Thursday Night Football broadcast fights continue for Prime Video

Thursday Night Football broadcast fights continue for Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video execs said this week that they were “very hopeful” that Thursday Night Football’s streaming issues “would be less and less of a thing.” Looks like we’ll all have to give it another go for week 4.

The September 22 game between AFC rivals North Pittsburgh and Cleveland was peppered with ongoing streaming issues where the resolution would drop and pixelate – look bad, in other words – before returning to normal. So it would be fine for a while before giving up again. And the problem wasn’t just limited to streaming the game – the ads would look bad too, which was at least a little ironic given the sheer number of ads from Amazon Web Services.

Low resolution Thursday night football.
That’s not high definition. Or even medium definition.

It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to solve and sometimes hard to tell if it’s actually a thing, as there are so many variables involved. There’s the video stream at the source, of course, and how it’s being distributed regionally before finally reaching your home network. And then there’s the issue of the device you’re watching on. It is as much anecdote as science.

My setup, for example, had me watching via the Prime Video app on an Apple TV, which was connected via Ethernet to an Eero Pro 6, all powered by an AT&T gigabit fiber connection. (And that fiber speed is consistently in the 800 Mb/s-plus range.) And my resolution was fine – to the point where it wasn’t. It came and went, and the inconsistency was perhaps the worst part.

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I was not alone.

@philnickinson #tnf it is totally unobservable. 104mbps on my device and I’m stuck between skipping the video or the spin of death. Simply horrible. We need a follow-up story

— Gabriel Del Rio (@gdelrio) September 23, 2022

Totally inaccessible. For a few minutes in Q1, it was almost fine, but there were still a lot of framerate issues. How is this not big national news? Who’s enjoying watching this game?! Tried FireStick and RokuUltra.

— B (@diplodink) September 23, 2022

The Steelers-Browns game was the second that was produced and streamed end-to-end by Amazon. In 2021, it broadcast the games but was not in charge of production, instead hitching a ride on Fox. The games were also available on the NFL Network. This year, it’s all Amazon, all the time. (Games are also being streamed on NFL+.)

It’s obvious, given the response from Thursday Night Football executives on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast, that Amazon was aware of the Week 2 struggles.

Let’s hope they get fixed in time for the Miami Dolphins at the Cincinnati Bengals on September 29th.

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