It will probably take a year to get the bugs out of F1 TV – Carey

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has admitted its direct streaming service F1 TV may not be free of bugs for another year.

F1 TV was publicly launched at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix. FOM subsequently referred to its 2018 debut as a ‘beta’ and in a Liberty Media investor call today Carey referred to the over-the-top service having “its full launch this year”.

Carey said FOM “felt pretty good about the product” but had been surprised behind the widespread outages several users suffered during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.

“The issue that arose in Azerbaijan really was unexpected, that’s the nature of these platforms. I think you have to deal with it. To some degree the unexpected is obviously always troubling but it was not in the main stack of what we’re trying to build there.

“The unexpected will occur occasionally, but I think we felt we’d made pretty good headway. We’re not far enough along to ever say there won’t be another problem. But the problems before that had been probably quite manageable. These things aren’t perfect, and it will probably take us another year to get all the small bugs out of it.

“The significant glitch that we had there was something outside the core of what we’ve been building in the platform. We need to make sure that we’re looking at it in the wider context. But I think the core of what we expected to be the platform we feel is functioning pretty well. Not perfect, but pretty well.”

Some fans were given refunds following the disruptions to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix broadcast.

Carey added F1 also intends to add more archive content to the service in future.

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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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37 comments on “It will probably take a year to get the bugs out of F1 TV – Carey”

  1. Sush Meerkat
    9th May 2019, 18:50

    Lol Toto youre perfect for this role

    1. hahaha 😂😂😂

  2. Totally unacceptable in 2019. The technology to stream live video at high volume to subscribers exists in abundance. Here Carey is essentially admitting that Liberty are reinventing this wheel for themselves and are unwilling (presumably in the name of squeezing costs) to pay for any of the solutions they could get off the shelf with less disruption than what they’ve had so far with their current offering.

    1. +1 They should have just followed the MLB (USA, MLB built a reliable global streaming service… 15 years ago. Technology and knowledge is available. Indian outsourcing is different matter.

    2. I am pretty sure that the reason they are building their own platform, is because they see this as such a key element of their future business Will, @Alexde.

      I have seen quite a few companies staring out with buying a product and then either having to build it themselves later to have full control, or shell out a huge amount of money to buy it from the producer (or just buy that company outright).

      Honestly, if they manage to get this working without any teething issues in most markets within another season, I’d think that is quite a decent achievement.

  3. Well then stop charging us. It’s buggy at best and in the day and age of streaming, where in my family I pulled the plug on cable and satellite over a year ago, this is unacceptable. Did they give this any thought? Did they speak with professional services? Was there a discussion of infrastructure? Enough is enough, they’re a year into this, the time to fix major bugs was BEFORE it went live.

    1. Exactly, I thought they had ironed it all out after a year already and took out an annual subscription for the 2nd race. More fool me if they’re now happy to treat me as a beta user paying full price. They’ve ignored my request to cancel my subscription with immediate effect (I’d grudgingly pay a couple of months to cover what I’ve had), and I may yet go the route of cancelling the payment via my credit card provider, but that carries the risk of them marking me as bad credit.

      1. Just poor service, poor performance, and a general feeling that they don’t care about the product.

        1. I think the App on iPad never worked. Only on Fridays, but during Quali and Race not even able to get the videoplayer to open.
          I think it only works on PC’s or Laptops with a full browser. The browser on iPad or iPhone has same problems as the app. And the small devices is what you get the streaming service for. I want to look at the tv at the race. And to the onboards and extra info on my tablet.
          Even playback doesn’t work properly. Signed out within an hour or so.
          This thing is terrible.

    2. Exactly, if it’s not free of bugs then make it free.
      It would be honest and would also attract people to use the service for when they do start charging.

      1. Come on, there are milliions of people using all sorts of buggy computers, phones and even cars all over the world. And many of them pay a premium for the favour and are happy about it.
        Not to mention almost any game that comes out nowadays is buggy and some never even really work without problems.

        In comparison this really is not that bad at all.

  4. Keith M Crossley
    9th May 2019, 19:21

    Glad they at least acknowledge the problems (used to get silence) and thanks for the five bucks. But these issues are preventing me cancelling cable which I really want to do!

