'Things will go wrong for Rugby World Cup coverage'
Spark has taken a "high-risk play" by signing on to stream the Rugby World Cup and may have to accept that some customers will never be happy, commentators say.
Spark Sport will stream every Rugby World Cup match on demand via its Spark Sport app and 12 matches will be broadcast on TVNZ.
But some sports fans are pointing to glitches with its app as harbingers of cup doom.
Posts on social media have complained about "motion blur" when a ball is moving fast, messages claiming the service is "temporarily unavailable" and the picture lagging behind the action.
'They'll be pretty fizzed' – All Blacks primed for pre-World Cup hit out against Tonga
The All Blacks are primed for their pre-Rugby World Cup hit out against Tonga on September 7. ...
Spark spokeswoman Samantha Smith said it had addressed customer feedback about picture quality last week, improving the way its platform streamed video content to devices.
Are you having issues with Spark Sport? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
She said customer queries varied but Spark encouraged people having problems to get in touch.
Tech commentator Paul Brislen said the platform seemed to be doing well.
But I do see a lot of angst. But there are always going to be issues outside Spark's control — the local network connection, home wiring issues, host broadcaster … It's a high-risk play to have taken on something as important to Kiwis as the Rugby World Cup but the signs are they're doing the right things by it."
Paul Spain, of NZ Tech Podcast said Spark would always have challenges.
"That's the bottom line with trying to move everyone into streaming to watch the Rugby World Cup, that's a huge challenge. Now they've got Sky breathing down their necks."
Sky has signed a four-year deal with BeIN sports to provide football content.
Spain said it was likely Spark would take feedback from the initial games of the Rugby World Cup and tweak its platform if necessary.
He said there were a lot of variables that could affect how well the platform would work for people, including their own ability to wrangle technology. (For some tips on how to use it check this out.)
"If someone has ultrafast broadband and a wire directly into their nice shiny new TV it's probably going to work really well."
But for everyone else, he said, there would be challenges and Spark would have to accept that some of them would make it to its Facebook page.
"It's a calculated risk. I don't know how well calculated but there will be a lot of people who will be unhappy. It might be a small percentage of the population but it will be enough to make a noise."