Later today, Roku will make a UFC channel available to owners of their $99 box. While the highlight is obviously HD pay per view fights ($45ish?), freebie Octagon-related video content will also be available. Additionally, live event archives will be made available to PPV subscribers several days after the fact – which worked out well for my trial of Roku’s UFC service.
It’s my understanding that various press and bloggers were given advance access to the UFC113 event held on May 8th via Roku. However, given the coverage, it looks like I may be one of the few with an appreciation for combat (as a former wrestler and judoka). Quality was good. But probably not good enough. Granted, this was a beta encode of the live event and I do expect the picture quality to improve. As it has with Roku’s NBA Game Time. Also, the transport controls are limited. For this kind of action, we’re going to need a trick play function.
Fortunately, as I mentioned, live events are archived and available for a week after the fact. And given the late start time, I ended up saving the title fight (Machida vs Shogun) for Sunday. The video replay does come with full transport controls, although they aren’t as smooth as say a TiVo. Plus, I’d like to see some sort of per fight bookmarking to quickly hop around the undercard or skip to the main attraction.
All in all, Roku just keeps getting better. And while the UFC video quality (thus far) isn’t amazing, they provide a solid option to bypass cable or satellite options when unavailable. Plus, the Roku travels well. Bring your UFC fights on the road or to a friend’s home. Next up: UFC 114, May 29th.
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