Formula 1 upgrades official streaming service F1 TV Pro

2021 F1 season

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F1 TV, Formula 1’s official streaming service, has been upgraded in time for the 2021 season, the fourth year it has been available to fans.

The service, which offers 24 live F1 channels including onboard cameras for all 20 drivers, will also be offered in three new countries for the first time.

F1 TV’s picture quality has been upgraded to 1080p and 50 frames per seconds. Its interface and playback system have been revamped, giving users a finer degree of control over the streams, which could not be paused or rewound during live broadcasts previously.

Better support for casting to television has been added. Users can now cast footage using Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay.

The total number of territories F1 TV is now available in has increased to 118 with the addition of Brazil, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the upcoming season.

The upgraded service can already be accessed via the official F1 website and updated apps will arrive soon for Android, Apple iOs and Amazon Fire. F1 TV services for Android TV devices, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are also in development.

The revamped app was produced in conjunction with Accenture’s Industry X group and Amazon Web Services Products & Services.

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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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  • 57 comments on “Formula 1 upgrades official streaming service F1 TV Pro”

    1. I wonder when this will be upgraded to 4k quality. It is my understanding that they are already using compatible cameras around the track. Isn’t Sky tv already broadcasting in 4k?

      1. They sure are. In Australia we get the 4k sky coverage via Foxtel. Unfortunately this means we don’t get access to this streaming service which is a shame.

      2. I wonder whether they manage to improve stability and eliminate the delay on their mobile app.

        The F1TV app was always ~40 secs behind last season. Kinda sucked for some situations.

    2. Supporter here; This feels like a reprinted press release.

      What countries? Is it still blocked in the UK?

      Costs?

      … ?

      1. From what I gathered, blocked in the UK, 79 dollars a year in the US.

      2. I do know that Slovakia and the Czech Republic were added @falken.

        Which means i have now signed up to watch F1 officially instead of having to hunt for under the counter ways to get to see the races (over here it was on 1 large IPTV platform from o2 and an obscure sattelite only. And in Czech with really meh commentary IMO.)

        It currently goes for 50 EUR/year (or 5 per month) which translates to about 1303 CZK/year.

        1. With the coupon F1TV25 you get the 25% off this week (so about 38 EUR)

          1. Excited to finally be able to legally watch F1 with my commentary of choice in my country, I’ve jumped onto the website and purchased myself a subscription without ever noticing the coupon. May F1 use that money well.
            When I logged in to the F1 TV Pro website, I was greeted by a dark blue screen with no content. Clearing cookies & browser cache resolved the issue.

            btw @bascb, curious to see that you’re also Czech-based, especially given that your profile looks overwhelmingly Dutch.
            Happy to see so many Czechs in the comments section. Wishing the best to fans in other countries who continue to be overlooked by F1 to join us soon.

            I’m writing this for the second time because my anti-procrastination browser plugin blocked RaceFans when I submitted the comment the first time. Clearly I’ve been reading too much ^^’

            1. Well, yeah @johnbeak. I AM Dutch. But i live in the Czech Republic. And yeah, I noticed that coupon only after first subsribing too.

    3. Martin Elliott
      8th March 2021, 12:41

      Still geo-blocked to fans in the UK because of SKY contract.

    4. Certainly sounds good, the 1080p and 50fps was long overdue -quite frankly the fact it’s not 4K 50fps already makes it outdated in 2021 as this is released. But I’ll wait and see if these apps deliver on what is promised and not a complete mess as it has been so far. The last 3 years the App has been terrible and not once did it receive any kind of meaningful update to remedy its issues. Up until right now, to the point where using the website on an iPad was a better experience even if it did refresh the page randomly for no reason every time you dared pause a race.

      I mean, they didn’t even have the most basic functionalities, like a continue watching feature or a search function and they didn’t allow you to airplay or chromecast? The latter is now finally remedied, but should really have been there from day one when you release a streaming service with zero app for popular streaming devices like Apple TV and Android TV. Who knew people liked to watch their racing on their TV. It’s not like you named your service after the thing.

      Sorry, I’m ranting on this, but I think that goes to show just what a complete mess the entire F1TV experience has been for all these years.

      1. @aiii I’ve always had the feeling that it was something they rushed out because having an OTT service was something Liberty really wanted to have available as quickly as possible.

        They probably should have spent 2018 developing it in private with maybe a limited access public beta later in the year to get it ready for the start of the 2019 season. By rushing it they just ended up with a service that barely worked for the 1st year & which came across as been a bit half baked for the 2nd. Last year was better but it’s still nowhere near what it could be.

        The improvements they have made now are welcomed & I think the redesign is a huge improvement over the prior design. Just a shame that deals with broadcasters ensure that the Pro subscription tier that gives live content isn’t available in regions such as the UK which also doesn’t have access to any current season session replays.