    1. But it’s hardly an acknowledgement really. His assesment is far from describing how abysmal the service is

    2. check out Youtube tv or Hulu tv. I canceled cable for youtube TV and still get F1. Only problem i’ve had so far was when qualifying was delayed in baku and the end of Q3 didn’t record.

      What they should have done/should still do is just make F1 TV a pay channel on Amazon instead of trying to build the whole thing from scratch.

  5. DAllein (@)
    9th May 2019, 19:25

    Once they get rid of 30-60 seconds delay in video feed… then we’ll talk.
    Up untill then it is a public stunt and almost fraud. Even buggy fraud.

    1. @dallein A 20-30+ second delay is just where technology is currently & you will see a similar delay on a majority of other platforms. You get about the same delay on ESPN & Sky just as it was Channel 4 & the BBC.

      When I was in the UK for Bahrain the additional video feeds on the Sky ipad app was about 50 seconds behind there TV broadcast.

      There are some new things been tested to reduce the delay for live streams but these are likely a few years off been ready to be widely adopted.

  6. Thanks Keith, for staying on top of this. Either Carey is completely uninformed by the department in charge of this, or downplaying and lying.

    For the record, I send their support staff this mail in the 28th, during the race. Which has been promptly ignored since then:
    Dear Sirs,

    As per your request on @F1Help, I’m contacting you in regards to receiving compensation for the many issues for F1TV Pro.

    So far, we’ve had four races, and only one of those races has been okay, which is China. I would like to receive compensation for the following:
    1. Friday in Australia, where both FP1 and FP2 could not be streamed in my country at all, and the race had missing feeds for the first half of it.
    2. Bahrain, several choppy feeds throughout the weekend. F2 Sprint Race on sunday wasn’t broadcast until halfway through.
    3. Baku, both qualifying and race being unavailable for streaming.

    I would also like to know why the F1TV App hasn’t worked on the iPad (11-inch) since launch. You force portrait mode. Your fullscreen mode is broken as it shows the background. I can’t view any archival footage as any links are unclickable. For the past two races I am also unable to stream a single live feed, as clicking the “Play” button does absolutely nothing. Watching through the website on iPad is inferior, as the quality is lower, there’s no split screen view.

    Please start testing your apps on all current hardware properly, this kind of performance is really unacceptable.

    Do note I subscribe through Apple subscriptions. I look forward to hearing how you will be compensating all these issues.

    “Pretty well” is not how I would describe a service with these kind of issues. Maybe instead of pretty well he meant to say pretty horrid, either way, them taking another year to fix this is a shock to me.

  7. People need to relax.

    It’s a glitchy live stream, they didn’t murder any puppies.

    If it sucks, why are people paying for it? Go blame the people who financially support their fail. Personally I look forward to when it gets good, but I won’t pay until it is…. that’s just me.

    1. That’s the point. We paid for it trusting it would work and there’s no way to get our money back. It’s not a per race system.

      1. I would had that must of us who did pay did not have other legal means of accessing F1

        1. Add not had, sorry.

    2. @Xcm

      How would you know when to subscribe, if everyone followed your example?

  8. Got confirmation of the refund today:

    Hello xxxxx,

    Thanks for subscribing to F1 TV Pro.

    As you may know, we experienced some issues with the F1 TV service during our coverage of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

    We want to apologise for the inconvenience caused and we’re working as quickly as we can to get these issues resolved for you.

    Because of the problems you’ve been experiencing, we will be giving you a refund for 5.6 EUR to apologise. This will happen this week and it will be paid onto the card you subscribed with so there’s nothing you need to do.

    Thanks for your patience and support.

    The team at F1

    1. I got 7.50 for some reason

    2. How much do they charge in your country? I only got a measly €3.36 back, not that I really care about the money, it’s the principle.

      1. 3.31 here

  9. It’s more expensive than most streamable content. I was ok paying it because the theorical content (races ! Live ! With any device ! When you want ! Historical races ! F2 races !) seemed to be worth it. But, in no peculiar order :’s unreliable,
    B. I never managed to get support races,
    C : navigating historical races is bad,
    D : the android app is so bad I’d rather use the browser on my phone
    E : The worst one for me – There are no inbuilt casting ability (no TV except through mirror casting and then bye bye phone… On which I would have liked to be able to watch driver tracking and lap times…)
    F : I dare not use multicam for fear of losing signal.
    G : Replays aren’t available until hours after the end of the race.
    H : During replays it’s very hard to fast forward or backwards.
    I : Live or during replays, If you interrupt viewing well too bad, you’ll have to fiddle until you find where you were at (and if you come back 5 minutes later during a live feed well, you lost 5mins).
    J : Btw I’m not sure but to me there’s no way to pause live.
    K : I haven’t been able to use multicam during replays (this one I can actually understand).
    L : Edited content appears on YouTube before it gets to f1tv.
    M : Video compression can be dreadful even for replays compared to other services….

