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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CFL lament for OTAers

I am a strictly OTA watcher, who ditched my cable subscription last year at the end of the CFL season. With the regular season starting up again on July 1st, and every single game being broadcast soley on TSN, I have to say that this is the one and only thing I miss about cable.

Since TSN does not offer any live streaming internet service for CFL (which I would be more than willing to pay for) I am left with little options other than going to a friend's place to watch, or the local pub.

OTAers - do you feel my frustration? How do you sports fans cope? ;)
 

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SportsNet / TSN and Family channel are the primary reasons why I am not OTA.

CTV, Rogers, Shaw (via corus) realized long ago that the way to make money in the Canadian television business is through subscription revenues with ad revenues as the gravy.

Moving Major Sports to digital channels was a very smart business move. (not good for consumers though)
 

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I would personally sign up for digital lite from Shaw Direct for $20/ month for 1/2 the year if you only wanted TSN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, scottyb123, the live streaming of Friday night games is better than none at all in the last several years! I signed up for basic cable from Rogers just for CFL season last year. You can order it, though it is not advertised anymore, and not require a set-top box. Good old grainy, 4:3 aspect ratio TV.

NFL, ironically, is easy to get OTA in Toronto thanks to Fox, NBC, and even CityTV providing live feeds. And it's in HD!
 

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Like Magnet said, Shaw Direct Digital Lite is $23 a month and includes TSN. If you want TSN HD, you can add it for $3 a month or something. If you have Sirius, then you can listen to the games on there. Here is the schedule. Some Argonauts games are available on The Fan 590 too I think. You may be able to listen to some online too if a local station broadcasts online and the feed isn't blocked.
 

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SportsNet / TSN and Family channel are the primary reasons why I am not OTA.

CTV, Rogers, Shaw (via corus) realized long ago that the way to make money in the Canadian television business is through subscription revenues with ad revenues as the gravy.

Moving Major Sports to digital channels was a very smart business move. (not good for consumers though)
Well it depends on what you mean by 'consumers'. If you mean consumers of Canadian football, the move to TSN has improved the coverage perhaps a hundred fold. The former broadcaster had wimpy low-def coverage, and a mountain of excuses why they would fail to broadcast a large portion of the games.

They showed little to no respect for the sport, setting their schedule long before the season began and stubbornly clinging to that schedule even if the season standings or competitive match-ups practically screamed for them to make small adjustments.

If a game went long, the former broadcaster's clueless operators would blindly switch off the signal and replace it with something like an ancient low grade re-run schlock movie.

The new provider (TSN) covers every single game, no excuses. Every single game is broadcast in clear high definition picture and much superior sound. They cover games from start to finish and never cut away to show pre-planned garbage. They have multiple broadcast channels to seamlessly handle unforeseen scheduling overlaps.

So, if you mean 'consumer' as in someone that appreciates the game and likes 'consuming' it by watching the coverage, it's been a godsend.

But I gather you mean 'consumer' as in spender. In that case yes it did shift from free/taxpayer subsidized coverage to a paid subscription model. The cost for the viewer in this model is more obvious and direct, and possibly higher. But fans of the sport probably don't mind the pennies per game differential when you consider the night and day quality comparison.
 

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At that time TSN didn't air all of their CFL games in HD either... I'm sure that if CBC still had CFL rights every game would be broadcast in HD, now that trucks are more readily available.

Also the whole CFL schedule was set in stone before, CBC got their ~20 games at the start of the season and TSN got the rest. There was no reason for them to move games around or change broadcast windows, the CFL has never did that.

I really don't think there is a "night and day comparison" when it comes to CBC and TSN's CFL coverage. The only thing that really makes TSN better is the commentators, but CBC once had Brian Williams and Chris Cuthbert before they lost rights too.
 

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Thanks for coming out from under your bridge again Neil!

During the TSN's first year of exclusive CFL coverage they put games on TSN2, which wasn't really great for those fans whose providers weren't carrying TSN2 at the time.

Also if I'm not mistaken, did not TSN miss broadcasting the start of a game this year due to technical issues?

edit - it was last year's west final:
http://thestar.blogs.com/sportsmedia/2009/11/can-tsn-survive-the-grey-cup.html
 

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Thanks for coming out from under your bridge again Neil!

During the TSN's first year of exclusive CFL coverage they put games on TSN2, which wasn't really great for those fans whose providers weren't carrying TSN2 at the time.

Also if I'm not mistaken, did not TSN miss broadcasting the start of a game this year due to technical issues?

edit - it was last year's west final:
http://thestar.blogs.com/sportsmedia/2009/11/can-tsn-survive-the-grey-cup.html
Ralph: Only a consumate distortionist would try to make us think TSN running games on their alternate channel is somehow worse than CBC not even showing up to televise their games.

I have no favoritism for one or the other, I simply point out the facts of the situation:

CBC's coverage of the CFL was spotty at best and they were inclined to drop the signal even before tight games would end. TSN covers every single game from start to finish in full high definition, and they would certainly never think to drop the signal on a live game.
 

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At that time TSN didn't air all of their CFL games in HD either... I'm sure that if CBC still had CFL rights every game would be broadcast in HD, now that trucks are more readily available.