      2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
        8th March 2021, 22:11

        I agree to a point. But I was just happy to have the ability to watch F1 live again. Even with all these issues early on. They did provide refunds on many weekends when the streams didn’t work great in the first year. I think I got half of what I paid for the service back. And a couple more weekends in the second year. So even though, they had a bumpy start. I think they have come a long way and have improved. The features are getting there. I think, like most, just had the issue of their eye’s being bigger than their stomach!

    5. Does anyone know why they removed support for Germany?

      1. Because of the new Sky DE deal TurboBT.

      2. I think it’s because F1 in Germany is exclusively shown on sky now. And part of the deal is – like in the UK – that F1 TV is geo- blocked…

        1. This explains why I couldn’t watch qualifying yesterday then.
          I thought they were waiting for current deals to expire, before offering this service globally?
          Doesn’t bode well for when current UK Sky contract expires….

          Reply moderated
        2. This is why we pirate streams

          Reply moderated
      3. Because “we race as one.”

    6. I opened F1TV to access archive content and the platform was VASTLY improved in terms of design and usability from it’s previous iteration.

    7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th March 2021, 13:43

      I still find it a joke that this paytv is making an “upgrade” to 1080p when things such as Freeview in the UK had HD channels that were not even part of the BBC tv licence (so technically free) back in 2010 such as channel 4. Free TV a decade ago was just as advanced in image quality as this is today.

      I also think it is silly that sky even has 720p as their budget nowtv streaming quality and force you to pay extra just to get full HD when QHD (2.5k) and 4k is around for many things these days. Even worse, it is SD of you use it on a portable device. Some of these things are way out of date.

      I will admit the features of F1 TV look pretty good, though I feel I would just get overwhelmed by them. I prefer to just watch and not have to put the effort in and chose what i look at.

      1. @thegianthogweed The live streams & other HD content on F1TV has always been 1080p. The thing that’s new is that streams will now be available at 50fps rather than 25.

      2. Broadcast tv in the uk has never been 1080P, it’s 1080i which is closer to 720P in truth.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          8th March 2021, 22:40

          @alec-glen

          Well, I shouldn’t have said freeview was “just as” advanced, but I was aware it was 1080I and that is close enough that is is still pretty shocking that paytv now isn’t better than it is.

          I personally would say 1080I is closer to 1080p though. If your TV has a good decoder, it is more obviously a jump up from 720p than a jump down from 1080p.

    8. The integrated ‘casting’ is a big plus, although I’m not sure if this works when using a laptop specific VPN (from a geo-blocked country).
      I now ‘airplay’ my laptop screen which works okay, but I prefer full casting.

      1. I guess you’ll have to see about that casting through VPN yeah @coldfly, but since they have been announcing more and more ways to do it, let us hope they get this working for many more people.

      2. Casting through a VPN will never work, unless you set up your default router on your network to go through the VPN. When you cast you technically tell your chromecast or apple TV device the URL that it needs to play and you gain some controls of that stream on your phone.

        There is no practical way to cast something that you get on your phone/laptop/ipad/tablet through a VPN.

        If you are very network it savvy you can get it to work no doubt, but then you already knew this answer :)

        1. There is no practical way to cast something that you get on your phone/laptop/ipad/tablet through a VPN.

          I don’t want to see my router up to use a VPN; it’s too much work. @bazzek.
          But the good thing about Airplay is that I can cast my laptop screen (not the URL) to my TV (via an Apple TV). This works perfectly.
          I then set a second (non casted) screen on my laptop to show the timing sheets and get my beer and peanuts ;)

      3. It‘s a step forward – last year it was discouraged and did work quite reluctant (as did most of this buggy software). Now you cannot watch in the browser on the iPad but have to use the app (which didn‘t let me log in – problem solved with the help of support). Today I had to struggle to update credit-card details for about half an hour.
        Without the proper card I cannot extend the subscription – and in Germany I wouldn‘t be able to subscribe again.

    9. They removed the ability to watch in a browser on mobile, which also removed the only way to cast to a TV. The apps are still the execrable versions of prior seasons as of March 6, with no casting ability, no PiP, and no ability to remember where you stopped a race if you want to return later.

      Perhaps they’re planning to update the apps to allow casting, but it hasn’t landed yet.

      1. …errr March 8th – drat my lousy vision!

      2. @zapski You can get it to work on mobile browsers by telling it to use the desktop version of the site.

        Worked when I tried it in Chrome an Android anyway.

        1. I’ll give that a shot! Thanks!

          1. No joy on iOS, alas :(

      3. It says that the new app versions should arrive soon tm

        1. RSN releases are my favorites ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    10. Have they added faster-than-real-time playback for recorded sessions and segments? Cause I regularly used to watch the Buxton segments on Youtube (where that option is available), and have stopped watching them since they were pulled and are only available at this-dude-sounds-drunk real-time on F1 TV Pro.

      I imagine watching the free practice sessions at 1.5x or higher wouldn’t hurt much either. (but save considerably on time in aggregate across an entire season)

    11. Finally!!! I dont think i could take any more of the Czech TV coverage and commentary. Even “shouty” Crofty is a big improvement. Sign me up!

