The excitement, the hype, the early anticipation – that was the feelings Formula One fans in Australia have been going through for pretty much a year now since Foxtel announced they had secured the rights to Formula One for an extended period, and at the same time announced they would be bringing F1 TV to Aussies.
Foxtel has been the rights holder for F1 for a very long time now, having first been a partner broadcaster to the Ten Network, who slowly slipped away to become a secondary broadcaster taking care of nowadays just the Australian F1 Grand Prix and only because it sits on the Anti-siphoning list and cannot only be a Pay TV event.
For fans of F1 around the world in countries where F1 doesn’t have a broadcast foothold, F1 TV was launched to allow F1 Fans to pay F1 direct to stream the races and get some pretty cool features like choose the onboard you would follow and more.
Five, yes FIVE years ago when I borrowed a mate’s US Credit Card and used VPNs to access the F1 TV network to check it out, it was awesome – watch the main feed, choose one driver on-board or watch two on boards at the same time. So damn cool.
Fast forward to now, and I actually didn’t expect anything “better” than that, through the bombardment of Sky Sports “red button” “multi-angle” coverage promotion during our race broadcasts was enough to set the anticipation to a high level.
At the start of the season, it was a dropped ball for Foxtel, they needed a few races to test things.
Then I couldn’t test it at Melbourne because I was there:). Baku – well, I chose to watch that at home.
My Foxtel IQ5 box is at the EFTM office, so this morning, at the ungodly hour of the Miami Grand Prix, I fired it up.
But i was wary. These two comments in the EFTM Man Cave had me worried:
It was an absolute clunky waste of time. The fact you have to leave the coverage and it doesn’t work on the mobile app is laughablePeter
I gave up because I would have to get out of my 4K channel to use it.Ph app needs to work with it for free.Damian
And, they were spot on.
Watching in 4K Ultra HD – as is the advantage of having a Foxtel Box over streaming via Kayo, I was forced to exit my live stream, and open the F1 TV App.
In there, I launch the live event.
Now the menu here is pretty cool, it’s just a list of drivers – click any one, see their onboard.
What I loved was getting to choose to either have the on-board with the Sky Sports commentary, OR choose the on-board with that team and driver radio. Very, Very cool.
There are options to get the International (F1 Live) commentary, or the Sky Sports (Labelled “International”) or bring up the driver tracker or a very cool data screen.
So much awesome info, just brilliant.
But – one screen at a time.
Clunky to change between options (slow stream start rates)
And again – one screen at a time.
For Foxtel money, I want a four way split screen.
And while I can put up with 1080, I also want 4K.
In the end, after the excitement and joy of watching the opening two laps on board with Oscar Piastri, I went back to the 4K channel and just watched the whole race that way.
If I want data, I’ll get that on the F1 App.
And seriously, all that linking of accounts and setup, and there’s no live content IN the F1 TV app for Aussies?
A joke. And frankly, a waste of time.
If they had 10,000 people watching, its because there’s 10,000 people with another TV nearby with Kayo to watch the race on while using F1 TV for something interesting.
The whole thing needs work if it’s mean to be a selling point.
I’d pay Kayo another $5 a month in F1 season to get access to all those cameras in a split view mode on my Apple TV folks, so let’s stop protecting the Foxtel dinosaur, and start giving the fans what they want.