PS3 Lets You Stream TV-Unfriendly Sport On Your TV

Picking the low-hanging fruit of the pro sports world, Sony has locked down a way to let owners watch NHL games on TV without having to find the Versus channel in the listings.

PlayStation Blog reports PlayStation 3 owners who subscribe to NHL’s $170-a-year GameCenter Live service can now watch live and past hockey games on their TVs through their consoles.

The app is $10, unless you happen to be a PlayStation Plus member, in which it’s free.

Hockey fans, what do you think about the new feature?

NHL “Lights the Lamp” on the PS3 [PlayStation Blog]

Comments

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  1. grucifer says:

    Sounds great actually.

    You could watch on your PC or TV without having to also pay for a cable subscription too. Which would be the center ice package, but effectively it’s the same thing.

  2. Copper says:

    If I liked to watch hockey, this would be pretty cool. If there was one for baseball, I’d definitely do it. Not having cable means having to catch games at restaurants, bars or friends’ houses and that’s my only regret about no cable.

  3. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Remember, this does NOT include your local team’s games. So, if you’re a huge Rangers fan living in San Diego, great. If you live in NYC, no dice.

    • Corith says:

      On the website is says this:

      Choice of home and away broadcasts – NEW

      Taken from http://www.nhl.com/ice/gamecenterlive.htm?id=2010020227&intcmpid=nhl-gcl-gc-watch-sbnv. So maybe they’ve released that restriction. It does say it’s still subject to blackouts (in the fine print), but blackouts should only occur if the stadium doesn’t get sold to capacity.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        That’s the great thing about actually living in a place with a huge hockey fanbase. In DC, every game is sold out and so there are never, ever any blackouts. I love going to games live but most nights I’m in front of my TV, yelling like a maniac.

        • Corith says:

          I’m a big Caps fan myself (and in the DC area!). Rock the Red!

        • DanRydell says:

          The NHL doesn’t have a policy of blacking out games that aren’t sold out like the NFL does. Totally different situation – NFL teams have 8 home games a year and really need to sell out all of them. NHL teams have 41 home games a year, and most teams don’t sell out a majority of their games.

          Most NHL games also aren’t broadcast on national networks like NFL games are – they’re broadcast on regional sports networks, and those regional networks have first dibs on their local area. The NHL won’t let you watch a game on their website if you could watch it on local TV, because they’d be hurting their partners by doing that.

          Here in NJ, the Devils are on the MSG network which really only cares about the Rangers. That resulted in an unfortunate situation during pre-season when the NHL decided to put a Devils game on the NHL Network, but MSG decided not to broadcast the game. So the game was viewable everywhere in the country EXCEPT the Devils’ TV market.

          • trailerpark1976 says:

            I live in Northern Utah and Phoenix Coyotes games are blacked out. Colorado games don’t get blocked and they’re closer. I don’t understand it.

            • NeverLetMeDown says:

              Honestly, don’t try. Figuring out the rationale for what constitutes a “local market” for sports team broadcast rights purposes will pretty quickly make you jump at the chance to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        Nope, no local teams, so long as it’s on TV (either broadcast or the regional sports network, like MSG, Comcast Sports, etc.)) in the local market. Also, no games that are being broadcast nationally.

        Bottom line, this will only let you watch games that you couldn’t watch EVEN IF you have cable or satellite.

        From their FAQ:

        Can I watch my local team play?

        Due to local blackout rules and regulations, games broadcasts that are available to watch on television in your local market and nationally televised games are not available to watch live or within 48 hours of game completion in NHL GameCenter LIVEâ„¢ (see below for other blackout scenarios).

        Why am I unable to watch a game in NHL GameCenter LIVEâ„¢?

        A game may not be available to watch live or within 48 hours of completion if it meets any of the below criteria:
        1.Your local team is playing and televising the game on a local over-the-air station and you are located within that station’s signal.
        2.Your local team is playing and televising the game on a local regional sports network and your cable or satellite system falls within the distribution for that local regional sports network (regardless of whether your cable or satellite system actually carries that regional sports network.)
        3.Your local team is playing and there is no local television coverage of the game
        4.The game is being televised nationally – In the U.S., this includes NBC, Versus, and the NHL Network. In Canada, this includes CBC, TSN, and the NHL Network.

      • Sammich says:

        NHL blackouts don’t work that way. They’re purely about broadcast rights and team markets.

        Local/regional broadcasts are limited to the defined TV market for each team. National broadcasts are, of course, national.

        Center Ice/Game Center Live is the opposite. They give you access to non-national broadcasts from outside your market and national broadcasts from the other side of the US/Canada border. Games are blacked out if someone else has the rights to broadcast that particular game in your particular TV market.

    • Erik Hughes says:

      So lie about your address.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        Nice try, but it actually geolocates based on IP. They thought of that.

      • Sammich says:

        The NHL uses IP geolocation software as well. Not impossible to get around, but not as easy as lying about your address.

        Also, lying about your address could cause issues when attempting to pay for the service.

