As the early window of the NFL’s Week 2 came to a chaotic close, fans across the country were incredibly thankful for YouTube’s multiview mode on NFL Sunday Ticket.
Well, unless you had one of the window’s few non-competitive games on in one of your multiview tiles.
While YouTube allows viewers to watch as many as four games at a time with Sunday Ticket, the ability to customize what games you’re watching and which window they’re in is severely lacking.
Instead of letting you pick which game is in which window, YouTube simply provides viewers with combinations of two, three, or four games. If you’re able to find the combination of four games you want to watch, but the main game isn’t in your preferred tile, tough luck. You can’t swap it with another game.
Additionally, you can’t swap out one game for another in the multiview mode. If there are four competitive games on, and one of your tiles is tuned into a blowout, you can’t quickly switch it to another game. Instead, you need to completely switch your configuration to one YouTube has already listed. This isn’t ideal since you need to pull yourself away from the multiview in order to switch the entire setup. Furthermore, because of how many possible multiview options there are, the list of options drags on for quite a while, taking up even more time and making the process cumbersome.
Ideally, you would be able to slot each game you want to watch in each of the four windows and you’d have the ability to quickly swap one game for a different one.
This Sunday, it was pretty frustrating for me to have three one-score games on the screen and a fourth I’d also like to have on the screen (along with a fifth airing locally and blacked out on Sunday Ticket), but one tile being filled by the Bills taking the Raiders to the woodshed. To get that blowout off of my multiview, I needed to scroll through the various options until I found the combination of games I was looking for.
Unfortunately, this lack of customization is by design, as YouTube noted when announcing multiview earlier this year.
Can I choose what to watch in multiview?
No. Our goal with multiview is to make it available to everyone with a television. Since most devices don’t have the hardware to support multiview, we have to do the processing of video feeds on our servers to make multiview possible.
This means that every unique combination watched in multiview uses limited data center and computational resources. Because each region has unique, local content, we are especially constrained on the number of combinations we can create that include local feeds. We try to select the best combinations based on expected popularity, and are always improving our processes.
While this is disappointing, it’s just about the only flaw with NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube. Through two weeks, the picture quality has been fantastic, and the lag has been minimal. After initially being concerned about how easy it would be to find live games on the YouTube interface, it’s not an issue, with the games clearly presented at the top of your feed each Sunday.
The future is promising for Sunday Ticket, given YouTube’s investment and commitment to the product. But the biggest improvement that needs to be made is clear, and hopefully it will be rectified sometime in the future.
[Image via YouTube]