It was another weekend of football around my house. With the Chicago Cubs going down in 3, my hope was for a good showing by my college teams and the Bears to win over the Lions.  All went well for my teams – and Dave was happy.

As I wrote up my experience with Live Streaming MLB Playoffs, I started to be upset at myself for not commenting on the better NFL experience.  So tonight, I am doing just that.

Sunday Night Football with John Madden and Al Michaels is a great way to wind down from the weekend for me.  The problem in my house has become the number of shows on Sunday nights that everyone wants to watch. It has made it difficult for me to just sit and watch, until I found out they were streaming the Sunday Night Football games online. How awesome is that, the NFL live and online?

Unlike the attempt by TBS and MLB for having MLB Playoffs Live Online , it seems that the NFL and NBC have done everything right.

Initial Sunday Night Football View

NFL Live on Sunday Night

As you can see, they give you a few views and the picture is very clear.  You can follow players around, watch the broadcast,  watch the cable cam, or pick the sideline cam. All give you great angles and if you dont zoom in on any one you can watch them all at the same time (not fully but you get an idea of what is going on everywhere).  When in this view (or even when zoomed in) and you mouse over either the right or left sides you are given the option to switch to a different view. This again, just makes it such a smooth UI to use.

The zoom feature brings up a larger blurry video that after a few seconds becomes as clear as the picture you get on your TV.

Large view of Sunday Night Football

You can see the zoom version above, but there is also a full screen mode that gives an even larger (and just as clear) picture. The only problem with this is that each time I jump to a tab or open a new program the full screen on the other monitor would switch back to just the zoom.

Commercials

This is the web, so you cant use your Tivo or DVR to skip over commercials. Luckily there arent that many of them, but when there are they are the same commercialls over and over from either Gillette or Sprint.  Once again, in the favor of the viewer is that they only play one commercial and then poof you flip back over to the game. Overall it isnt that bad.

Commercial during Sunday Night Football

The one thing that you get with the online version of Sunday Night Football that I believe (I dont recall them doing this as much while watching on the TV) is that they have quite a few “commercial breaks” that only have score updates.  I do admit that I need to watch more of SNF on the TV to be sure if this is a “web only” type of thing. Can anyone help?

Sportcasters during SNF Commercial break

Final Thoughts:

Sound Quality: Good

Usability: Great

Video Quality – Awesome

Streaming:Very few problems

The overall experience is great. There is a timer that appears from time to time that basically just checks to see if you are paying attention.   I think this was the third week that I have watched Sunday Night Football online and have yet to have a problem with sound/video or the streaming. I can count maybe 3 times that the connection went out, but it was for less then 10 seconds.

I really have no complaints except that they dont do this with more football games. How about it ESPN (Monday Night games online would be great).

UPDATE – 10/12/2008

I must say that tonight’s program was not as smooth as previous nights. The connection dropped out constantly, there were “buffer” issues it seemed, a period of time when the sound and picture were off and other random issues.  It actually became difficult to watch towards the end of the game.  Talk about disappointed.

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