I’ve been posting recently about the Gubmints Family TV Cord-Cutting experience. So far the results have been mostly positive. There’s a few things we may be missing, but we’re not missing it enough to cough up $1,000+ per year for a Satellite or Cable TV box rental.
From my original cord-cutting post, one of the ‘gap fillers’ I planned to subscribe to was CBS College Sports Live. The plan was to do this during College Football season so I could catch Navy home football games.
BLUF: The CBS College Sports Live program/app works well on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, but it does not work on a Smart TV (Roku), and the content is lacking.
First I’ll address the technical issues (Roku).
Here’s the screen grab of the College Sports Live splash/login page. It clearly advertises the Roku as a supported device:
Note that I have 2 Roku devices in the house, and both are recent devices with up-to-date firmware. The menus and navigation work ok on the Roku, but I have yet to tune it to a live or on-demand football broadcast. Here’s what I got to watch for the first football weekend (Sept 3rd):
I contacted CSL tech support, who kicked me over to Roku tech support. After about half an hour on the phone I figured out that they were just going to point fingers at each other. Note that I checked for the stream on my phone and computer, so there were no shenanigans on my end with regard to firewalls, routers etc.
I gave them another weekend to try to fix the glitch, in case it was a hiccup during the first weekend’s rollout. Here’s the second weekend’s results:
This time I posted the screen saver photo to my Twitter account and ‘shamed’ CSL using the @WatchCSL Twitter address. They replied promptly with a form to fill out, which I gladly did. They followed up within 12 hours and stated that they were unable to replicate the issue from their end and verified the stream was good.
Just to double check the hardware on my end, I WAS able to stream live video of sports events that weekend- I managed to tune in to a Women’s Volleyball matchup and it was a classic – Holy Cross vs LaSalle [SARCASM]. So there’s probably no issues with my Roku setup if I can watch SOME sort of live college sports event.
Note to CBS College Sports Live: If this is supposed to be a turn-key sports content product for cord-cutters, then it needs to work on the Roku, which is the best and most popular Smart TV player. I don’t watch football games on my phone (because I’m not 14), and I don’t watch football on my computer (because I’m not a college student). You need to fix this if you want to advertise Roku support on your splash page.
By the third weekend, I’ve given up. I logged in to my account on CSL and clicked the button ‘cancel my subscription at the end of the term’. In my case this was at the end of the month, since I signed up for the monthly plan. To CBS’ credit, cancelling was straightforward and I received a confirmation email at the end of the term.
CSL Content Review:
As for the CSL content, here’s a quibble- On the Roku app you can’t tell whether an event is truly ‘live video’ or just an ‘audio stream’ like the CSL smartphone app tells you. The smartphone tells you whether or not the live event is audio only or video, but the CBS CSL Roku channel does not do this…
…So on the Roku menu you might (falsely) get your hopes up to watch a college football game, when all CSL is really providing is an audio feed. Note to CBS: You’re not really providing live sports content if all you’re doing is re-streaming an IHeartRadio or TuneIn.FM audio feed.
So in summary, CBS College Sports Live is a bit misleading in both its content and its technical capabilities. CBS is more than capable of putting together a good online channel product- Which they have proven with their news channel (CBSN). I hope they get the sports channel done correctly soon. I recommend they take a look at the NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold products- Which are both brilliant.
As for online sports from CBS, I’m done with CBS College Sports Live for this football season, but may give it another try next year.