Also the whole CFL schedule was set in stone before, CBC got their ~20 games at the start of the season and TSN got the rest. There was no reason for them to move games around or change broadcast windows, the CFL has never did that.

I really don't think there is a "night and day comparison" when it comes to CBC and TSN's CFL coverage. The only thing that really makes TSN better is the commentators, but CBC once had Brian Williams and Chris Cuthbert before they lost rights too.
That's was the fear that CBC distortionists tried to spread when TSN wrestled the broadcast rights away from the hopelessly inept CBC sports division. Many CBC fanatics came out of the woods predicting failure and lack of HD. They even supplied 'proof' talking about a lack of trucks and cameras and all kinds of other reasons why TSN was sure to fail just as CBC had.

And yet the season began with full HD coverage, and carried through every single game as promised.

So it's false of you to say "At that time TSN didn't air all of their CFL games in HD".

The time in question is when TSN got the exclusive rights, and at that time they immediately commenced broadcasting every game in full high definition from the very first game of the season.

How they did this was by knowing the schedule beforehand and making logistical plans to provide the coverage. Nothing earth shattering really, they just applied a common sense planning approach previously not employed by the former broadcaster.

As for the schedule not being set in stone, I think you're false there too. I get the schedules every year and other than the rare time change or small adjustment they have always been set in advance.

And besides, since TSN employs common sense instead of CBC's excusination, they work with the league during the offseason to create an optimal schedule to make 100% sure the full season HD coverage will be available.

I guess CBC for some reason never thought of doing that, hence the enormous amount of games they couldn't cover due to some kind of easily avoidable scheduling conflicts.

I do agree TSN having exclusive coverage does mean fans have to get cable or satellite to enjoy the games. They also have to obtain hydro, shelter and an TV. But the improvement in coverage is certainly vast. I can't prove it's hundredfold better, but it certainly seems that way.
 

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How can you compare TSN's HD coverage in 2007 to CBC's in 2006? That doesn't make any sense, as far as I can tell CBC would have did all of their games in HD in 2007, they did most of the games in 2006 in HD. So the last time that both CBC and TSN aired CFL games, neither of them aired all of their games in HD.

I think we are saying the same thing about the schedules...

CBC only broadcast 1 game a week (plus Labour Day and Thanksgiving), so I don't remember any time when they couldn't cover a game, except during the CBC lockout maybe. Its important to remember that they rights were sublicensed from TSN, so CBC wasn't the primary rightsholder.
 

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CFL game feeds pop up on satellite, quite often, if ur lookin...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've watched several games streamed live from tsn.ca on Friday's. For an OTA guy like me, without cable or satellite, this is the next best thing. I've managed to hook up my laptop display to the TV with a HDMI cable, and it works OK. It's not perfect, but it works.

PROS: free live coverage over the internet, streamed for those without TSN subscriptions on cable/sat.

CONS: still not a perfect substitute for conventional broadcast. Video stream suffers from minor pixalation, and choppy framerate. Only Friday games are streamed, not the entire season.

I would hope that TSN continues to improve their online streaming initiative with CFL. It appears that they are testing the Canadian market to see what kind of interest they receive, and perhaps if it's profitable enough to pursue further. Will we see more of this the next season - with all games available live online?
 

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Bringing back an old threat.
I really hate that TSN quit live streaming their games and that Bell/CTV refuses to broadcast at least the Grey Cup on the main network. It seems that the only way you can get live streaming is if you are with Bell!
That's why I would like a split contract with another network so that TSN/CTV are forced to broadcast and live stream games on their websites.
 

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Yeah, that was a pisser for me as well! I did watch one game on ESPN3 using unblock.us until they started verifying your ISP before allowing in. There are also a bunch of unsanctioned ways of viewing the games, but I would never point a PC or MAC browser to any of those sites. That is where the Playbook came in! ;) They were unreliable and a very frustrating user experience because of all the pop-ups / ads etc. Most games I just listened. Playoffs / Grey Cup I went to a buddy's house who had Optik TV. CFL needs a center field subscription, I'd gladly pay for it rather than trying to find work arounds.
 

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For people who don't subscribe to cable or satellite, many CFL games can be received from wild feeds on a motorized C or Ku band FTA satellite system. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start using such a system but its worth it on the long run as you get MUCH better picture quality than subscription cable or satellite providers. The picture quality of this season's final game was simply breathtaking!

More info in the FTA satellite forum of this website.
 

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Bell doesn't show the Grey Cup because Bell didn't win the rights to it. TSN did and TSN, rightly, isn't going to let Bell have it for free. It's the single most watched show in Canadian television and TSN intelligently keeps it to itself.

I agree, I'd love to have CFL over the air but this is what we have. If the over-the-air networks wanted the CFL they could pony up and get it easily enough, but it's worth more to TSN and frankly, I'm glad TSN has the rights since we actually get every single game, without exceptions. That was never the case when over-the-air networks did the CFL.
 

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Umm... you do know that TSN is part of Bell Media right? (tsn.ca bottom left of the page)

That doesn't explain why they teased us in 2010 by streaming all the games just to quit in 2011 and 2012. I think its because of the launch of Bell Mobile TV.
 
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