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As a Canadian I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I "could" subscribe to ITVN but from what I understand you have to agree to a contract to get the box for free. The problem is that "if" Setanta Canada actually manages to launch this year and "if" my Cable company, Shaw Cable, actually decides to carry it half way through the season, I'd be stuck with a box I would no longer want but would be stuck paying for. On the other hand, if I don't get subscribe to ITVN and Setanta Canada is never actually available for me I end up missing early rounds of the AFL season and possibly won't be able to see any footy at all this year. Also, I have an HDTV. If I subscribed to that ITVN service, is the picture offered in Widescreen? Not nessasarily HDTV but at least anamorphic widescreen, just as most Standard Definition programming in both the UK and Australia currently is. I'm assuming that it is probably not which is a real bummer. I love the fact that Seven, Ten, Nine, Foxtel all broadcast games in Widescreen but from what I understand we do not get these feeds in North America (I know they never did on Fox Sports World Canada anyhow). It really is no wonder to me why some of the, shall we say, less than legitimate sources for AFL game coverage is flourishing on the net. It is really the only viable option for fans like myself. I wish that weren't the case because I'd be tottally willing to pay up to $200-$300/year for LIVE, Widescreen AFL coverage.
Posted by Swans500 on April 13, 2007

Mcpish....I have ITVN for footy purposes. It all depends on your internet speed. I have to run it on the lowest bit-rate to get a steady feed even though I have 1.50mbs. Any higher and it keeps buffering.

I also have an HDTV and the result is rather washy on that so I use my old analog TV for Setanta and it looks quite reasonable, certainly WAY better that nothing, and I have got through the games with no drop-outs or any other problem. 

No, not a wide-screen the USA not even the NFL has got into w/screen yet...ot the news or most of the network programming. Amazing to be so far behind Oz and UK?!

Overall , in your situation, I would urge you to take the risk and do the ITVN thing rather than lose the entire season.


Dennis James, Pittsburgh.

Posted by admincms on April 13, 2007

Whether to subscribe now really comes down to how badly do you want the footy?   Treat any possible cancellation cost for ITVN as part of the equation.  If you are willing to spend $X or more to get the footy (including any cancellation cost) for a few months then it's a no-brainer.  Get ITVN and keep it as long as you need it.  If the cost is too high, then don't.  

I watch the coverage on a wide-screen analog TV.   My TV is left by default in that  mode and it works fine but ITVN isn't going to give you HD right now.  As we note in the TV FAQ,  HD will come but not this year.   It's simply too expensive to feed all those bits live and too few international customers are in a position to utilize it.   Not all the matches are being recorded in HD yet in Australia -- it's a network by network thing.   I expect that will change over the next season or two.  For the record, the taped coverage is 16:9 source video but was deliberately downconverted for North America, which is part of the reason the picture quality was so crappy when it was on Fox Soccer Channel (which in turn supplied Fox Sports World Canada).  As far as anamorphic widescreen vs the 4:3 format, the lesson here is that ITVN takes the Setanta US feed.  They feed their channel to match the viewing needs of the overwhelming majority (or perceived majority) of the DirecTV viewers.  That will change, too, in a few years.  With the mandatory conversion of over the air broadcasting in the US to digital by Feb.19, 2009 it will drag us along the format curve as well. 

There is no defense (really) for illegal file sharing but that shouldn't be read to mean I don't understand why fans are doing it.  Some are doing it out of desperation because they can't get the coverage any other way.   I wish we could make wider distribution happen right now but we can't.   I suppose I have a "longer" view of things because after a dozen years of working on this, I try to remember how far we have come and the frustrations we've faced along the way.    Most of the fans who watch now weren't footy fans in 1995 or before and don't remember those days or have only romantic memories of the early 1980's on ESPN.  What is forgotten is that ESPN was in so few US homes in 1980 that it pales by comparison to where Setanta is now.

Setanta on ITVN has 3 servers to choose from and I suggest trying all of them if you have low speeds or dropouts.   I find #2 or #3 work better for me than server #1.
Posted by mcpish on April 13, 2007

Thanks for the comments. About the whole NFL thing though, I know I receive High-Definition Widescreen games of the NFL during the regular season :-) I just find it so strange how North America is so far behind in that regard for even adopting widescreen programming. You guys are right, not everything in the UK and Australia is HD but almost 100% of programming is Standard Definition Widescreen both through digital terrestrial broadcasts and satellite platforms like Foxtel and Sky. The UK/Australia did the digital upgrade the "smart" way compared to North America. When they adopted digital broadcasting at the start of the decade they immiediatly adopted Widescreen even if they couldn't yet broadcast in HD unlike North American that stuck with 4:3 on digital platforms until full HD rollout.
Posted by admincms on April 13, 2007

I suppose if you read the "industry" press like I do you might not think that UK or Australia did it the smart way.  There is the argument that the result was a double conversion when only one was needed (at twice the cost to industry and consumers) and there is a lot of angst in Australia that they are falling behind the rest of the world.   There is still no firm conversion date for HD in Australia and some talk it won't be before 2012.

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