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#1 phSabres84

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:38 PM

Does anyone have any knowledge as to why the content of NHL Center Ice Package varies so greatly depending on which provider you have. The NHL CI I get from Verizon FIOS just absolutely sucks. DirecTV, based on glancing at their schedule, seems to have the best coverage (feed choice wise). It is really frustrating. Everyone pays the same money, the league should be responsible for making sure the value is of equal value. Thanks for your help

#2 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:44 PM

View PostphSabres84, on 15 February 2013 - 06:38 PM, said:

Does anyone have any knowledge as to why the content of NHL Center Ice Package varies so greatly depending on which provider you have. The NHL CI I get from Verizon FIOS just absolutely sucks. DirecTV, based on glancing at their schedule, seems to have the best coverage (feed choice wise). It is really frustrating. Everyone pays the same money, the league should be responsible for making sure the value is of equal value. Thanks for your help

I've observed the same differences in feed choice that you have (DirecTV > Dish Network > better digital cable > worse digital cable ~ FiOS).  Not sure why.

#3 Bluefire

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:34 PM

Most Cable Providers use Center Ice from a company called iN Demand: http://en.wikipedia....iki/In_Demand

The company is owned by a few of the major cable providers, hence why DTV and Dish don't use it.

iN Demand doesn't carry all the feeds in all the formats, hence why they don't all show up on most cable providers and all cable services.

Not sure if FiOS uses that, but I know U-Verse does.  

DIRECTV manages their own Center Ice feeds and doesn't use iN Demand.  Dish Network also doesn't use iN Demand.  It's probably a difference between those two on how much space they want to give to the feeds, how much they want to spend on it, etc.

#4 MattPie

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

As far as I know, it's mostly a bandwidth question. I think most cable companies are 'tight' on bandwidth, so they need to choose what they provide. I can't imagine that there's that many people watching a Blackhawks/Stars tilt in DC (for example), so they cut back on those feeds so they have more room for other stations. Plus there's the fighting between cable companies as evidenced by the MSG nonsense a year or two ago.

But the OP is right, the NHL should mandate a certain level of coverage no matter what.

#5 bills_fan_in_raleigh

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

View PostMattPie, on 18 February 2013 - 12:06 PM, said:

As far as I know, it's mostly a bandwidth question. I think most cable companies are 'tight' on bandwidth, so they need to choose what they provide. I can't imagine that there's that many people watching a Blackhawks/Stars tilt in DC (for example), so they cut back on those feeds so they have more room for other stations. Plus there's the fighting between cable companies as evidenced by the MSG nonsense a year or two ago.

But the OP is right, the NHL should mandate a certain level of coverage no matter what.
yeah they would rather provide ya Laverne and Shirley in HD versus hockey in HD

#6 MattPie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:00 AM

View Postbills_fan_in_raleigh, on 18 February 2013 - 02:26 PM, said:

yeah they would rather provide ya Laverne and Shirley in HD versus hockey in HD

Probably more people watching L&S. :)

#7 apuszczalowski

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

View Postbills_fan_in_raleigh, on 18 February 2013 - 02:26 PM, said:

yeah they would rather provide ya Laverne and Shirley in HD versus hockey in HD
You haven't lived til you watched old shows from the 60's & 70's in HD...........

My issue is with the fact that they block out games that are available "locally" even if they are on a specialty channel, or with football how the blackout rule stretches to the NFl Sunday package. If I am paying extra for the service, why does it matter if the game is a local broadcast game? For example, if this Thursdays game against Toronto is broadcast on Leafs TV here, I can't get it on the NHL live (internet CI from NHL.com) because its considered to be on locally, when I have to pay extra to get Leafs TV here. My wife gets pissed being a Leafs fan now because they have started moving more games to that channel and playing less on the usual sportsnet channel, and she can't watch them on the internet because it says its being broadcast locally.

As for the NFL and the blackout rule, I am paying extra for the service to catch games, why can't I get local blacked out ones too since I am paying for the game (just not as much if I went to see it in person)

#8 buftex

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

Yeah, I have Cetner Ice through Time Warner.  I rarely get to see the Sabres in HD (unless it is a NBC game), and if I do, it is never the Sabres broadcast.  While they carry all the games (sometimes both team broadcasts, sometimes not...can't figure out the randomness of this), more often than not, I watch the opposition broadcast.  I have come to appreciate some of the other broadcasts more, over the years...while some are just terrible.  Minus RJ's call, I would rank the Sabres in the middle of the pack.

One thing that really annoys me (though it didn't happen this past Sunday) there have been a few times where the Sabres have been on an NBC, Sunday afternoon game...living in Austin, TX, where there is almost no interest in hockey, our local affiliate will sometimes pre-empt the NBC game for some local programming, or infomercials....and it is not picked up by Center Ice.  So, then, I have to watch it on-line...which I do not enjoy so much.  Also, pisses me off when games are on the NHL Network, which is not carried by Time-Warner...so we are frozen out.  But, I realize that is another issue...

