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NHL GameCenter - is it worth it?


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#1 redwingmachine

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:50 PM

Hello Fellow Wing-Nuts!
I live in the Chicago area and I am having a problem getting a good sports package that includes FSN - Detroit. Unfortunately my cable provider doesn't even have Versus and has completely ignored my rapid emails requesting an NHL solution. I had to watch most of the playoffs on a bootleg web site, and let’s just say it multiplied the frustrations of last year’s playoffs. I have my options narrowed down between an overpriced AT&T Uverse plan and Game Center. I was wondering if anyone out there has NHL Game Center and if you could share your likes and dislikes with it?

GO WINGS!!

#2 kidish

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:59 PM

I don't personally have it, nor have I, but I recall someone from another board saying it was a pretty cool thing.

Since they are still feeds, excess traffic can still bog down the stream -- I remember the free preview stuff the NHL did last year, and those nights were understandably slow.

Also, the same blackout rules that go for TV apply for GameCenter, so it still isn't a guarantee that you'll get to see every game.

But on the plus side, I hear the live stats the site keeps and allows access to during games is pretty nifty if you're into that sort of thing.

I'd say it's for you if you want to watch as much hockey as possible no matter your market, and even then only if you have a PC setup that makes any kind of NHL package worthless. If you're just in it for Detroit games, maybe you could find another (cheaper) option?

#3 WorkingOvertime

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:59 PM

I am also in the process of finding a solution for NHL. I think I am going with hockeystreams.com this year. It seems like a good, reliable service. I want to go with Gamecenter (and support the NHL directly), but my billing address (used for blackout I've been told) is in both the Nashville and Columbus areas and I am away at college. As a result, a lot of the Wings games would be blacked-out for me even though I cannot watch them live. Also, we are going without cable this year so I need a way to watch the Versus games.

Edited by WorkingOvertime, 15 September 2009 - 03:01 PM.


#4 b.shanafan14

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:09 PM

Two years ago I paid the $160-180 for GameCenter (then still called Center Ice Online) and it was definitely serviceable but far from ideal. It was really overpriced and when games are on NHL Network, NBC, or Versus, you still get blacked out, which really sucks if you aren't by a TV.

Last year I switched to http://www.hockeystreams.com, and I really like it. Some people didn't have great experiences but I've never had any big problems. They are continually improving the site both in video quality and user interface. No blackouts! There is a live game chat that allows you to ***** and cheer with other fans. If you ever have problems, admins are always on hand to help. Games are instantly archived for rewatching.

At half the price, I renewed my account with HockeyStreams this season. For a whole year of high quality streams and archives, its $70, $100 for higher definition streams. Still beats the only 8+ months of GameCenter. I believe you can always upgrade to higher definition if you try standard and want HD. Try it for a week or something and see how you like it.

Edited by b.shanafan14, 15 September 2009 - 03:11 PM.


#5 bonan78

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:34 PM

I work for NHL Gamecenter, so I can confirm what was said about the blackout restrictions. We will be running a free preview on Oct. 3rd, registration is required but you can sign up and not have to pay anything. And as for the excess traffic, that is caused by other sites hijacking our feeds, not by the amount of traffic on our site. Also, we use the IP address for the computer you are on to determine blackouts, not your billing address, just to clarify. If anyone has any specific quesitons about Gamecenter, feel free to PM me, but before anyone thinks about complaining about the price, blackouts, etc. I only work for them, I do not have any influence over the decision making.

Edit: after looking at the HockeyStreams site, I would just like to add that Gamecenter is Mac compatible, has archives and fan chat, and we will also be offering the capability to choose between home and away video (if it is available). Also, the bitrate was available as high as 1200 kbps and may be as high as 2400 kbps this year.

Edited by bonan78, 15 September 2009 - 03:50 PM.

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#6 redwingmachine

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:35 PM

Wow, thanks for all the fast replies! I’m going to check out the hockeystreams.com. I really don’t mind streaming, in fact I prefer it as long as the quality is there. I use a dell projector for watching movies on a 120” screen and can hook my laptop to it. Great times! I had some issues with server side bandwidth last year on http://www.channelsurfing.net/ , it’s certainly good enough in a pinch if you take the time to search for the best stream.
It is really amazing to me that the networks and NHL haven’t noticed the underground demand for people across North America looking for a good, reliable solution. You would think it would be in their best interest to get this sport on TV for people.
Thanks again!


