Pros:large number of hockey games shown
Cons:local blackouts, station not available before end of post-game, cost
I have been subscribing to the NHL Center Ice Package on DirecTV for three years. To my knowledge, this package is the only way to see this number of NHL games.
Recommend this product?
I really love the fact that I can turn the TV on and have a large selection of live NHL games to choose from. And in absolute terms, the cost is not exorbitant, though seemingly increasing every year.
My biggest problems have to do with getting my money's worth out of the package.
First of all I am frequently disappointed to find that my home team is blacked out due to exclusivity rights with the local regional sports network. While this is fairly clearly mentioned in the advertising, it is none the less frustrating.
Secondly, since I live in the Pacific Time Zone, the only games still on when I get home from work are West Coast games, and this greatly reduces the games available for my viewing.
Also, a problem more specific to me than the service is the fact that I do not have enough leisure time to see enough games to make this investment a no brainer. I end up seeing less than a half a dozen games per season, which translates into over $20 per game. Looking at it that way, this is certainly a luxury item.
Another thing I don't like is the fact that the picture blacks out and the "station unavailable" message comes on moments after the conclusion of the game. I like to listen to the post-game analysis, and there is no chance to listen in on this.
Finally, a slight annoyance to me is the picture quality. A blocky blurriness occurs when there is fast motion on the ice or close-ups of the players on the benches (especially their jerseys). I'm not sure if this is caused by my decoder, the DirecTV Service, or the regional sports networks' encoders. Most people probably do not notice this or are not too bothered by it though.
So if you have some leisure time on your hands, love to watch lots of hockey, and are not bothered by any of the issues I mentioned, this is a great, unique package. Otherwise you need to decide if this is one of the splurges you can afford to have.
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