I also subscribe to the NBA package during the second half of the season..it has the same issues.  They have 13 channels dedicated to the sports package (NHL or NBA) and then two HD stations where you get, normally one HD game.  Baffles me, there have been a few nights this season, so far, in the NHL, where there have been a full slate of games, but no games on the HD channels.  Or, and early face-off, but no late game.  Seems like NHL Center Ice is low priority for Time Warner.

#9 Taro T

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 11:25 AM, said:

You haven't lived til you watched old shows from the 60's & 70's in HD...........

My issue is with the fact that they block out games that are available "locally" even if they are on a specialty channel, or with football how the blackout rule stretches to the NFl Sunday package. If I am paying extra for the service, why does it matter if the game is a local broadcast game? For example, if this Thursdays game against Toronto is broadcast on Leafs TV here, I can't get it on the NHL live (internet CI from NHL.com) because its considered to be on locally, when I have to pay extra to get Leafs TV here. My wife gets pissed being a Leafs fan now because they have started moving more games to that channel and playing less on the usual sportsnet channel, and she can't watch them on the internet because it says its being broadcast locally.

As for the NFL and the blackout rule, I am paying extra for the service to catch games, why can't I get local blacked out ones too since I am paying for the game (just not as much if I went to see it in person)
While I agree with you totally that if you've paid to see the game you should get to see it and agree that it stinks that you can't watch it; they aren't going to lift the blackout because the local channel which has rights to broadcast the game either loses viewers (in your Loaf TV example) and the corresponding ad revenue or there is no local broadcast (in your NFL example) to put over the satellite and the local channel is losing ad revenue regardless as soon as the NFL says 'no Bills for you ... next.'  The networks, or more accurately their affiliates, would have kittens if locals could get blacked out games via Sunday ticket.

#10 apuszczalowski

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

View PostTaro T, on 19 February 2013 - 12:59 PM, said:

While I agree with you totally that if you've paid to see the game you should get to see it and agree that it stinks that you can't watch it; they aren't going to lift the blackout because the local channel which has rights to broadcast the game either loses viewers (in your Loaf TV example) and the corresponding ad revenue or there is no local broadcast (in your NFL example) to put over the satellite and the local channel is losing ad revenue regardless as soon as the NFL says 'no Bills for you ... next.'  The networks, or more accurately their affiliates, would have kittens if locals could get blacked out games via Sunday ticket.
I understand the Blackout part, I just think that if I am paying extra for the survice, I should still get the game

As for the Hockey example, The "Leafs TV" is an additional channel I would have to pay extra for, above and behind paying for more then basic cable service. If it was broadcast on a station that was part of basic cable (TSN, CBC, Sportsnet) I could understand it a little more, but either way, I am paying for additional access to games, they shouldn't be blacked out just because I can catch them locally on TV somewhere. If I did not have TV, just a computer and wanted to watch hockey, I wouldn't be able to catch a team that broadcast locally

#11 MattPie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 11:25 AM, said:

You haven't lived til you watched old shows from the 60's & 70's in HD...........

My issue is with the fact that they block out games that are available "locally" even if they are on a specialty channel, or with football how the blackout rule stretches to the NFl Sunday package. If I am paying extra for the service, why does it matter if the game is a local broadcast game? For example, if this Thursdays game against Toronto is broadcast on Leafs TV here, I can't get it on the NHL live (internet CI from NHL.com) because its considered to be on locally, when I have to pay extra to get Leafs TV here. My wife gets pissed being a Leafs fan now because they have started moving more games to that channel and playing less on the usual sportsnet channel, and she can't watch them on the internet because it says its being broadcast locally.

Simply put, it's how TV entertainment contracts work. Leafs TV (in your case) pays a bunch of money for the rights to broadcast games. And since they're paying the money, they make sure that they have the exclusive rights to those games so the Leafs (or NHL) can't sell the rights to  someone else, too. Leafs TV has to do this so they can tell their advertising clients that all the Leafs fans will be watching our channel during the game. Second to that, your local cable company pays Leafs TV for the rights to have their programming on their cable system. If people have the ability to watch the game somewhere else, Leafs TV becomes far less valuable. It's how the business works.

Would it be great if CI/GameCenter was complete? Sure. But it'll never happen until there's a fundamental shift in the way TV distribution works.

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

If I did not have TV, just a computer and wanted to watch hockey, I wouldn't be able to catch a team that broadcast locally

I'm doing what you just described, and I just go over to a friend's house or out to a bar when the Sabres are on cable here (NBC Sports, NHL network, or Flyers games).

