For several years now, the Football League have been offering commentary on games over the internet. I have been a subscriber to this service for a few years now and have truly enjoyed the service, despite its faults.
Sadly, the operators of the service, PremiumTV appear to have little or no knowledge of reality. The service for which I pay allows me to receive a 16 kbps stream of BBC Essex commentary on Southend United games. The service is ropey in that the link is frequently lost but there is no other practical way for exiled football supporters to follow many of their clubs’ games.
Now, however, I find that PremiumTV are changing the system. Currently it can be accessed using almost any web browser and Windows Media Player 9 using the ACELP codec. In the future, however, the system will move to WMP10′s DRM system, compatible only with Windows.
For music sales, I am in many ways ambivalent about DRM. I have bought a good number of tracks from the iTunes store and rarely ever now buy a physical single. However, this is for a 128kbps recording. I honestly struggle to believe that PremiumTV will do anything to protect their market by moving into DRM to protect a 16kbps audio stream, a bitrate which is in quality terms roughly halfway between a telephone call and medium-wave radio.
I remain optimistic that the company may see sense. For what it’s worth, I have contacted the Football League, Southend United F.C. and the SUSCT.