F1 TV users may receive compensation over faults

2018 F1 season

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Users of Formula One Management’s new F1 TV service may receive compensation for the faults some have experienced with the service this weekend.

Several F1 TV users advised RaceFans they have experienced problems with the service when trying to follow live sessions. Poor image quality, high lag and frequenting buffering delays are among the problems which have been reported.

An F1 spokesperson told RaceFans they are “aware that certain subscribers have experienced teething issues with the F1 TV Pro service, and are working to rectify the situation.”

F1 is “also investigating ways of compensating subscribers and an official statement in this regard is expected this weekend,” the spokesperson added.

This is not the first problem F1 has experienced with its new streaming service. F1 TV was supposed to launch in time for the start of the season but was postponed until this weekend’s race so further testing could be conducted.

Live streaming of F1 race sessions via ‘F1 TV Pro’ is only available to users in a limited number of regions, such as the USA, which do not have clashing television broadcast deals in place. In other regions users are able to sign up for ‘F1 TV Access’ which gives access to historic archive material but not live F1 footage and recent sessions.

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2018 F1 season

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 30 comments on “F1 TV users may receive compensation over faults”

    1. One would think before going ‘primetime’ they would have encouraged ‘Beta Testers’ (like a well known music streaming site did..and honored)..in return for lifetime free membership.

    2. “Frequent buffering delays” hardly describes the matter at hand. More like, 5 short bursts of sound and images disrupting the peace and tranquility of a Saturday afternoon …

    3. While I find it understandable (if regrattable) that there might be some (or a lot of) technical problems, what I am really disappointed by is the lack of F2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup as all of them had been promised prior to this weekend.

    4. I can’t believe that a business that costs 1 billion can’t hire a professional web development company to build and test a modern web application. There are so many bugs: no proper validation when you type text into input fields; the app tells me to subscribe when I already did; if you refresh the page, you get an error “You’ve reached the maximum number of concurrent streams on your account. To watch F1 TV on this device, please stop watching on one of your other devices”; etc.
      I feel that they didn’t test the app at all. They change how the front end looks during the time I use the app. €8 isn’t a big amount (even for Ukraine), but if I paid, I want a good enough service. And they force me to continue using illegal online streaming services to follow F1. Today, after their lame service was broken in P3, I didn’t even bother to try F1 TV for qualifying.

      1. I have to say I’m also very disappointed with how the website works. It’s very odd to navigate through, I thought I had access to GP2 and GP3 races but I can’t find them anywhere.

      2. true. it was an inside job that was made to look like an outside firm was hired. all seamy and conflicted. said firm probably paid for the contract. or provided due consideration for the contract. one day it may all be told.

      3. I am a professional web application developer and I was very much looking forward to see a high quality F1 TV application. I was shocked at what they delivered to all of us. The amateur quality of the application is one thing, but to not load test the servers before the Spanish GP? Our clients are much, much smaller than Formula 1 and we deliver extremely high quality applications to them which are load tested, optimized and beta tested.

        Very much agree with Sviat here. SMH….

    5. I hesitated yesterday because I knew this would happen, it was never going to work properly first time out, but they didn’t give any chance to test the system before purchasing, so I got my credit card and hoped for the best.

      It didn’t work, it kept buffering and nothing happened so I went back to illegal streams… I want the service to work because I want a reliable, legal source of streaming, so I hope I get some sort of refound… it’s a monthly fee, which only serves its purporse for 3 races, so it’s a bit on the expensive side already, even more so if it doesn’t work!

    6. It can take time to tune such kind of service. The complexity of such hardware and software behind, either frontend or backend makes it fragile in the beginning. It is possible to stress-test it to a certain extent but it will never be the same as a massive user connection wave. It will happen again until all weak nodes will have been reinforced.

      Also, often on the frontend part it lacks retro-compatibility with older and less powerful devices. It also can be simply too resource-intensive and the livestream can stutter or shift progressively. Better have a decent device.

      On a side note, sending crash reports or feedback usually is of much help for the developers.

      1. @spoutnik – I fully agree with the complexities of rolling out such services, especially globally, and especially such high-bandwidth applications, and I sympathize with the technical challenges associated with this.

        I will – however – criticize Liberty Media’s management approach to monetizing this. They have rolled it out as a paid subscription service from day 1, and are now making those who risked paying for a subscription regret that decision.