#7 redwingmachine

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:45 PM

QUOTE (b.shanafan14 @ September 15, 2009 - 03:09PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Two years ago I paid the $160-180 for GameCenter (then still called Center Ice Online) and it was definitely serviceable but far from ideal. It was really overpriced and when games are on NHL Network, NBC, or Versus, you still get blacked out, which really sucks if you aren't by a TV.

Last year I switched to http://www.hockeystreams.com, and I really like it. Some people didn't have great experiences but I've never had any big problems. They are continually improving the site both in video quality and user interface. No blackouts! There is a live game chat that allows you to ***** and cheer with other fans. If you ever have problems, admins are always on hand to help. Games are instantly archived for rewatching.

At half the price, I renewed my account with HockeyStreams this season. For a whole year of high quality streams and archives, its $70, $100 for higher definition streams. Still beats the only 8+ months of GameCenter. I believe you can always upgrade to higher definition if you try standard and want HD. Try it for a week or something and see how you like it.


No blackouts and I get playoff games for almost half the price? Will the video go full screen? What is the quality of the audio? This sounds great!

Edited by redwingmachine, 15 September 2009 - 04:33 PM.


#8 tinyhockey

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:20 PM



How are you doing, I just want to give you a update I use this web site called hockeystreams and I have had it for 2 years and I love it,

a whole season is half the price of center ice online

with hockeystreams you can get games in Reg, HD, HDPLUS

plus as a bouns you will get this season all the hockey olypmics games and also they show UFC on the site to during the off season

you need to check it out

they only take paypal for your payment and it is very safe


here is link

http://www.hockeystr...ster/tinyhockey


also pass this link on to other people you know that may want it

you will be very happy

and if you want to try a day pass to see you can do that

#9 b.shanafan14

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:46 PM

QUOTE (redwingmachine @ September 15, 2009 - 03:45PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No blackouts and I get playoff games for almost half the price? Will the video go full screen? What is the quality of the audio? This sounds great!

Video goes full screen, audio is great. I usually watch games online when I'm on campus as I'm usually in architecture studio nonstop, but when I'm home, I use an S-video cable and audio cable to connect to my living room TV and most of the time you can't tell you're not watching it on cable. And 95% of the time Arbiter, the admin/streamer who does the Wings feed does the FSN-Detroit feed, so plenty of Ken and Mick instead of s***ty commentary.

Overall, its a great experience, and the only problems people ever have is with bandwidth and its buffering too much they usually will lower it for you and help. Good luck whatever you do, but HockeyStreams is the best option I've found.

If you're going to sign up, please use my referral link: http://www.hockeystr...gister/blomquik

Edited by b.shanafan14, 15 September 2009 - 04:52 PM.


#10 evilmrt

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:42 PM

This is a good thread since I dumped Directv recently. I was looking at Gamecenter, but it looks like Hockeystreams has a couple of advantages. One, from what I can tell, the playoff coverage was horrible last season on Gamecenter. Second, it looks like Hockeystreams has better quality HD-like streams.

What sort of bandwidth do you need for these high quality streams? I've got a 6mb connection. How reliable are they?

Also for Gamecenter...are the games in 16:9 widescreen or what? I've got the computer hooked up to an hdtv, yes. Thanks.

#11 b.shanafan14

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:37 PM

QUOTE (evilmrt @ September 15, 2009 - 10:42PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is a good thread since I dumped Directv recently. I was looking at Gamecenter, but it looks like Hockeystreams has a couple of advantages. One, from what I can tell, the playoff coverage was horrible last season on Gamecenter. Second, it looks like Hockeystreams has better quality HD-like streams.

What sort of bandwidth do you need for these high quality streams? I've got a 6mb connection. How reliable are they?

Also for Gamecenter...are the games in 16:9 widescreen or what? I've got the computer hooked up to an hdtv, yes. Thanks.


From the HockeyStreams.com homepage:
QUOTE
- Video is streamed at 648KBps (HQ) and 900KBps (HD), 30 Frames per second, can you go wrong?
- HQ feeds are streamed at a 320x240 resolution, HD feeds are streamed at a 640x390 resolution. If an HD feed is unavailable the HQ feed will be in 640x390.

They also include what they call HD Plus streams randomly if there are available streams. Basically, if they have more streams than they need to give every game the HQ and HD streams, they add an even larger resolution stream to certain games.

