But really, since all we watch around here is hockey, maybe cable isn't that necessary. Maybe it's time to cut the cord, and fully embrace alternatives to cable TV. Alternatives like NHL GameCenter LIVE.
Let me start off with the most obvious shortcoming - if you live within the TV market of your favorite team, GameCenter LIVE is sadly not worth it. The blackout restrictions make it a tough sell. I've heard horror stories about these blackout restrictions, and I'll share one anecdote...
My friend Pete lives in Indiana. He is a Chicago Blackhawks fan. One would assume that Chicago is well outside of the TV market of Indiana, but apparently there are some parts of the state that do have the Chicago broadcast rights. Pete did not know this going in to his GameCenter LIVE contract, but soon found out that all live Blackhawks games were off limits to him, even though no actual TV channels in his area aired the games. Because a station owned the rights, even if they chose not to use those rights and air games, Pete was out of luck.
People claim you can use a VPN to obscure your location and get around the blackout, but I'd advise against this as it is against the terms of service of GameCenter LIVE and your service will be terminated if you are caught.
Unfortunately for me, I'm an Anaheim Ducks fan living in Southern California, and I'm out of luck for all Ducks (or Kings) games.
Another issue is I've had is a slight delay between the GameCenter LIVE feed, and the actual television feed. I'm often 20-60 seconds behind what everyone else not using the service is seeing. I can't tell you how many times a goal has been spoiled for me by Twitter or a drunken, incoherent text from Spade before I'm even seeing the play begin to develop.
When Spade is more on top of things than you are, there is a problem.
The quality of the feeds is pretty amazing. You know that illegal feed that you've been using like some sort of criminal asshole, taking money out of the NHL's pocket and food out of the players' mouths? The one that is so pixelated that you can't tell if that blurry block you're seeing is the puck or Joe Thornton's cock? Yeah, this beats the shit out of that. You can see everything in HD clarity. You can pause and rewind and look at Thornton's cock over and over again, when that glorious day finally comes. It's magnificent.
A great feature of the package is the GameCenter Vault, where you can go in and watch historical games. The earliest game I found on there dated from 1959. It was a Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game, because no one had figured out yet that California is the greatest hockey hotbed in North America.
My favorite thing about GameCenter LIVE, however, is that there's an Android app for my Google Nexus tablet, so I can watch games without even getting out of bed. I can just lay there for weeks, half alive, malnourished and dehydrated, watching HD games in my dirty, weak hands. If you're the kind of idiot that pissed away money on an iPad, there's an app for iOS devices too, don't worry.
I like it. It's good. It's really good. The blackouts are a deal breaker, and that's not entirely the NHL's fault, as those blackouts are dictated by the cable companies they work with. But still, it's a major hurdle.
Of course, if you live out of market, or if you have an easy way to watch your local team(s) and need a great way to watch out of market teams, this is definitely worth it.
So fuck it, we're not going to pay the cable bill this month either. Long live GameCenter LIVE.
Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013, 7:00 PM PST
Oh, you actually expected me to talk about tonight's Ducks game? You must have me confused with a writer from Anaheim Calling.
Coach Bruce Boudreau is on the bench watching the game on GameCenter LIVE, so he blows all the line changes because he's a full minute behind the live action.
To help commemorate the Ducks' 20th year this season, each gameday I'll be posting a clip of a classic moment from the team's history against that night's opponent. Here is today's...
How about a playoff scrum? April 20th, 1997: