Monday, March 20, 2006

CurlTv: Not Great but Not Horrible

Ms. Eclectic and I just signed up for a month's worth of CurlTv so we could watch the extra ends of the Women's Worlds and so we could watch all the round robin draws from the Men's Worlds in a couple of weeks. The price is $27.08 U.S. for a one-month "subscription" [which translates to about $329 Cdn, I think]. We figure we're going to get a lot of curling for the price (but we would much rather watch these matches on TSN or even, gulp, CBC). Tonight we watched Italy and Switzerland at the Women's Worlds (digression: the curling by these two teams was not particularly good).

The picture from CurlTv is pretty good for webcasting -- somewhat herky-jerky at times, but not tooo bad. We're viewing it on a 15" Toshiba laptop, and we have to shut down everything else to try to cut down on the jerkiness. I must say, it is somewhat unnerving to have the picture herk or jerk right at the end of a crucial shot.

[Update:: I have no idea why the picture was so jerky during that match. The folks at CurlTv helped me run some tests, and it seemed everything should be fine. And, indeed, during the Wednesday game between China and the Netherlands, there was no jerkiness. Also, the sound levels were a bit better this time, but they still need work (see below).]

The coverage of what is going on in the arena is pretty decent, too, with the skips of the two featured teams apparently miked [It was amusing to hear a couple of curlers singing along to a national anthem during the opening ceremonies before the first end].

One big drawback is that there are no slo-mo videotape or digital replays -- I expect they could add this feature with little difficulty (we had it with local telecasts of baseball that I did ten years ago). Another drawback is that there are no graphics showing the score and the number of rocks left; they have some graphics, but surely they can do a bit of programming to provide a bit nicer graphics. Also, this is pretty minor, but I miss the telestrator, showing us the options the teams are considering.

On a different level, the announcers are more boring than Mike Harris was when he first started [Alan and I could do at least as well], and the audio technician needs to listen to what is happening because the "colour" announcer can barely be heard, but the miked curlers are, by comparison, way too loud.

Is it worth the money? Maybe, if you are addicted to watching curling on tv the way we are; but there is considerable room for improvement. Ms. Eclectic thinks it's a deal despite all the drawbacks; I'm much more critical/skeptical.


At 3/23/2006 5:54 p.m., Blogger JeePaw said...

they must still be playing with the sound mix because most of the time the main guy is WAY TOO LOUD and the miked curlers are not. frankly, i could do without the play-by-play guys anyway and just listen to the players.....

iceless in olympia


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