First off, let’s just get this out of the way right now and hopefully reduce confusion come Saturday afternoon: Notre Dame @ Air Force is not, I repeat, NOT on CBS. The game will air on the CBS Sports Network which you may or may not have depending on your cable provider.
Here’s a pretty picture to help you remember:
Plan your day accordingly and don’t be confused as to why CBS is showing Uncle Verne and an SEC matchup.
Second, you may or may not be aware that Notre Dame released a Season Pass for the 2013 season via iTunes.
For me, this was a moment of great joy (sidenote to any FIDM person reading this: All-22 version of this would be the best thing ever — seriously, name your price); however, in talking with a few of my friends in the FIDM office, it’s apparently also been a source of great anger. In reading the reviews, they definitely weren’t kidding.
This is something that no other team is doing in any sport that I’m aware of, so I can understand a little confusion. Let’s clear up what this is and isn’t.
Just like any other season pass you buy on iTunes, this is a DVD alternative. NBC will always have broadcast/live streaming rights to Notre Dame home games and ESPN/CBS/Fox/whoever will have the same rights for away games.
The iTunes store has never been a source for anything live anyways, simply an alternate way to buy media. The description never said anything about live streaming in the first place, so I’m confused on how some reviews claim FIDM lied about this, but then again these are probably the same people that are going to try to watch Notre Dame @ Air Force on CBS.
Now, what did happen from the start was that FIDM seriously underestimated Apple’s approval process. The goal was to have games available within a couple of days after completion for home games and a couple days later for away games (ESPN holds exclusive replay rights for three days or so).
Post-Temple, that obviously didn’t happen and that game wasn’t released until after Michigan was completed.
Since then, ND has worked with Apple to try and streamline the process. Keep in mind, Apple is used to digesting shows no longer than 45 minutes or so and getting all the pre-recorded episodes of a season up front to review. They’ve never attempted to digest a 2-3 hour file and try to turn it back around before.
That all being said, the service has now hit its stride. Games are regularly releasing the Friday after with episodes of Irish Connection (ICON) and Strong and True coming in between.
Yes, it’s a longer wait than most would like (and I know FIDM would love to reduce that time), but it’s still something I’m more than happy I shelled out $40 for, especially when you consider the cost to get the 2012 season on DVD.
All games are in HD with the commercials removed. Even better for a blogger obsessed with analyzing game film like myself, I can open these files in Quicktime and easily have a frame-by-frame playback instead of playing a game of “hit pause at the right time” on other streaming formats. This will especially be useful in the offseason when finding full game replays becomes much harder as some sites, like ESPN will remove replays completely.
I had toyed around with the idea of buying a tuner and capture card for my PC to do the same thing, but the cost of that equipment (and the time needed to properly set that up) compared to the cost (and ease) of the season pass was a no-brainer for me.
Sure, it isn’t perfect for immediately feed back on a weekly basis in my case, but it is going to get some heavy use this offseason. Beyond blogging purposes, I also simply really like the idea of owning HD, commercial-free, copies of all the ND games and being able to download any of them on demand and not have them clog up my DVR, which I’m pretty sure the idea was in the first place.
Honestly, this all really isn’t even a pitch for everyone to go buy it. I realize getting a game nearly a week after it happened it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if it is your cup of tea and you are enjoying the service, do FIDM a solid and go give it a fair review on iTunes. I would be rather sad to see innovative services like this stop simply because a lot of people gave 1-star reviews by failing to read the directions.
Plus, there is no way in hell I’ll ever get my all-22 footage dream if the Season Pass fails so, please, I beg you, no, the whole ND blogosphere begs you, to give this thing a fair shot!