        What should have been done is for them to:
        1. Open up a form for fans to express interest in a subscription, and sign them up for free with just an email ID – this should have happened at the start of the season, and wouldn’t yet give them access to anything
        2. Start rolling out F1 TV access to small groups of users from point #1 from today (or even earlier), for free. For instance, if maybe 1 million users signed up in #1 (since it was free), notify 5% of them randomly selected that they’ve been selected to preview the service. Of the 5%, only 1% might actually commit to this, that’s alright.
        3. For that 1%, to enable access, ask for a credit card, and charge a one-time nominal fee 1 USD/GBP/EUR, this just confirms that the user has a credit card, and simulates an actual subscriber (e.g. credit card location checks, etc.). This can be refunded as well after a reasonable period.
        4. Let the 1% of users use the service, and get feedback from the users (as well as telemetry).
        5. Once functionality seems to be solid, and load handling seems to be good, security systems are all working as expected, then repeat steps 2-5 for a larger group.
        6. Repeat until the system is proven.
        7. Roll out the proper subscription service with monthly fees.
        8. Reward testers with the number of months equal to how long they tested (someone who tested for 2 months gets 2 more months free, for instance).

        This way, Liberty would have been able to:
        1. Test in the real world with a growing number of users, rather than opening the floodgates
        2. As a free testing period, they don’t face noisy (and justified) criticism from paying customers
        3. Being part of the inner testing circle will help build buzz (remember how Google rolled out Gmail with an invite-based system in its early days?)
        4. Get positive buzz going around F1 TV, and some brownie points for all the free access they’ve given to users during the test/reward period.

        1. @phylyp such kind of staged release is the dream of every developer. Noting though that F1 did beta-test it. But delays can happen and at some point the commercial needs makes it released semi-finished. It shouldn’t happen with the kind of budget F1 has though, refunding is the strict minimum for a non-working service, even an added 3 race bonus would be welcomed.

    7. to be fair, a world wide streaming service for live events with millions of viewers is a big challenge. For me, the live stream worked for 10-15 seconds then just buffered until i gave up. I’d assume they are just overwhelmed with demand and we’re all used to services like Netflix that work as well as cable TV, but Netflix and Amazon Prime and similar services have built up a user base over years and were able to expand there infrastructure gradually to meet that demand. Now, you’ve got to build it all and be ready on day one. I’d guess they tested it and it works for several hundred or several thousand people, but they didn’t really have a way to test it for several hundred thousand people world wide without going live.

      For what it’s worth, the replays have worked fine and there is a lot of stuff to see on there, but as you go through the archive they have an option for footage from every year back to 1950, but every year i’ve tried from the 1950 up to 1996 didn’t have anything and there was only 1 race recap in 1997 and 1 in 1998. I know they have that footage, so i assume it’ll be added in, but it is frustrating to have to option to click on a year just to have it say there is nothing from that year.

      I also didn’t see any options for anything beyond Just the exact same video that i’m getting from SKY through ESPN so I’m not getting anything new except a realistic option to cut cable if they get things working right. The other downside is that A lot of races are Early AM for me in the US so I normally turn it on and watch whenever i get up which a lot of times is in the middle of the race. No problem with the DVR, just play from the beginning, but that wasn’t an option i could see this morning when i tried to watch in qualifying. I would have had to wait until it was over, then watch to replay. As it stands now, I’ll probably cancel the service after Monaco if things don’t get better although i do think a free 2nd month would be fair to those of us that signed up early. The potential is there, and this is what i’ve been asking for for a while, they’ve just got to get it right.

      1. Not having a delayed stream is a blow indeed. I think the WEC application has such kind of “no spoiler – watch from the beginning” option. I hope they will implement this.

        1. now that i’m thinking about it, the WEC is under the FIA too. Why couldn’t they just partner up and use the same infrastructure? even if you keep the content from the 2 series separate, for the most part, F1 and WEC don’t have live events at the same time so demand for each is on different days. I remember reading that they had a lot of trouble at the start too, but i assume they’ve worked things out.

          1. this is the email i got just now

            Hello,

            Thanks for recently subscribing to F1 TV Pro.

            As you may know, we have experienced some live play-back issues during our coverage of practice and qualifying from the Spanish Grand Prix.

            We want to apologise for the inconvenience caused and we’re working as quickly as we can to get these resolved for you. Unfortunately we do anticipate that the problems experienced during qualifying will not be resolved in time for the race.

