Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

ITV to show live F1 coverage online - The UK broadcaster step up to the digital plate

Published by Mr. C

Oh yes, it's true. I mentioned in the comments earlier this week that there was a peculiar ITV advertisement doing the rounds.

It looked like this:

ITV advertisement

And read: "Live coverage of Friday’s Practice, this Thursday at 11pm GMT."

I clicked the message, but to my disappointment the page didn't go anywhere. It also didn't explain whether the content would be online, on television or some kind of mobile service.

Today, ITV announced that they have in fact secured the rights to stream Friday practice on the web. They also have rights to something they're calling "simulcasts" of qualifying and the race. I can't for the life of me figure if there's a difference between live streaming and simulcasting, presumably they mean shown at the same time as on television?

In addition there's a 30-day catch-up service for the F1 programmes they do show on TV.

Sadly this service is limited to UK residents only, although there's a slim possibility there may be a technical workaround when it comes to the streaming content. Many people are telling us that a simple "proxy address" change will allow you access, but we've yet to confirm that.

In general though this is fantastic news, and a massive step forward for Formula 1 online broadcasting.

Update: The first Friday broadcast went reasonably well. The good news was the rumours suggesting it was a Windows only service were wide of the mark. The player is a simple Flash application that appears to work well across most platforms.

There were issues relating to choppy playback, bad sound and sometimes total video failure, but it's unclear if these were caused by problems with the World Feed (FOM's responsibility) or a problem with the content delivery network (ITV use Limelight Networks for this).

Ignoring the early teething troubles this looks like it could finally change Formula 1 broadcasting for the better.