  4. pop top says:

    Phil, why do you always dis hockey? I understand this site can be snarky, but you’re just being a jerk.

    • Scurvythepirate says:

      I wanted to say the same thing but I held my tongue. Hockey is the only sport I truly enjoy watching on TV, it’s the only sport I have enjoyed playing from my youth leagues up to my adult leagues. Phil is just being a douche.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yeah, Phil’s really being a jerk. There’s no need to be rude. It’s not even snark, it’s just being an ass. Hockey is a huge sport in many cities all over the country and the world. There are many, many teams that sell out 19,000-seat arenas nightly and are institutions of an entire region. Heck, it’s the backbone of entire countries – Canada, Russia, and Sweden have some of the best players in the world. The US isn’t too far behind.

      • pop top says:

        I know you’d have my back on this, even if you don’t root for a good team. ;)

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          You can’t tell, but I’m narrowing my eyes at you right now.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Oh and by “a good team” I take it to mean “a team that is not of your liking” because I just want to point out that the Capitals are sitting at the top of their division and ended Tampa Bay’s winning streak yesterday.

          Why yes, I do like hockey, how can you tell? :)

    • Rask says:

      Phil’s probably still a bit sore from breaking his TV playing Kinect Volley Ball and having to buy a new one.

      http://www.1up.com/news/kinect-claims-busted-television

      I personally don’t care about any sports networks on my gaming console since it takes valuable time away from playing actual games.

    • Kavatar says:

      Not to mention hockey is, to me, the most TV-friendly sport, especially in HD, because there is action almost nonstop.

      I guess if you don’t understand that watching hockey does not require you to keep your eye on the little black dot 100% of the time, you might not like it on TV.

      Or maybe hockey abused Phil as a child.

    • Eli the Ice Man says:

      The problem is, Americans prefer sports with less actual gameplay. Take football for example. 11 minutes of actual gameplay in a 3 hour broadcast? Much more exciting!

      http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/archives/191219.asp

      And no, I’m not knocking football, it’s another great Canadian sport.

    • wheeitsme says:

      I’m the other side of the coin. I LOVE hockey. But on TV? Meh.

    • TasteyCat says:

      I thought his assessment was fair.

      • pop top says:

        His assessment of what? If hockey didn’t have fans then it wouldn’t sell tickets and it wouldn’t be watched on TV. There’s a right way to be funny or pick on something and then there’s the Phil way (i.e. being an asshole).

  5. Anonymously says:

    Game Center blacks out your local team’s games. The only reason I’d want Game Center is so that I can finally cancel cable without missing my team play.

    • yzerman says:

      I agree but its getting closer to reality. The problem is the local games have exclusive license agreements for the local games so the only way your going to get to say, see the Red Wings in Michigan is to hope some day Fox Sports provides access to the local game via Hulu or some streaming service for a fee per month. That would be awesome.

  6. infamousjre says:

    We’re getting closer to what the consumer actually wants!

  7. theblackdog says:

    Oh Phil, I’m sooooooooooooo sorry that hockey takes away from watching UofA continue to FAIL

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Oh btw, that photo is of Verizon Center in DC, where the Capitals play. That was a really good game, too.

  9. Mighty914 says:

    I think I’m not understanding something with the pricing scheme, but how is $170 worth it?

    Center Ice costs $140 (through RCN).

    Besides, if you live in the NY market, you already get Rangers, Isles, and Devils games for “free” (yes, I understand the concept of paying for cable). Plus, whatever random games Versus and NHL air.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You’re not understanding the basis for this – NHL GameCenter Live is online-only. If you don’t have cable or don’t want cable, this is how you can watch games (subject to blackout, though). If you live outside your favorite team’s market and you don’t want cable, this is a way of getting those games.

  10. AI says:

    Once again they miss the boat. If this service allowed me to watch all games of my team, I would cancel cable right now. With the blackouts however, it’s just another fail by big media.

    • DanRydell says:

      Sounds like another fail by a commenter who doesn’t understand the reason for the blackouts.

      Hockey is not a popular sport in this country. The NHL doesn’t have lucrative national broadcast deals like the NFL, their national broadcasts are mostly on a niche cable network. The NHL relies on regional sports networks to broadcast games. Being able to see games on TV is important for building a fanbase. If they started competing with those regional sports networks, the ratings for the games would suffer. It’s not in the NHL’s interest for their games to have poor ratings.

      While it would be NICE to be able to stream games online in a team’s local TV market, it would do more harm than good to the NHL.

      • Anonymously says:

        If they streamed the local broadcast, including the local commercials, and those views counted towards the local station’s ratings, how could that harm the NHL?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The NHL’s contract with Versus is up next year – the commissioner is gunning hard for ESPN to pick it up – and he could very likely succeed. I read a profile of the guy in ESPN magazine and he is one tough guy.