            Whilst we are experiencing some issues with the live video, you can still enjoy replays for all sessions including all on board cameras and unedited team radio, as well as Grands Prix from F1’s historic archive.

            Because of the problems you’ve been experiencing, we will be refunding you the equivalent of two weeks of your subscription. This will happen next week and it will be paid onto the card you subscribed with so there’s nothing you need to do.

            With this refund, the Grand Prix this weekend is on us.

            Thanks for your patience and support.

            The team at F1

            1. @lancer033
              Yeah, same here. I have a one-year subscription (playing the long game here), so refunding the equivalent of two weeks amounts to something like 2 bucks. Hooray! I could almost go buy myself a cone of ice cream with that. ;-)

          2. @lancer033
            One of the many problems with that might be the scalability (or lack thereof). How many people watch the WEC during peak hours, and how does that compare to the traffic an F1 weekend creates?
            I think they needed to put an entirely new infrastructure into place, to be able to accomodate a significantly larger viewership. Going for a smaller solution might’ve worked as a short-term fix, but the long-term strategy is to think big.

      2. exactly, great points. years and years to build up subscriber bases. either the soldier’s liberty put in place to roll this out got there by knowing how to be good soldiers rather than by being technical integrators of any sort or the chiefs themselves are out in deep space nine and all they care about is the stock price, and telling a good story to institutional investors. ie. the phony Miami news (far short of an actual race confirmation yet merely a vote to explore the possibility of holding an event, after a period of due diligence – which as we know from austin and new jersey, in the united states can take years) all being timed, of course, to coincide with a quarterly earnings report — that frankly was quite weak.

    8. This was always guaranteed and is why im happy to stick to other methods before its reliable and available in the UK. It’ll be great eventually.

    9. It this available in the UK now? I thought we weren’t getting it until next year

    10. Can’t speak about the live content (As we don’t get it) but the archive stuff has worked flawlessly for me since it launched on Wednesday….. Not that there’s anything on there currently that I actually want to watch as it’s all stuff I watched live & have seen since via Sky’s Classic F1 programming.

      I was hoping for a bit more older content from the 80’s/early 90’s as thats where my gaps are. There’s stuff from the 80’s i’ve either never seen or only seen via the BBC highlights of the time but would like to watch in full.

      In time that stuff will come of course, Just a bit disappointing that they started out with the more recent stuff, Especially since the initial beta version of the site had some of that content on it.
      https://twitter.com/Mattzel89/status/976588424604942337

    11. So predictable. I actually predicted they would postpone it again. This season made sense but tgey had no time, european season makes sense but they made no beta testing. I had predicted they were going to really start it in monaco but its not going to work right then either. Streaming aint easy.

      1. @mrvco
        But they are working with Tata on that project, aren’t they?
        Sorry, rhetorical question: Click.
        I think it’s safe to say that they are using this technology. Or a closely related tailored solution.

    12. Peter Bakalor
      12th May 2018, 21:20

      I got no moving pictures at all. Also saw the “too many sign-ons” message after doing a refresh. It’s certainly not either my equipment or my internet speed as both are right up there in speed and power. People have reported a big lag between the stream and the (real) TV broadcast – and the real TV broadcast is 25 seconds behind the timing screen on the F1 app and its accompanying R5Live radio commentary. That being so, I’m not sure what its attraction will be even when it’s working fine, for people in the US who can get the SKY broadcast via ESPN.

    13. I just got an email saying that we’ll be refunded for two weeks because of the issues, which they claim they cannot fix in time for the race. @keithcollantine

    14. It seems we qet a refund for 2 weeks worth of subscription…since “Unfortunately we do anticipate that the problems experienced during qualifying will not be resolved in time for the race.”

      But the most funny part of the e-mail was

      “With this refund, the Grand Prix this weekend is on us. ”

      So I can watch a black screen for free…..👍

    15. I couldn’t catch Qualy live, so can’t speak for any live stream issues. The replay was great for me though. The UI/UX still has a bit of work to be done IMO. I had a bunch of browser windows open with the race feed and the on-car cams that I wanted, it was tough to get them all sync’d up to the same time. Absolutely ecstatic that they give us full team radio though. Worth the cost just based on that!

    16. They haven’t managed to get their highlight videos on their website to work perfectly for the last 10 years s I had zero faith in this……. A paid service on Youtube would have worked perfectly, and I’m sure they could negotiate a great deal…. but no….

    Comments are closed.