At Aqueduct, live sport consumption is very important for us, our clients (TeamGB, Manchester City, Sunderland AFC or QPR) and their fans. We love it so much that we have created our live centre, used by Manchester City, Sunderland and TeamGB.
So what better opportunity than this week-end, and the clash of two of our Premier League clients to test DAZN.
DAZN interface is really well thought out. By default, a live video is shown in the background, with a grid of selected programmes, live or catchup. Below this, a selection per-league or per-sport helps the user navigate all the available content.
DAZN has no homepage, per se, as every video shows a grid of suggested content, exposing it as much as possible. Each league has its own page with related content.
By default when launching a video, there is a dark overlay, giving some information. For live game, it tells when the user will be able to see highlights. For a catch-up game, it gives the opportunity to the user to switch to the highlights (usually 5 min long for a football game).
This overlay takes around 5 seconds to disappear if the user don’t do anything, which is a bit confusing the first time, as the user can try to close this overlay. When in full screen mode, scrolling down brings in the related content while decreasing the sound of the video (a very nice little touch).
During a live event, the user can pause or rewind to any part of the stream. However there is no additional info or timestamp, like goals or cards to jump to directly (like the Deltatre Diva player used by Sky or BT Sports).
For its live streaming, DAZN uses quite a modern technology. It uses Google’s Open Source Shaka Player and therefore MPEG-DASH content which is an industry standard with people like Netflix, Microsoft or Adobe as charter members. It also means that it is supported by default on Android but iOS users need to download the iOS app. It’s an adaptive bitrate streaming technology, meaning the quality of video adapts to the bandwidth available and is codec agnostic.
The quality of DAZN was very good, very close and sometime better to premium TV OTT service like SkyGo or BT Sports, but slightly inferior to the new BBC sport.
Technical details are not available to the user, but observing bandwidth consumption, we can assume that average bitrate was around 3mbts and the stream was close to 720p resolution, making it totally suitable to connect it to a big TV and maintaining a good quality.
The colours were good, even if the image lacked a bit of detail versus 720p regular TV. Some good news, as it uses a Google video player, Chromecast is available by default and integration with Smart TVs and game consoles are coming up. The stability of the stream was good 95% of the time, with some rare buffering moments, which for a first week-end (and first month free!) is absolutely acceptable.
Seeing it from the UK, the choice is absolutely incredible: Premier League (most of the games), Championship, La liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A. Alongside this, some motor sport, American football, basketball (some NBA soon), tennis, horse racing, bowling and fishing. All this for less than £10 a month. Sadly, the service is only available in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Long story short, we were really impressed by DAZN. This is clearly the future of sport consumption, and we can’t wait to see what other parts of the Perform group can bring to the table (OPTA for example).
However, we’re also aware that this was made possible due to the specificity of the German markets, where a few sports and league (Bundesliga, Formula 1, Handball) really matters, and where the TV market is way less competitive than in the UK. Will it be possible to replicate this model in the UK, is a different question.