What is it?
Well, according to NHL.com:
NHL GameCenter LIVETM is a subscription service offering streaming video of live out-of-market games, on-demand replays and more across multiple devices. For a single price, you can watch games on your personal computer, on smartphones and on a variety of Internet-connected devices.
What are some of its features?
Once again, according to NHL.com:
• Watch live out-of-market games in HD-quality with a choice of the home or away team's broadcast (live games available during the regular season in US and Canada)
• On-demand full-length and condensed replays
• Follow the action from multiple games at once with mosaic view and picture-in-picture
• Use your NHL GameCenter LIVETM subscription to watch games on a variety of devices.
• Continued access to live stats and play-by-play from NHL GameCenterTM
How much does it cost?
Its will cost you $99.95 in one bulk payment, or 5 payments of $19.99.
What do I like about it?
I live in Ireland, so, thanks to the time-zone difference, watching live NHL usually means games starting at 1 AM and finishing at around 4 AM. Doing that 3-4 times a week for 82 games simply isn't possible, so GameCenter LIVE allows me to watch games the following day whenever life gets in the way or I just have to sleep. Watching every game is vitally important for my writing, so GCL is an indispensable tool for me.
I love that it allows me to rewind live games and re-watch plays whenever I want. Also, it is great for doing "play-by-play" analysis for articles by allowing me to go through plays with a fine-tooth comb frame by frame. The feeds are generally great quality, so it is ideal for taking scree-shots/screen-caps to do more in-depth visual analysis.
Subscribing to GCL also gets you a free subscription to "NHL Vault", usually $4.95 a month, which lets you watch over 800 classic games dating back from the 1960's to the 2000's.
What don't I like about it?
Locally broadcast games, along with games that air on NBCSN or NHL Network are blacked-out. The rules about what is blacked-out and where are quite complicated, so read more about them here:
Due to local and national blackout rules and regulations, game broadcasts that are available to watch on television in your local market and nationally televised games are not available to watch live or within 48 hours of game completion in NHL GameCenter LIVE™. To determine the teams in your local market which are, therefore, not available to watch live, please check your zip code. These games are broadcast on a regional sports network in your area.
National broadcasts may include games televised on the following networks in your area: CBC, NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, RDS and TSN. Games broadcast live on these networks -- regardless of whether they are available with your cable or satellite package -- are not available to watch in NHL GameCenter LIVE™ until 48 hours after the game is complete. In the United States and Canada all Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final games will be nationally televised.
For international customers, blackout restrictions may apply to games that appear on an NHL partner network in your viewing area. International partners include: ARENA SPORTS, CANAL PLUS SPORTS, ESPN America, Nelonen, NOVA SPORT, SPORT 1 Hungary & Romania, OSN SPORT, PRAGO SPORT, PREMIER Sports, PRISA TV, SETANTA SPORT, Setanta 1, Setanta Ireland, SPORT TV Portugal, SPORT TV Slovenia, VIASAT and Xsport. Please check your local listings for broadcasts on these networks.
"Setanta Sport" and "Setanta Ireland" are the two channels I get that show NHL games, so those games are blacked out from GCL for me (not that it matters because they almost exclusively show only Rangers, Flyers, Oilers and Canucks games).
Another downside to GCL is the slight delay on the feed. This can be particularly annoying if you enjoy Tweeting during games and you find your Twitter-feed blows up to annouce a goal about a minute before you actually see it on GCL.
So, overall, I think GameCenter LIVE is a great product and good value, but, before you put your money down, make sure that it suits your particular situation.
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