    And of course Azerbaïdjan was a no show and there were the problems @aiii mentions.

    So pretty sure Carey has never used it before his interview.

  10. The surprising thing about the ongoing problems is that the companies who are handling it are industry experts.

    TATA Communications (The data is sent from the circuit over there fibre Network), Playmaker Media (Who act as systems integrator) & iStreamPlanet (Who process & distribute the feeds from there servers).

    I don’t believe any of the issues lies with TATA as there simply sending the data from the circuit to FOM’s Biggin Hill base. Many broadcasters are now also picking up the worldfeed broadcast via TATA rather than satellite now as well.

    It’s somewhere between Playmaker Media & iStreamPlanet as there handling the software, Servers & distribution. There both fairly widely used which is why it’s surprising there are issues. I don’t know if it’s something as simple as the amount of data F1 is sending them as with 24 1080p video feeds & over 30 audio feeds thats probably well above what anyone else is sending through there systems.

    1. Maybe I’m wrong but it smacks to me as less of a problem with the stream and more with the rights management. Hence people being logged out and being asked to subscribe when they already have. Several people, myself included, suggested streaming without login until they fix it properly. The Official F1 Twitter account responded that they couldn’t because of broadcasting rights. At that point it would have been easier to say the stream was broken, seeing as nobody could watch anyway.

    2. @gt-racer – thanks for the insight on the various parties involved, and their areas of responsibility. That was enlightening.

  11. The main problem in my view isn’t the glitch stream. That’s understandable for a new platform, I suppose. But the site itself is very hard to navigate… It’s like something from the a decade ago .. annoying to use, very unfriendly…. And that has nothing to do with the service or whatever, it’s the one thing that should’ve been right from the beginning. It’s very hard to go through historical races, the main page was odd…

    As far as I know they never changed anything on the site. Add to that the site keepa buffering and you got a hell expensive bill for something unusable.

    In this era of incredible technological improvements in the field of telecommunications, it’s amazing a brand like F1 can’t come up with a good stream.

  12. Just cancelled my subscription. Wish I could keep it, but that amount of money for a product that is inferior to unofficial streamers I can’t justify anymore. Maybe I’ll come back, but as long as I have my other sources I’m done paying for a non functional app, inaccessible live broadcasts, and buffering replays.

    As mentioned above; has been streaming 12 to 15 games a night for 15 years. This isn’t new technology.

  13. They should have beta tested it for a year FOR FREE or allow early investors to support it for a small token amount. Then release the full version when ready.

  14. I subscribe to the F1 Access, which is a lot cheaper at roughly $25 US, and I’d have to say that it’s pretty much what I expected.

    I don’t mind watching the race about an hour after conclusion since I’d need to wake up about 4:00 in the morning if I wanted to watch the race live. Now I just wake up at a normal hour and watch the race.

    I’m glad Carey mentioned increasing the Archive content. For me, that’s where ot really lacks, with no content prior to 1981 – and this is a TON more than last year.

    All in all, I’m satisfied with the $25 I’ve spent.

  15. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    10th May 2019, 8:47

    Maybe I’m too naive but if I need to stream nowadays I knock to YouTube’s door and my a** is covered.

    Meanwhile I can build, test and expand my own infrastructure, making incremental users steps while always having a backup. In 2-3 years I’m able to cut YouTube and start making profit.

  16. I am surprised how casual Chase Carey is about this (“that’s the nature of these platforms”) – as multiple people have said, the service is awful. I watch plenty of official feeds – IMSA, Blancpain, WEC, and they stream with no problem for hours on end, support casting, some provide easy access to highlights, and I bet that their digital OTT budgets are a fraction of Liberty’s. I understand the volume of people watching those motorsports is lower, but there are plenty of other streaming services that work well and are watched by millions.
    Totally unacceptable situation

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