Hopeless start to Spark RWC streaming

Spark winning the rights to broadcasting the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand meant I have had to pay a premium to watch any games I want to watch, as otherwise it would have been included in my Sky Sport subscription.

But I paid the $80, at least thinking that streaming meant that I could watch games at my convenience as opposed to at scheduled broadcast times.

I subscribed two weeks ago and had a quick test and it seemed to run ok.

I have unlimited fibre plan through Spark.

I am running it through my PC (connected via WIFI too my Spark supplied device) via an HDMI cable to my TV, which is a smart Samsung TV but more than a couple of years old so not supported by Spark.

I also did a quick test of the opening ceremony on Friday night and that seemed to run ok.

But as the first game (Japan v Russia) started late-ish I decided to stream it early this morning as that suited me better.

I got up just after 5 am and tried it. It didn’t start well. I could only get a badly broken picture. I switched from Chrome to Firefox, and it was a little better but still bad. So I switched back to Chrome and I got sound and picture, so settled in to watch.

The video quality at best was ok. he problem was that right through the first halve the streaming kept stopping every few seconds, sometimes momentarily, which was annoying, but sometimes for seconds, missing usually the most active play. That was bloody annoying.

I persevered until half time but was getting increasingly frustrated.

At half time I rebooted my PC and started it with just one program, Chrome. I did a Spark broadband speed test

According to Spark Sport: What broadband speed do I need?

We recommend that you have at least 15Mb/s download speeds to take advantage of our highest quality content, but if your speed is lower than this, the quality will adjust accordingly. A minimum of 6Mb/s download is required to support a Spark Sport stream.

To have a look at what your speed is, head over to speedtest.net and run the test on the device you plan to stream on, at a time and place where you would normally watch Spark Sport.

So I tried that speed test.

Spark also tries to answer Why is my stream buffering?

As Spark Sport is an online streaming service, there are several factors that could lead to you experiencing buffering issues. The quality of your streaming experience is determined by your broadband connection, your modem and where in the house it is located, the device you use and how many other devices in your home and neighbourhood are using the network at the same time.

Your network and connection

You will need a minimum of 6Mbps to be able to stream Spark Sport; we recommend at least 15Mb/s download speed to take advantage of our highest quality content.

So theoretically my Spark fibre connection should be more than good enough.

I tried watching the second half. It began the same as the first half, with pauses every few seconds.

Until the video stopped altogether and I only got audio.

So instead of watching I am typing this post. Bloody annoyed.

But before starting the post I tried to connect to Spark Sport help chat. I am still getting “Please wait, you are in a queue to speak to an agent.” I don’t know if I will speak to anyone before the second half is over. I have a house to paint.

I want to watch the All Blacks versus South Africa tonight, live. I’m not optimistic, but maybe streaming via peak viewing will be better.

But if Spark can’t provide adequate streaming on demand it will negate the advantage of streaming, and it will be a waste of money.

I often stream Netflix, Youtube, sometimes Parliament TV and other things with few problems, and nothing like the problems I have has streaming the RWC.

So far my experience with Spark Sport has been a dismal failure.

 

Dotcom starting court appeal

Kim Dotcom is back in the High Court today to begin what is scheduled to be a six week appeal of his extradition to the US.

He has also been appealing for sympathy around the world.

Newshub: Dotcom’s mega battle returns to court

Kim Dotcom is set to return to court today as he appeals a decision to allow his extradition to the United States.

A judge ruled in December there was overwhelming evidence the 42 year old and three co-accused had criminal charges to face over their part in running file-sharing website Megaupload.

The US government argued last September Dotcom and the others earned nearly $240 million by running a website funded largely by revenue from publishing copyright-infringing files.

During the 10-week extradition hearing last year, lawyers for the US said Megaupload had paid people to illegally upload copyright-infringing files and then charged others to watch them.
But Dotcom’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said the website was protected by a “dual-use” defence – where a company couldn’t be responsible for the illegal use of products with other legitimate purposes.

The four men have been locked in a protracted legal battle over the case since Dotcom was dramatically arrested in a Hollywood-style raid on his Coatesville mansion in 2012.

They face charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and two kinds of criminal copyright infringement based on an FBI investigation going back to 2010.

Dotcom has been actively promoting his case on Twitter, including:

@KimDotcom
Essential reading about my case:

1. The corruption: http://Kim.com/whitepaper.pdf

2. Harvard Law Prof expert opinion: http://www.techfirm.com/professor-less

And:

@KimDotcom
OMG! The US Government is scared of LIVE STREAMING!

RNZ: Dotcom seeks extradition case live-stream

Kim Dotcom is asking a High Court judge to allow his appeal against extradition to the United States to be live-streamed over the internet.

He said he wanted the public to see his lawyers “smash” the US case.

Mr Dotcom said the US government opposed the idea of live-streaming the case.

I don’t know if the judge has ruled on live streaming yet, I presume that will be done at the start of court proceedings today.

And I don’t know if the court is set up for live streaming.

How many people will be interested in six weeks of legal arguments, apart from the attention seeking Dotcom? The court will make it’s decisions regardless of Dotcom’s social media campaign to win world wide sympathy.

More on live streaming from RNZ: US fears only reason to reject Dotcom livestream – lawyer

The only reason Kim Dotcom’s extradition case would not be live-streamed is if the United States is afraid their case is not good, his lawyer says.

Mr Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken said the appeal was about whether a cloud storage provider could be responsible for the acts of its users.

He said it had worldwide relevance.

“People in New Zealand, as they do in the United States, are entitled to walk into the courtroom and sit down,” he said.

“This case has great importance across the globe. We don’t understand why it can’t be that anybody could watch this anywhere in the world.

“It only has to be because the United States is afraid that their case is not good, and it will be scrutinised, and they’re trying to avoid it.”

Mr Rothken said he was asking High Court Justice Asher to consider the idea.

So while Rothken takes a swipe at the US over live streaming all he is doing is asking the judge “to consider the idea”. It sounds like the US Government has no involvement in whether it will be live streamed or not.

I doubt that Judge Asher will be swayed by Rothken’s attempt to get world wide publicity.