Picture This

DirecTV’s Supercast Stages Big Comeback

9/17/2007 11:00 AM

After dropping the ball last week, DirecTV made a very nice recovery yesterday with its Internet-based, NFL Sunday Ticket live-game offering.

And for me, not a moment too soon: I was visiting relatives Sunday afternoon and was only able to access all of the out-of market National Football League’s games via Sunday Ticket’s Supercast web service. My overall sanity that afternoon was dependent on whether DirecTV was able to get its Supercast service working as efficiently as the Indianapolis Colts’ offense after crashing and burning in its first foray offering live games on the Web. 

The result was technical touchdown for DirecTV … and my sanity.

From the moment I signed on at around 2 p.m. to watch the New Orleans-Tampa Bay contest until I signed off after 7 p.m. with the Oakland-Denver overtime game, DirecTV’s execution was flawless in moving me from game to game in a relatively short amount of time.

But honestly, I found myself spending most of my afternoon watching DirecTV’s innovative Red Zone channel, which gives you live look-ins at any game that has a team in position to score a touchdown.

The channel also provided highlights of virtually all of the games, which allows sports fans like myself to keep up-to-speed on the afternoon’s action.

Meanwhile, the broadband video offering of the games, while not HD quality, was certainly near standard television quality without the uncomfortable-to-watch jerky player movements or pixilated images usually associated with web-based, live sports content.

Last week DirecTV officials sent out a statement saying that “unprecedented demand” for the $99 Supercast function caused technical difficulties that prohibited some subscribers from gaining access to the package’s Sept. 10 online games. DirecTV went on to say that it was “in the process of communicating with affected customers and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”

At least from this Supercast subscriber’s perspective, the message received was that the service if finally ready for prime time.