Earlier today, the indomitable SI bit the bullet.
Ah, the cricket bullet that is.
After researching the various free and paid options, we finally plonked down $129 on Willow.tv to watch the 2011 World Cup Cricket matches.
We picked Willow.tv because it gives you multiple options – you can watch it on TV (via Roku), PC/Web and the iPhone.
The signing up process is not smooth.
First, you pick Willow channel on the TV while on the Roku mode, get a code, go to your PC/Web and input the code and create an account where you provide your credit card info et al to Roku.
When we thought that was all to it, we got a surprise when we were asked to sign up for a Willow account as well. Apparently, all we had done so far was to set up a Roku account.
So we started the Willow sign-up process on the PC, went to the TV (in Roku mode) and added Willow Channel to get a code which we then input on the PC, entered our credit card and other info and set up an account.
(By the way, each time you pick a channel on Roku, you have to get a code from the TV screen to link Roku to that channel which you then have to enter on the web site of that channel while signing up on the PC/Web. When we added Bollywood Nirvana to Roku, we got a special code again and were asked to input that in the sign-up process on the PC/Web)
Cumbersome, to say the least.
The folks at Roku (our call went to Bangalore) were not familiar with the process, gave misleading directions (you must not enter your credit card info on Willow, you must enter your credit card info on Willow) and not a big help.
Finally, we concluded the registration process. Grrrr.
What About Picture Quality?
We haven’t tested Live telecast yet and will report on it later. (Update: See Review of Willow.tv Live telecast here.)
Picture quality for replay is not good if you are watching it on a 40-inch plus TV via Roku wireless.
We didn’t suffer any buffering issues but the image quality is nowhere near the movie quality you get from Netflix Instant Play. But it is not so intolerably bad that you feel like screaming for Charles Bronson to get his gun out.
The image quality was better on the 20-inch Acer monitor hooked up via Ethernet cable to a high-speed Comcast connection. Usually, we get over 10Mbps download but tonight at 9:42PM ET we got a mere 2.88Mbps. Do you think all our neighbors were streaming porn – faster, faster, Mike; Janice, aaah – at the same time and consequently degrading our speed? 😉
When we were in full-screen mode on the PC watching India vs New Zealand match, the Adobe Flash plugin crashed forcing us to refresh the page.
Our impression of the Replay streaming quality on PC/Web – Not great; Not bad.
Only One Device at a Time
For all ye cheap desi bastards with dreams of signing up for one account and then sharing it with friends in Artesia (CA) and family in Columbus (OH), banish the thought.
We paused the Replay on the PC and logged on to the Willow channel on the TV for just a few minutes. What we saw on the TV seemed different from the Replay on the PC. God knows, what was coming on the TV. Snippets, most likely.
Upon our return to the PC after 10 minutes, we had been logged out and found the following message on the screen:
Logged in from different location
Your Live Stream Session has ended since you have logged in from a different Location/Browser/Mobile instance at the same time. You are allowed to watch live stream on one device at a given time.
So all ye schmucks, take note – $129 gets you only one viewing option at any point in time. No simultaneous logging in from multiple devices.
Action Starts Soon
While the opening ceremony is tomorrow (Feb 17) at 7:15 AM ET in Dhaka, the Championship matches themselves don’t start until February 19.
India and Bangladesh will open the series at Mirpur on Saturday, February 19 at 3:30AM ET.
Willow.tv ICC Worldcup Live on Roku & PC Review – Decent Quality