        • AI says:

          Bettman? Not the sharpest rubber ball. His entire career as Commissioner has been spent trying to convince southern Americans to watch hockey, and he’s completely failed. What he should have done was increased hockey’s popularity in the northern states, where it has a chance. How come Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas don’t have teams? Washington especially, there’s double the population of Alberta there, and they have 0 hockey teams to Alberta’s 2, so I’m sure they can support at least 1. I guess there’s the Blue Jackets at least.

      • AI says:

        Nope, just another fail by DanRydell.

        If people want to watch the game, thus making the game popular, why should the NHL care about the medium? In fact, if people prefer to get their games directly from the NHL, then there’s no middle man, and the NHL profits more. TV networks are no longer the only way to get viewers now, as I’m sure you’ve heard of the internet.

        I’m from Canada, where the sport is anything but unpopular, and we don’t have any retarded blackouts on hockey games, ever. I can watch every single game that my team plays, whether or not they are sold out. My problem is that I have to purchase every single bloody sports network to get the games.

        The Oilers are shown on:
        CBC
        TSN
        Sportsnet West
        Sportsnet One
        Sportsnet Edmonton

        I would much rather purchase my Oilers games directly, rather than purchasing all the networks that show them, because I don’t give a rats ass about any of the other sports or teams shown on those channels.

        Another thing I don’t give a rats ass about is American style blackout restrictions. Show me a game, charge me for the service, and have ads in it. There’s your fucking revenue. I don’t see why TV revenue and viewers are more important than internet revenue and viewers. Get with the damn future…..I mean present.

  11. jason in boston says:

    Local Blackout? Pass. I’m getting tired of finding pirated NESN feeds. I’ll pay $100 / year for redsox, $100 / year for bruins. NESN, please take my money.

  12. cardigan says:

    Low-hanging fruit of the pro sports world? Phil you’re in no position to criticize anything anymore. You broke your TV playing Kinect, for Chrissake. What did you do, flail too hard?

  13. KingPsyz says:

    when they finally do this for the NFL they’re going to get my money… unfortunately the NFL is notoriously overpriced for these services

  14. Balaenoptera says:

    I’m pretty darn cheap,but if I had a ps3, i’d buy it if I could watch all my red wings and bruins games

  15. aloria says:

    Hmmm…

    Watch hockey, which is non stop action pretty much the entire game…

    or watch football or baseball, where you’re lucky if you get 10 minutes of “edge of your seat” action in 3 hours of butt-numbing SNORESVILLE.

    Yeah, low hanging fruit for sure.

  16. pdxsam says:

    The NHL needs to get over themselves. 10 bucks just for the app? MLB gives it away on the PS3. The package is cheaper than the Extra Innings package on cable/sat and the quality is so close to almost as good it’s insane.

  17. s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

    As a hockey fan, I like the idea, minus local blackouts of games.

    Likewise, as a hockey fan, I think that you’re being a complete ass, Phil. What did hockey ever do to you, kick you in YOUR “low-hanging fruit” as a child, or something?

  18. dragonfire81 says:

    Ok Phil, I usually defend you around here but calling hockey a TV unfriendly sport is pretty dumb. I’d watch hockey on TV instead of baseball or soccer any day. Now I AM Canadian so I am sure that biases me a bit but I’ve had plenty of exciting times watching hockey on TV (the Olympic Gold Medal Game from this year between the U.S. and Canada to name one).

    Also where do you get $170 from? The gamecenter access is, according to NHL.com, $4.95 a month.

    • smartmuffin says:

      That’s for the “stats only” version of Gamecenter. Being able to watch live video does indeed cost some $150-180, depending on when you subscribe.

  19. smartmuffin says:

    Needless hockey bashing. I say we make Phil drop the gloves with Derek Boogaard…

  20. amorris525 says:

    Versus and NHL Network games are blacked out on NHL Gamecenter Live, so your second sentence is wrong.

  21. selkie says:

    In terms of blackouts, there are some local tv contracts that are actually worth a fair amount of money (The new Fox Sports Detroit-Wings contract is allegedly $20 million+ per year). And the channel originating that broadcast still makes it money from good old-fashioned local/regional ad buys with rates based on old school cable and satellite viewership numbers. If you’re trying to watch the team through another media, then those eyeballs don’t count towards the number of people who are the local-regional targets of those ads and being encouraged to trust their eyes to Dr. Rahmani, buy tires from Belle Tire, or check out Meijer’s new fresh produce offerings. And without them showing up in the Nielsen numbers because they’re watching online, FSD can’t charge as much for said ads.

  22. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I’m with everyone that thinks hockey is probably the most TV-FRIENDLY sport. A nice widescreen HD shot of the ice can’t be beat.

    I haven’t had Center Ice for a few years now, and I still don’t have a HDTV personally, but the many games I’ve ever watched at other people’s houses are great. The NHL should really promote the look of the game in HD. The game will sell itself!

  23. MSUHitman says:

    How in the hell does the NHL and/or Sony think they can get away with charging $10 for access to the app while MLB gives the app away for free on PSN (you still have to have the MLB.tv subscription of course.)

  24. thiazzi says:

    This is one of those posts from a site that I like that makes me like a site less.