During the hubbub of CES, I seemed to have overlooked news that live NHL streaming has come the iPad. But, boy how I’ve made up for lost time these last two evenings. Basically, the NHL iPad app is free… but to enable video, one needs a subscription to GameCenter Live. It’s not inexpensive. Yet, it could be priceless. The current prorated fee runs $119 and includes both live and archived games (available on any/all of the NHL’s supported platforms).
Video initially loads up in a window, allowing you to keep track of other matchups – both scores across the top and other streams you can flip to on the side. Although, when the stream holds, it’s probably more desirable to catch your team full screen. Incidentally, you can toggle between opposing team video feeds if you prefer or would rather avoid homer commentary. Blackout rules are still a mystery and an annoyance, applying equally to the audio-only streams also found in the app. The local affiliates must be protected?
Despite the regional restriction gripe, which is not iPad- or even NHL-specific, the ability to access live hockey anywhere is quite compelling. Although not entirely surprising given the NHL’s progressive rollout of their over-the-top services — they’ve been available on Roku and Boxee since last spring, for example. The trend is clear, while the specifics remain in flux, “television” is being redefined. And, for many of us, tablets will quite likely become our kitchen and bedroom “sets” with the Internet serving as the pipeline.