AHL Live: Review

I admitted last week that I was a desperate man: after years of using NHL Gamecenter to provide my hockey fix, I have become incapable of surviving the winter without hockey to watch in the comfort of my living room.  In my desperation, I turned to AHL Live and signed up for a $59.99, ten game package.   Last night, I finally had the chance to sit down, log in, and enjoy some AHL Hockey online . . . and here’s what I thought of the experience.

Getting Started

Logging in was no problem, but pretty much everything after that was more complicated than it needed to be.  Perhaps I was a victim of my expectations: as an NHL Gamecenter subscriber, all I had to do was log in, click on the game I wanted to watch, decide which feed (home or away) I wanted, and was transported to the game.   Getting to a game through AHL Live was nowhere near as easy to do.  it seemed easy enough: after logging in I found myself on a page that listed all of the evening’s games.  However, clicking on a game brought me to a page that looked exactly like the one I had to visit when I was setting up my subscription for the first time.  At first, I thought it was going to ask me to pay all over again, but all it wanted me to do was to verify the type of subscription I had previously set up.  I had to click on the ten game option, and then I was brought right back to the page showing me which games were available to view!   Talk about an unnecessary step: since I had already logged in, the system should have been able to identify my subscription automatically.

Getting Started . . . After I Got Started

That extra step taken care of, I was now able to click on the game I wished to view – in this case, the Hamilton Bulldogs at the St. Johns Ice Caps – and wait for the magic to happen . . . except, it didn’t.  The first time I clicked on the green Watch button next to the game, nothing happened.  Hmmm.  The second time, the game did, indeed start – but the audio did not match the video.  At all.  We’re not talking a few seconds delay here; we’re talking about me watching the commentators talk during intermission, while I listened to someone (possibly one of those commentators) interview a St. John’s player.  Switching to the away team’s stream did nothing to fix this problem; once again I was watching video that did not come close to matching the audio I was hearing.  Uh-huh.   Sensing a problem – I am pretty quick, ya know – I clicked the Live Chat option, which is supposedly available from noon to midnight on game nights.  Of course, my queries were never answered.

Watching the Game – Finally!

Eventually, once the game resumed, the audio fit the video pretty closely, with only a slight delay between the two, which is normal.  The video quality was a bit on the low side, definitely nowhere near high definition (not that I was promised such quality), but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact that I could not pause the game.   At first, I could not believe it – I looked everywhere for such controls, and when I could not find them, I looked again.  I just could not believe pausing the game wasn’t an option.  We’ve had the ability to pause and rewind live TV for quite some time now; there’s no reason why you should not be able to pause a live AHL game and rewind it or resume it when you are ready.  Granted, now that I have purchased this game, I can always go back and watch it in the archives, and I am assuming I’ll be able to pause, rewind, and fast forward that – but that’s not live hockey, and besides: now that I saw the game, what are the odds of me going back to watch it a second time?

All in all, I’m sad to say that I currently would not recommend that anyone looking for a hockey fix consider the AHL Live a viable option.  I’ve still got nine games left on my subscription, so I will use them and see if my experience improves with time.  Having read some of the comments on the AHL Live Facebook page, however, I am not optimistic.  The AHL may be a nice product to watch live, but for the amount of money they want you to shell out to experience their sport online, the results are dismal.

Next Sabres Game Full schedule »
Tuesday, Oct 2828 Oct7:30at Toronto Maple LeafsBuy Tickets

Tags: AHL Off Topic

comments powered by Disqus