#12 apuszczalowski

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:14 PM

View PostMattPie, on 19 February 2013 - 01:08 PM, said:

Simply put, it's how TV entertainment contracts work. Leafs TV (in your case) pays a bunch of money for the rights to broadcast games. And since they're paying the money, they make sure that they have the exclusive rights to those games so the Leafs (or NHL) can't sell the rights to  someone else, too. Leafs TV has to do this so they can tell their advertising clients that all the Leafs fans will be watching our channel during the game. Second to that, your local cable company pays Leafs TV for the rights to have their programming on their cable system. If people have the ability to watch the game somewhere else, Leafs TV becomes far less valuable. It's how the business works.

Would it be great if CI/GameCenter was complete? Sure. But it'll never happen until there's a fundamental shift in the way TV distribution works.
I understand that, but the big issue I have is that I am paying already for a service to watch NHL Hockey games (something that the Leafs and other teams are a part of). I can understand if the game is blacked out because its on basic cable and availabel to anyone with Cable TV, but if I am paying the NHL already for the ability to watch games, they shouldn't be blacked out cause another pay service is broadcasting an NHL product in the area. I have had a couple Sabres games blacked out here in Niagara when tehy played the Sens (and I think even the Habs) on Hockey night in Canada because it said its broadcast locally, whcih they were not because I am in the "Leafs region" and that game was on instead

#13 MattPie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 01:14 PM, said:

I understand that, but the big issue I have is that I am paying already for a service to watch NHL Hockey games (something that the Leafs and other teams are a part of). I can understand if the game is blacked out because its on basic cable and availabel to anyone with Cable TV, but if I am paying the NHL already for the ability to watch games, they shouldn't be blacked out cause another pay service is broadcasting an NHL product in the area. I have had a couple Sabres games blacked out here in Niagara when tehy played the Sens (and I think even the Habs) on Hockey night in Canada because it said its broadcast locally, whcih they were not because I am in the "Leafs region" and that game was on instead

I completely understand where you're coming from. But I'd wager $100 that the contract that NBC and each of the 'team stations' (MSG, Leafs TV, FoxSports Dallas, etc.) have with the NHL says something to the effect, "The NHL grants *exclusive* rights to [station] to broadcast this set of games.". The stations would be stupid to sign anything else that would allow people to watch the games somewhere else, and the NHL survives on it's TV revenue. It's business.

Now, you could make the argument that the NHL *might* be able to make a go of it if they got rid of all their TV contracts and streamed everything over the Internet, which is the only way I'll ever get local games on gamecenter. NBC stumped up $200m (I think) this year alone, I doubt the NHL is going to get over a million people to pay $150/yr for streaming.

#14 Neuvirths Glove

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:37 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 11:25 AM, said:

If I am paying extra for the service, why does it matter if the game is a local broadcast game?

FCC rules.  Local broadcasters get first dibs on the feed (and associated advertizing revenues).

#15 buftex

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 01:14 PM, said:

I understand that, but the big issue I have is that I am paying already for a service to watch NHL Hockey games (something that the Leafs and other teams are a part of). I can understand if the game is blacked out because its on basic cable and availabel to anyone with Cable TV, but if I am paying the NHL already for the ability to watch games, they shouldn't be blacked out cause another pay service is broadcasting an NHL product in the area. I have had a couple Sabres games blacked out here in Niagara when tehy played the Sens (and I think even the Habs) on Hockey night in Canada because it said its broadcast locally, whcih they were not because I am in the "Leafs region" and that game was on instead

I feel your frustration there...there have been times, in previous seasons where the Sabres are scheduled for an NBC Sunday or Saturday game, but, instead, they show a different game here (if they even bother to show hockey at all..as I mentioned beofore, they pre-empt it completely, locally sometimes...) that has some supposed more regional interest. Then, they won't show the Sabres game that was pre-empted locally on Center Ice..so, in effect, if a Sabres game is broadcast on national television there is a greater chance that I won't be able to see it...I understand why that is, I just think it is f'd up that it should be that way.

Edited by buftex, 19 February 2013 - 01:42 PM.


#16 Neuvirths Glove

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:53 PM

I'm glad I'm in an NHL city instead of Austin.  Rarely if ever do they pull a national broadcast game for local non-sports programming.  I think the realize that, at least for hockey, a lot of the market is imported and they don't mess with us.

#17 buftex

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

View PostDoohickie, on 19 February 2013 - 01:53 PM, said:

I'm glad I'm in an NHL city instead of Austin.  Rarely if ever do they pull a national broadcast game for local non-sports programming.  I think the realize that, at least for hockey, a lot of the market is imported and they don't mess with us.

