Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tourtracker -- a better way to stream the Tour of California

In a recent post, I criticized NBC's streaming coverage of the Tour of Califronia for having way too many ads and reflecting conflicts of interest and requiring bundling with TV service. That was bad news.

The good news is that Tourtracker does a way better job of streaming the race.

For a start, there are fewer ads on Tourtracker. I don't know if that is by design, but, at least for now, their coverage is much less annoying than that of NBC.

NBC is owned by Comcast, and they require streaming viewers to have an authorized television subscription, but Tourtracker does not. It is freely available on the US Web -- I did not check to see if can be reached from other countries.

It is also apparent that the Tourtracker site was designed with cycling in mind. As shown below, there are a number of cycling related statistics, commentary and status displays:

Note that the video is surrounded by race information, not ads as in the case of NBC.

The user can toggle the race information on and off, as shown below, and, in-full screen mode, there is only a thin row of display ads (as is the case with NBC).

Off the top of my head, the only thing I liked better on the NBC site was their 15-second "rewind" button -- let's hope Tourtacker adds one of their own.

Why is the Tourtracker stream better than NBC's? It was designed for cycling, not sporting events in general, and Tourtracker does not have a conflicting TV or ISP businesses to protect. I was pleasantly surprised when commenter Matthew Ferdinand1 told me about Tourtracker, but wonder about rights to the broadcast -- are they licensed from NBC/Comcast?

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