      Does anyone know if the pre season testing will be shown live on F1 TV pro?

      1. Ha, yeah, that has been a prime reason for me to avoid watching F1 on the officially available channels for the last almost decade @vjanik! Signed up immediately today.

        I think I saw it last time sometime 3 years ago? (maybe it was longer, I think it was still on Nova at the time) and just turning it off in disgust after correcting almost everything that they said in the commentary live and shouting!

        I don’t think they show the whole thing anymore, rather they will probably have a daily update with some interviews and footage. But I haven’t seen any conclusive announcements either way on that.

      2. Last year it was only week 1 of testing, with testing being only 1 period i suspect they will bring that live. If they stopped that i will go cry in a corner cause i love the testing, so much to see and so much less BS around it :)

      3. F1TV is broadcasting pre-season testing per schedule below, times and dates are in Pacific Standard time..l :)

        DAY 1, SESSION 1 Thu 23:00 – 03:00 GMT-8
        DAY 1, SESSION 2 Fri 04:00 – 08:00 GMT-8
        DAY 2, SESSION 1 Fri 23:00 – 03:00 GMT-8
        DAY 2, SESSION 2 Sat 04:00 – 08:00 GMT-8
        DAY 3, SESSION 1 Sat 23:00 – 04:00 GMT-8
        DAY 3, SESSION 2 Sun 05:00 – 09:00 GMT-8
        POST TESTING SHOW Sun 09:00 – 09:40 GMT-8

    12. Finally! Sounds great. 1080P-50 is good enough I guess, although it would’ve been nice if they’d offer a 4k option.

      What is by far the most important though, is the reliability. All to often I’ve missed parts of the race, typically the first 10 minutes because F1TV crashed. It’s unacceptable and shouldn’t happen. Hopefully it won’t anymore.

      1. I guess it makes sense to first have them concentrate on getting it to actually run smoothly with the 50fps framerate, given the issues they have had in the past @me4me.

        I do hope they improved the backbone so that it can handle the stream.

        1. Last year was not that bad. The first race limped it in, but after that every race ran smooth in streams. Quali and practises have always been okay, it was always the peak at the start of the race, but as of race 2 2020 that seems to have been going well enough

      2. Liberty media does use the 4K option in some countries with linear TV

    13. I didn’t find this information anywhere, but will be there Crofty and the gang commentary available in F1TV?
      I am used to tv like format and would switch from sketchy streams to this service if it has “normal” coverage – I am not interested in switching between onboard cameras and checking timetable, I’m a lazy guy :)

    14. I wonder if they are going to upgrade Crofty to a non-annoying person.

      1. Be careful what you wish for, you might have hime replaced by Olav Mol the dutch commentator (doesn’t matter what language he speaks, makes Crofty sound like the saint of all saints)

        1. Nobody likes olavs commentary, and for good reasons

    15. Ewoud Van Gulik
      8th March 2021, 19:33

      An app for smart TV’s would be great, but this is already a big improvement.

    16. For me, my biggest request would be simple keyboard shortcuts like we find in most video player interfaces:

      start/stop – spacebar
      10 sec rewind/fast forward – left and right arrow keys
      F – full screen

      Etc.

      1. @partofthepuzzle true, lack of keyboard shortcuts is poor, especially for small time jumps when you just want to check an incident.

    17. Does it allow watching races later? I’m on the US west coast and am tired of watching races at 6:00 am. Could I watch a race same day in the afternoon with this service?

    18. 50fps is great, it’s awesome to see more content moving in this direction.

      The whole anything above 24fps looks unnatural stigma is rubbish. The more frames the better. I feel at this point it’s just planned obselescence by hollywood so in a few years time they can sell high frame rate copies of movies/shows that are released at 24fps now.

      I’d choose 120fps over 4k any day.

    19. Much nicer controls, and even a pause button which was sorely lacking, but the picture-in-picture is not working as expected here. If I detach the main screen to the smaller one, the main just goes blank and I can’t activate it with anything.

      What I really wish for is to have the timings on one screen and main feed on the other and control all with one button, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

      The most annoying part is still how they insist to show pictures from the race on the website, revealing a lot of the outcome before you’ve even started the video. I’ve pointed this out to them on several occasions, but no. Of course they will never picture the winner of the race, but then just knowing that means you already know who will NOT win and is a huge spoiler in itself. Even coming late to watch the qualifying, you will sometimes see a picture of the race starting grid, or 1st corner action which is seriously irritating.

      Another bad thing is that videos from free practices are simply missing. Sometimes all you get is a highlight video. Just a page with a simple list would fix a lot of that, but it seems they think we are all noob teens with handhelds who needs flashy pics and just want highlights of practice sessions etc.

      1. I had trouble finding the free practices as well but last year I found if I edited the URL for e.g. FP3, then I could watch FP1 and FP2. Might still work this year?
        I would prefer there was just a simple list of all of the sessions though.

    20. Over 100Eur/year is tilll alot of dough for an unproven service, ill wait until i sign..

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