Yeah, it is pretty frustrating.  I would think that there would be some pressure from NBC for their affiliates to carry the games.  Admittedly, I haven't noticing it happening lately, but it seems to happen a few times a year.  I remember a few years ago, the Sabres were playing the Rangers in a playoff game...Sunday afternoon face-off, on NBC. The game went into OT (double OT as I recall), and they just cut it for a showing of "Hope Floats" at the 3 hour mark..that was all the time they had allotted for "NHL Hockey".  Back in those days, I didn't know of any on-line sites to watch..even though I had Center Ice, I couldn't watch most of the OT. As I recall, the Sabres won!

#18 djp14150

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

View PostBluefire, on 15 February 2013 - 07:34 PM, said:

Most Cable Providers use Center Ice from a company called iN Demand: http://en.wikipedia....iki/In_Demand��

The company is owned by a few of the major cable providers, hence why DTV and Dish don't use it.

iN Demand doesn't carry all the feeds in all the formats, hence why they don't all show up on most cable providers and all cable services.

Not sure if FiOS uses that, but I know U-Verse does.  

DIRECTV manages their own Center Ice feeds and doesn't use iN Demand.  Dish Network also doesn't use iN Demand.  It's probably a difference between those two on how much space they want to give to the feeds, how much they want to spend on it, etc.

In Demand is a joint venture by Comcast, Time Warner,  and others.

One issue is that the way its set the stations used also carry MLB in season package.  They have about 12 stations and a few HD stations.

Thu by having only 12 stations they cant carry dual feeds of all games.   Some games they pick dual feeds on and others they dont.

I also think there are rules on how many games they cant take from each teams home broadcast network.

#19 djp14150

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:57 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 19 February 2013 - 01:14 PM, said:

I understand that, but the big issue I have is that I am paying already for a service to watch NHL Hockey games (something that the Leafs and other teams are a part of). I can understand if the game is blacked out because its on basic cable and availabel to anyone with Cable TV, but if I am paying the NHL already for the ability to watch games, they shouldn't be blacked out cause another pay service is broadcasting an NHL product in the area. I have had a couple Sabres games blacked out here in Niagara when tehy played the Sens (and I think even the Habs) on Hockey night in Canada because it said its broadcast locally, whcih they were not because I am in the "Leafs region" and that game was on instead


This happens with NBC regional games.  If there are 3 designated regional games that will air at 3pm. Your market get one but center ice could still black out the other two games.

The blackout has everything to do with local tv network rights.  I understand if its the same identical feed it shouldnt matter...but ...its possible the broadcast may be the same but the ads are not.  This is how revenue by the station who purchased the rights make up for it by selling ads to more viewers---thus only on one station.

In the USA, Canadian broadcasts are not subject to blackout.  For example I live in Seattle, through basic cable we get CBC.  On saturday we get HNIC on CBC but the feds are also aired on NHL network (USA) and an other games on CBC are carried on Center Ice.  Similarly Seattle/Portland are sports network called Comcast NW picks up some games feeds of Vancouver through their cable station feed.  These are not protected so a similar broadcast is carried by NHL center ice.

When i lived in the Virginia Beach area when Buffalo was good...when Buffalo was playing Ottawa, Carolina played NJ.  the Carolina-NJ series had a gamX blacked out in my area for some oddball reason.  Raleigh was 3 hrs drive away from where I lived, we had no feed of the Carolina hockey station (FOS sports South)...but they said we did thus since NBC SN didnt have exclusive rights to those games we were blacked out.

View Postbuftex, on 19 February 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

Yeah, it is pretty frustrating.  I would think that there would be some pressure from NBC for their affiliates to carry the games.  Admittedly, I haven't noticing it happening lately, but it seems to happen a few times a year.  I remember a few years ago, the Sabres were playing the Rangers in a playoff game...Sunday afternoon face-off, on NBC. The game went into OT (double OT as I recall), and they just cut it for a showing of "Hope Floats" at the 3 hour mark..that was all the time they had allotted for "NHL Hockey".  Back in those days, I didn't know of any on-line sites to watch..even though I had Center Ice, I couldn't watch most of the OT. As I recall, the Sabres won!

That wasnt what happened-----that was the Sabres-Rangers playoff series.  The game happened on Saturday afternoon.  It was the same day as the Kentucky Derby.  They didnt plan on the game overrunning their broadcast period for the Derby so they broke away from the game to show the Derby.  Versus should have then picked up the feed--but they didnt.

#20 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:29 AM

I was doing a little more reading so that I was prepared to deal with whatever service I can get when I move to my new place shortly.

DirecTV and Dish Network already carry just about every regional sports network in HD, so when it's time for Center Ice to pump the feed to you, they just switch that channel on for you.  That means you often get both feeds and usually both in HD.  Cable and FiOS use inDemand, which broadcasts many feeds in SD, mostly for the reason of saving the digital cable providers some bandwidth (inDemand is owned in a joint venture by several of the large cable conglomerates).

I might have to do my best to remain with DirecTV.

Edited by IKnowPhysics, 24 February 2013 - 03:30 AM.