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Amazon’s first live-streamed broadcast of Thursday Night Football made it across the goal line. However, some miscues played out, similar to what happened on the field in the matchup which the Green Bay Packers won 35-14 over the Chicago Bears.
It’s the first of 11 scheduled NFL games that will be available to Amazon Prime members via Amazon Prime Video. The company reportedly paid $50 million to stream the games. Last year, Twitter paid less than $10 million to stream Thursday Night Football games, which also can be viewed on NBC or CBS and the NFL Network.
Prime members — the program costs $99 annually for free shipping, streaming video and other perks — can watch on Amazon Fire TV devices, on Amazon.com, and also on the Amazon Prime Video apps.
While a few viewers posted on Twitter about some viewing problems — no audio, video buffering — Amazon, overall, executed a successful kickoff of its NFL season.
“Overall, it was a very good experience for me,” said BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, who watched using a Fire TV device, Roku, iPhone and iPad. “I saw a little bit of buffering earlier in the game, but I think the overall quality across devices … looked excellent. I even had multiple feeds going at the same time, which is obviously using a ton of bandwidth and it looked great.”
His Amazon feed was buffering when Bears quarterback Mike Glennon fumbled after being sacked by the Packers’ Clay Matthews. “A fumble early in the first quarter is not as important as a fumble in the fourth quarter. I might have felt differently if it was a fumble with a second left,” Greenfield said.
He also noticed a gap of about 29 seconds between the Amazon feed and television feed. “Overall, it was a very good experience,” Greenfield said. “For me, the bigger issue was why the delay? And I was hoping (for, but) I didn’t see any ads that were truly interactive. I’m looking for how does it evolve?”
Phil Swann, who covers the TV industry on his TVAnswerman.com website, also saw a lot of complaints about the time lag. “But at one point, I noticed (the Amazon NFL feed) on my phone in sync with the DirecTV broadcast. I find that amazing,” he said. “When I checked a little bit later in the second quarter, suddenly there was a time lag and there were fewer complaints (about blurred video). You put two and two together and I wonder if they tucked in a little more of that latency protection and they didn’t worry so much about being in sync with real time to ensure that they would have fewer technical glitches.”
It was just an average night in live streaming. Several glitches, but no system breakdowns. Generally ok, but occasionally infuriating.
— Swanni (@SwanniOnTV) September 29, 2017
His experience watching the Amazon feed “was pretty good. More perfect than not, I would say. I read hundreds of comments online from people, a lot of mixed reaction. People were having audio issues, some people were having login issues and a lot of people saying, ‘This looks good to me. Give me more of it.”
This viewer watched early moments of the game on an iPhone at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and then attempted to login late in the first half using a Fire TV device at home. Instead, I switched to the Amazon Prime Video app on a Sony PlayStation 4 when I continued to get an error message after updating software on the Fire TV box.
I also saw a lag of about one minute during the second half between the CBS broadcast on Verizon Fios TV and the Prime Video feed.
Amazon had not yet responded to a request for comment on Thursday night’s stream.
Readers, did you have any problems or want to share how well your viewing experience was? Feel free to comment here or tweet at my address below.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.