Only problems I've ever had is when the bitrate is too high and it buffers alot, but by the end of the season the streamers had it optimized and there were rarely any problems. And even if a stream is buffering a lot, just mention it to an admin and they are very helpful.

#12 redwingmachine

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:23 AM

Update:

I watched a single archived game from http://Hockeystreams.com at the lower bit-rate HQ quality. The quality was about the same as http://www.channelsurfing.net/, which is free. A little blurry and the puck has tracers when passed. Then I watched another game at the higher bit-rate HD like quality and was completely impressed. I am definitely going with hockeystreams.com this year and not with Gamecenter, simply because they have way more to offer and for a good price. No blackouts and I get the playoff games, which are not offered with Gamecenter, not to mention it’s almost half the cost. Thank you all for your input, and telling me about hockeystreams.com. B.shanafan14, I will sign up with the link you sent me so you get credit for the referral. I am so excited about this season, and despite what the critics say about the Wings rank this year, I am prepared to be in Detroit for the Stanly Cup parade in 2010!

GO WINGS!!

Edited by redwingmachine, 18 September 2009 - 10:57 AM.


#13 b.shanafan14

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 12:31 PM

QUOTE (redwingmachine @ September 18, 2009 - 10:23AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Update:

I watched a single archived game from http://Hockeystreams.com at the lower bit-rate HQ quality. The quality was about the same as http://www.channelsurfing.net/, which is free. A little blurry and the puck has tracers when passed. Then I watched another game at the higher bit-rate HD like quality and was completely impressed. I am definitely going with hockeystreams.com this year and not with Gamecenter, simply because they have way more to offer and for a good price. No blackouts and I get the playoff games, which are not offered with Gamecenter, not to mention it’s almost half the cost. Thank you all for your input, and telling me about hockeystreams.com. B.shanafan14, I will sign up with the link you sent me so you get credit for the referral. I am so excited about this season, and despite what the critics say about the Wings rank this year, I am prepared to be in Detroit for the Stanly Cup parade in 2010!

GO WINGS!!

Thanks for the referral credit. Hope HockeyStreams works out as well for you as it has for me. I know I've been chomping at the bit to watch the Wings and I've already been watching other preseason hockey as well as archived games from last season (only the happy times of course). And tonite is the first televised Wings game, and the first of the season I'll have to miss, thank god for archived streams!

Go Wings!

#14 ilmickeyli

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 03:19 PM

will hockeystreams have tonights game on MSG? lol
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#15 NJmonak10

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:16 AM

anyone know if if you can watch a game after the fact on hockeystreams? i typically work during games and would like to watch when i get home.

#16 under_par_00

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:49 AM

Yes, they archive the games so that you can watch them later.


I had the Hockeystreams HD package last year for the playoffs and it was great. Good quality streams, never had any problems.

#17 Shoreline

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:38 AM

I would shy away from GameCenter. I've had it before and not only do the many blackouts suck but often times their higher quality streams would bite the dust too. It's too much money for too much hassle and too much a question of if the next game (especially Wings game) is going to be shown or not. I applaud the effort but clearly they have not yet delivered a service worth anywhere near that amount of money.

#18 b.shanafan14

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:58 AM

QUOTE (Shoreline @ September 22, 2009 - 05:38AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would shy away from GameCenter. I've had it before and not only do the many blackouts suck but often times their higher quality streams would bite the dust too. It's too much money for too much hassle and too much a question of if the next game (especially Wings game) is going to be shown or not. I applaud the effort but clearly they have not yet delivered a service worth anywhere near that amount of money.

Hated CenterIce Online, now GameCenter, when I had it. Quality is subpar, blackouts were constant, archived games sometimes took weeks to be posted, and with no admins on hand, if you had a problem, tough titties. Is it still like $170 for the regular season?

#19 bonan78

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:20 PM

Again, let me defend GameCenter Live. I work for the company that maintains the service for the NHL, and all of last season there were a total of 2 times that the streams went bad and it was actually our fault. The blackouts are determined by TV markets, and have not changed, nor will they until the league signs a new contract with the TV networks. I understand that people are entitled to their opinions, but none of what has been said about GameCenter in this thread is true. Yes, it costs about $170, but it does work as advertised, and there is always live support available during games, by phone or email. I am not trying to persuade anyone in either direction, but I need to clear up the misinformation.
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