Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cricket Watch

What lengths would you go to watch a cricket match?

The World Cup Cricket has begun and has already featured an epic battle fought on the grounds of the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica. I haven't watch a single ball being bowled in the tournament so far. It was not like my last trip to Jamaica in 2002, when I traveled nearly 5000 miles with the intention of enjoying two days of cricketing action between India and the West Indies only to be holed up in the Hotel room because of incessant rains (I have since decided not to risk such trips to watch a game live).

This time it is because I refuse to cough up the high fees for viewing the live telecasts. These feeds are only available on satellite television - DirectTV and Dishnetwork, each demanding $199 for the telecast of the 51 matches. Considering that I will be following only the games of my favorite team, i.e, watching only about 6 games, this works out to about $33 per game! This is exorbitant even for a captive audience. I could watch the Golden State Warriors play in the Oakland Arena from a prime location with this kind of money. Compare this with NBA TV charging $200 for over 200 games, with many of the games broadcast in high-definition unlike the grainy cricket telecast on dishnetwork.

Four years back I was faced with a similar pinch to watch the world cup cricket games but I was able to share the costs with my two house mates. This story about the pains of a cricket lover in America was picked up by the Outlook magazine. I even signed a petition so we could watch the games on cable or the high speed internet.

It seems like the bigwigs at echostar have listened to our petition, and decided to share the feed on-line on Willow TV. The only problem - its the same cost of $199 for even granier pictures with lots of lag and delay in the feeds. I discussed with my friend the possibility of using a slingbox device so we could stream it over the web from his dish connection. I was about to hit the bid button on an ebay auction for the SlingBox AV (about $70 excluding shipping) when I decided to use my google powers to find a better option. My search yielded a TVonPC online offering called EZ TV which I am not sure is legit even with their FAQs explicitly stating that it is. I signed up for it and checked it out for myself. The image size is rather small but the feed has no lags like willow tv, definitely watchable!

p.s.: I just googled with the same search query and couldnt locate their paid advertisement anymore. I am now keeping a close watch on my credit card statement.

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