Super Bowl OTT Feeds Don’t Go Off Glitch-Free

Again proving that the stability of OTT-delivered video is improving but not yet perfect, particularly during highly-watched, tent-pole events, events, tonight’s stream of Super Bowl LII did not go off completely glitch-free for some internet TV providers.

Two virtual MVPDs – Hulu and PlayStation Vue – faced some technical snafus during the game, as the Philadelphia Eagles held on to defeat defending champs, the New England Patriots, 41-33.

Dan Rayburn, an expert in the streaming media world and a consultant and principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, noted via Twitter that Sony PlayStation Vue was hit with “major problems” Sunday night in multiple cities:

Sony's live streaming service PlayStation Vue having major problems tonight, in multiple cities, keeping many from being able to watch the Super Bowl. Seems to be fixed in some cities but not others. Major platform outage.

— Dan Rayburn (@DanRayburn) February 5, 2018

Another PlayStation Vue user lamented some issues during the early part of the game:

#PlaystationVue would go down right before the game starts. Thanks @PlayStation and @Sony. #SuperBowl

— GhostlyCannibal (@LakeB0d0mKiller) February 4, 2018

Hulu, which launched its live service last May, confirmed on Twitter that its service had experienced a “technical issue” toward the late part of the game, offering subs what it hoped to be a quick remedy:

We are aware of a technical issue that is impacting some of our NBC feeds. At this time we recommend users to close and relaunch their Hulu App as a workaround.

— Hulu Support (@hulu_support) February 5, 2018

Rayburn also tweeted about an issue that has dogged internet streaming of live TV since the get-go – latency that puts viewers well behind the regular broadcast. So if they are following the action on Twitter, they are learning about results before they see it on their “live” OTT feed:

The live stream of #SuperBowlLII is now over 2+ minutes behind the TV broadcast feed for me on my MacBook and using the NBC Sports app on the Fire TV box.

— Dan Rayburn (@DanRayburn) February 5, 2018

DirecTV Now, AT&T’s OTT TV service, apparently tried to handle the streaming load in part by implementing a second NBC stream via the service’s programming guide, while also stressing that its app for smartphones would not provide access to the game (due to Verizon’s current smartphone exclusive with the NFL):

No local affiliate available in your area? No problem!

Here's what you need to know to live stream the game this weekend with DIRECTV NOW:

— DIRECTV NOW Help (@DIRECTVNowHelp) February 1, 2018

While NBC’s stream of Super Bowl LII appeared to perform solidly throughout the game, its regular TV broadcast induced a head-scratcher when the national feed went black temporarily during the second quarter, as the game was being sent to a commercial break (the blackout affected both OTT viewers and those who were watching NBC’s regular broadcast over-the-air or through a traditional MVPD).  

NBC chalked up the brief blackout to an “equipment failure” and claimed that viewers didn’t miss anything during that span:

From NBC Sports spokesperson:

"We had a brief equipment failure that we quickly resolved. No game action or commercial time were missed."

— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) February 5, 2018

YouTube TV, meanwhile, couldn't resist the opportunity to talk up its own ad during the big game: 

Confession: We're watching the game for the ads. Well, this one in particular.

Cable-free live TV is here.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) February 4, 2018