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BT Sport struggles to stream first game of the season

BT Sport

Community Shield doesn't only end in disappointment for Chelsea fans...

BT Sport may have won the rights to the Champions League this season, but its streaming service was in relegation form yesterday as many viewers struggled to watch the Community Shield between Arsenal and Chelsea. Customers complained of choppy or non-existent service from the BT Sport apps for the football season’s curtain raiser, prompting an apology from BT.

The streams started to struggle from the moment the match kicked off, according to angry customers on the BT forums, suggesting the service was struggling under the weight of demand for the match between last season’s Premier League champions and the FA Cup winners. “Cannot get website to load on desktop and the app just sits there trying to log in for ages before going to a blank screen,” complained one user on the BT support forums. “Worked perfectly fine earlier before the Community Shield started.”

This is terrible to say the least,” wrote another customer. “After 40 minutes of trying, I can now watch the game… Hope this doesn’t happen when the season starts.”

Many customers also vented their spleen on Twitter, with the @BTSport account forced to issue an apology midway through the second half. “Sorry if you’re having problems watching BT Sport on App or online,” the company said. “Please try again, it may take longer than usual. Thanks for your patience.”

Customers may feel particularly aggrieved about BT’s failure as the company has ratcheted up the cost of its sports channels this season. All of BT’s Sport channels were previously bundled for free for BT Broadband customers, but customers now face a £5 per month charge, which is automatically added to their bill unless they choose to downgrade to BT Sport Lite, which only offers one sports channel and doesn’t include any European football matches or FA Cup games. 

BT Sport’s streaming technology is also in dire need of an upgrade. The company still relies on Microsoft’s Silverlight player to deliver streams to Windows computers, which is no longer supported by the most popular web browser, Google Chrome. Users are told to use an alternative browser instead, while BT waits to join the rest of the world on HTML5 video. 

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