without rehashing past discussions, it comes down to your priorities and relative cost. With FS2, there is no cost above your cable subscription (typically). So free for 1 to 2 games a week. With FSP: you will get 1 to 4 games a week typically for an average of $15 a month for 8 months (Feb. to Sept) or about $120 a season. The games will be on your cable or satellite only and are provided in HD where your carrier supports this [and almost all do for FSP but not for FS2]. You can use your DVR with it.

With WatchAFL you get every game is up to HD depending on your internet connection. They can be watched on multiple devices but have to be "cast" to a bigger screen. The cost is $150 per year for every match or $28/month if you pay by the month. The right solution? Depends on your personal preference and wallet. On a per match basis the cost is a wash but some like the choice of every match and delayed playback Others prefer the convenience of not having to mess with a tablet or tie up your smartphone for hours.

From AFANA's standpoint, we need both. Why? Because Fox Sports 2 expands the audience at a cost no greater than the current cable payment -- which allows us to bring new fans into the fold. Absolutely essential. FSP adds more matches at an incremental cost and you can usually add or drop it at will. WatchAFL caters to the existing fan base by letting them get every game of interest to them. It does not expand the audience or help those of limited financial resources. It is overpriced by comparison to other sports.

What is watching a particular game each week worth to you? That is a value judgment only you can make and it will be different for different fans. Your Mileage May Vary as the auto ads use to say. You decide and respect that others may have different choices. We want every fan to get a solution right for them and we want more fans every week because growing the fan base is essential to the future of the sport on TV.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

daddyodilly's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

 very well put!

Jake's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

I get 80Mbps download, so that's nice for WatchAFL. They recommend at least 3Mbps, but I think that would be terrible.

The one problem with WatchAFL is that they use "adaptive streaming technology" which means it will automatically deliver what it feels is the best quality given your current network connection. You'd think that's a good thing, but I know from having had a slower service that while you may have a "max" of XX Mbps, it can vary and you're often lucky to reach the peak they say you can get. That gets very frustrating when your picture quality is bouncing between good and bad because you're not getting a steady XX and WatchAFL is constantly trying to adapt the stream for you.

When you say you have 10, is that with a service where, if other people in the neighborhood are using the service (like in the evening), your speed drops? That can be a scenario when you're using a phone company's DSL rather than cable.

What I don't like about WatchAFL is that they no longer give you the option to set the video quality yourself. They used to have that option, but not anymore. Still, I think the current version of WatchAFL and the addition of the footy shows makes this the best version of WatchAFL we've ever had. I don't have cable TV or a dish, so it's my only source for games.

I would be a bit hesitant to go with WatchAFL if I had 10Mbps, though, only because I'd not trust it to be a consistent 10, especially if your speed is affected by the number of other people in your area heavily using the internet at the same time. If WatchAFL is still offering a free trial period during the pre-season, it might be worthwhile to try it out and see if your 10Mbps is giving you the quality you want. If not, you might actually be happier with an consistent SD feed on FSP. (Assuming they get the broadcasting contract for this season worked out.)

MontanaMac's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

Thanks so much for the comments and information.  

I tried to watch FSP in standard def, but when the camera is zoomed out, it's hard to even tell the players apart. (still can't believe Dish charges $15/mo for this)

I have an AFL Live pass, since I am a Telstra customer.  It is not supposed to be used outside Australia, so maybe that's why it is so pixelated and slow.  Perhaps a pass purchased for outside AU would work better.

For me then, I really didn't have any other choice.  I went ahead an signed up with WatchAFL, figuring at least I had a week to try the free trial and see how it works.
I am pleasantly surprised!  It worked better than I imagined and I was very impressed with the picture quality.  There were very few times that the video switched to a lower quality so that it was visibly noticeable. I actually appreciate the adaptive streaming, since it means that the stream is much less likely to simply stop and buffer--I'd rather have 10 seconds of pixelated video than the annoying stop and start of buffering.  It is also nice to get the other Fox Footy shows too, and fun to see the Australian commercials.

When I say i get 10M, I do mean on average-- sometimes it's 14M and other times it's 7M.  I'm sure the speed variation is due to other traffic on my feed.

Overall then, I would give WatchAFL a positive review.  So far, the iOS app is working well, and it Airplays to an AppleTV flawlessly (something AFL Live does not allow).  I do hope they are working on an AppleTv app, but that's not absolutely necessary.

Jake's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

I've asked for a specific Apple TV app in the past and did so again a few weeks back. I made the last request to the AFL directly through my Swans membership (where we get a WatchAFL sub as part of an International membership).

They just don't seem interested and keep telling me it's not in their plans. Discoverability on Apple TV or Roku seems like a foreign concept to them. But as you say, AirPlay through Apple TV works well. I've actually connected an old Mac Mini to my TV and watch games through a browser which also works great.

I think this is the best year of the service. Getting the footy shows, to me, is huge. And the streaming quality this year has been really good. I've also found the women's games to be entertaining.

I'm happy WatchAFL works well at your internet speed. You make a good point that some signal is better than stop/start buffering. You never really know if it will come back, or you need to refresh.

Enjoy the season!

admincms's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

The best avenue to request the app is via Fox and WatchAFL There is a small chance someone on the WatchAFL side gets it. I doubt the AFL understands since Roku is essentially non-existent in Australia and AppleTV has a small presence. AFANA will continue to emphasize the value of doing this as we have for several years.

-Rob
AFANA Founder and Site Admin

Jake's picture

Re: Free Trial of WatchAFL

WatchAFL were the first people I asked when the changeover to Fox took place and they said there were no plans for an app like that, then told me all the other ways I could rig-up a system to get it on my big TV. (AirPlay, hook up laptop to TV...)

To the AFL's credit, when I sent them the e-mail, they forwarded it on to WatchAFL and CC:d me. At least they didn't just ignore my e-mail. But that would make it appear that, as I think you're saying, the decision about an app doesn't rest in the AFL's hands.

Certainly Gillon McLachlan cracking the whip to get AppleTV/Roku/FireTV/ChromeCast/Xbox/Playstation/SmartTV apps is more important than managing the latest Essendon headache, right? Eye-wink

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