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First Look: F1 TV app review – The way you want to watch Formula One!

Under the new ownership of Liberty Media, Formula One was always going to evolve faster than it ever has before and that is never more evident than in its move into direct to fan broadcasting with their F1 TV app.

The app and subscription service was announced earlier in the year, with a web based version available in recent rounds – however this weekend for the Monza Grand Prix the actual F1 TV app has launched allowing a single app and sign in for F1 fans.

F1 TV is not for everyone, not that you don’t want it, but you can’t have it Aussies – sorry.   Australia, like many other countries around the world have established broadcast partners – for us it’s Channel Ten and through them now Fox Sports – you can watch every single session and every single race live – so what’s to complain about.  More on that later.

In reality the app is aimed at fans of F1 in countries like the United States where there is no live and consistent broadcast coverage.

It wasn’t easy to get a look at the app – but through a US account and some tricky VPN work, I’ve had a sneak peek at what is a dream way to watch F1.

At race time you can watch the live stream with a choice of English, French, German or Spanish commentary or just the live sound effects and no commentary.

The real power though comes though being able to add a second “camera” to the single screen, essentially a main view and secondary view.  In my case, I’ve chosen the TV feed as the main view, and Daniel Ricciardo’s on-board camera – so as a fan I can simply watch at all times where Daniel is and how he’s going.

You can also choose two drivers, and watch them top and bottom of the screen.

In this mode you get a new audio option, which is team radio – “unedited” live team radio from the primary driver on your screen.  I watched several laps on-board with Lewis Hamilton, with his engineer Bono chatting to him without any delay or filter.

Down the right hand side is a full lineup of drivers, with a gap to the driver in front – not a comprehensive timesheet like the F1 timing app.

There’s a long way to go though – it’s great, but not perfect.

If you change drivers, the whole feed has to refresh.  If you want to switch the two views the feeds both stop and need to re-commence.

Likewise there’s no way to exit the app and retain the live stream in a window (which is possible on iOS).

I noticed the commentary (Sky Sports is the English language commentary in the app) drop out a few times, but effects are retained at that time.

The biggest potential issue that viewers will notice – and complain about – is delay.  Its almost impossible to synchronise two live video feeds – watching onboard at the start the camera was delayed by 5 seconds.

Watching Hamilton and Raikkonen battle for the lead via pit stops and I thought Kimi had almost caught Lewis on track – but actually the feed from Lewis’ car was delayed somewhat.  A picky but very important issue for F1 TV.

Bottom line – a more than impressive first cut.  I can’t imagine we’ll see it in Australia within 4 years, but if I was Foxtel, I’d be working out a way to offer it as an add-on for subscribers – I for one would pay more.

First Look: F1 TV app review – The way you want to watch Formula One!
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kelvin Palmer

    September 3, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I bought the TV app via US account that I created using PureVPN and used a US virtual debit card to make payment for the purchase.

  2. Sam Luzzi

    January 20, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    I purchased the F1 TV Pro service and in addition to having issues with it, which were eventually resolved, I had great difficulty canceling my subscription. I did not have my Apple account information to cancel, so I followed the instructions (Step B) on the F1 TV Pro website, shown below, that stated I could cancel via email by providing the information they asked for and submitting their form. I did so but they came back and said they could not cancel my subscription and needed to do it through Apple, even though their website indicated I could do it otherwise. I expressed my dissatisfaction and asked them to again cancel and they said they could not do it. I eventually was able to get my Apple account fixed and finally was able to cancel through iTunes, but I was charged for another month in the interim. So they got another payment out of me, VERY DISAPPOINTING!

    From the F1 TV Pro Website:
    8. HOW TO END YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO THE SERVICE
    8.1 You may cancel your subscription to the Service:
    (a) using the ‘Account’ section of the Site;
    (b) by emailing [email protected] and providing (i) your email address, date of birth, billing date, postcode/ZIP and the last 4 digits from payment card used to purchase the Services; or (ii) a complete model cancellation form as set out at the bottom of these terms and conditions; or
    (c) by following the instructions on your subscription confirmation email.
    8.2 If you are entitled to a refund (as expressly set out in Clause 7.4 or otherwise in these terms and conditions) we will refund you the price you paid for the Service, by the method you used for payment.
    8.3 When your refund will be made. We will make any refunds due to you as soon as possible and in any event no later than 14 days from when you have cancelled your subscription in accordance with these terms and conditions.

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