Just like last season and the years before, WIIM has been afforded the opportunity to test out NHL's GameCenter Livd. It's my job to give you guys and honest review of the product. For those of you unfamiliar with GCL, it's the NHL's game streaming service. It allows you to watch just about any game, just about anywhere you want. For someone constantly on the go and/or living out of market, this is a great product. For those of you that live in Michigan and/or Red Wings TV territory, all the Detroit games will be blacked out (so I wouldn't recommend it unless you're looking to watch the Wings plus all other NHL teams every night).
The Good of GameCenter Live
- If you read my review last season, this one might look a bit similar because the best part of GCL hasn't really changed. I can watch games anywhere… literally. If I'm in a place with wifi, I can watch on my laptop or tablet. But hey, I technically don't even need wifi, the NHL app on my phone affords me the opportunity to watch games as well. This uses up a ton of data, so if you're limited in that department I wouldn't recommend it. I work nights, so this a great thing. I cant watch at my desk when the game is on. If I need to head to the other side of the building and I don't want to miss the action, I just pull the game up on my phone or tablet and can watch as I walk down the hallway. I never have to miss a Wings game.
- But, if I do miss a game there's always a chance to catch up. GCL gives viewers a chance to watch replays. Obviously useful for those who never want to miss anything. Also very useful for those who want to re-watch for whatever reason. GCL allows you to hide the scores, so if you missed a game and have no idea who won, the result won't be spoiled once you start watching the replay.
- If you have a proper device and a good internet connection, it's just like watching HD television. The games look great. I've watched in the past on a MacBook, Apple TV, iPhone, Samsung tablet, iPad, Dell desktop computer, Android phone, etc and the game looks good on them all (again depending on your wifi connection or strength of data or whatever… I'm not a tech expert!). I used to buy Center Ice every year on Comcast or Fios and most the games were in SD. What world are we living in? How can you only give us one HD game a night? It's brutal watching hockey in SD these days. Now, I haven't had Center Ice in a few years, so I don't know if this still applies, but it was awful (pretty sure this isn't an issue on DirecTV tho. All those games are offered in HD).
- Options! Options! Options! Back in the day, along with lack of HD channels, Center Ice didn't always give you an option to watch the Detroit broadcast. GCL gives you that opportunity. I can watch the home or road broadcast. This is great because if the Penguins are playing the Stars or Lightning or Kings, I don't have to listen to those blowhards on the Pittsburgh broadcast. Thank goodness.
- New features include different types of camera angles. These aren't really my cup of tea, but you're provided the option. You can watch multiple games at once… two games… three games… four games if you want. Those options are there. You can pause games, rewind, slow down, etc. GCL provides options. Again, I rarely use these options other than rewinding to watch something over again during an intermission or commerical, but it's nice to have the option if I want it.
- This is my biggest complaint, and I imagine I'm not the only one that feels this way, but stop blacking out games that air exclusively on NBCSN or NHL Network! I hate this. If I'm not at work, I can't watch either of these channels. It's not part of my DirecTV package and the cost of upping my bill just for two channels isn't worth it. Now, of course, I'm sure a lot of people might have these channels and it's not really a problem for anyone else. Plus, personally, it's rarely a problem for me because I work too damn much anyway, so I can just watch there if I want. It's still annoying though for that random occasion. So NHL suits, I understand you do this to get eyes on your channels, but please change this.
- The lag is awful. As you watch on GCL, everyone else watching on TV is probably about 10 seconds ahead of you. For those of us who chat in gamethreads, this can be a problem. Often I have to turn my phone on silent and turn it screen down. Otherwise I'll get a tweet notification or text or something that you just know a goal is coming. This is something that is easy to deal with, but can be annoying.