May 31, 2011

Veebeam - the cool new way to watch sport

Up until recently at World Sport Bloopers HQ, we have had to settle for streaming sport on our PC or laptop. Trying to make out the miniature scores without having your face glued to the screen is not easy! We've even tried cables to connect the laptop to the TV but ended up tripping over them and spilling our beers! :(

So when we heard about Veebeam - a cool gadget that lets you wirelessly stream your sport from your PC/laptop to your TV - we had to get our hands on one.

Arriving home on Friday night, I was delighted to see that the unit had arrived. My weekend had started well! The grand unboxing took place and I was surprised just how small the unit was. It took about 5 minutes to setup (plug in the box, go to veebeam.com and download the software then plug in the USB/antenna stick).





I did have a heart attack moment when everything was setup correctly but I still had no image on my TV. I looked at all the troubleshooting suggestions and nothing worked. It was only when I tried switching USB ports did the orange Veebeam icon change to green. Maybe it was a first time installation problem, I'm not sure, but it works fine now. After installing, it was just a case of find what I wanted to watch, expand to full screen, sit back and relax!

 Here are a few examples of how I've used it so far:

1). Watching (MLB) Major League Baseball. MLB.com is currently showing one free game every day. On Sunday night I streamed the St. Louis Cardinals-v-Colorado Rockies game from my PC (18" monitor) to my plasma TV (44" screen). Lying on my sofa, with the game on the big screen was great!
2). Having downloaded a few movies in the week, I tried to watch them by using VLC/DivX/Quicktime. All of these media players gave me error messages saying that I needed to find updates for audio. I spent quite a while looking for these updates but with no joy. I happened to look at the Veebeam drop down menu and realised there was a Veebeam player. I tried this and it immediately played with no problems.
3). I don't watch a lot of regular TV but love the music documentaries that BBC Four show on Friday night. I had missed Queen night so caught up on those on Monday.

A real frustration from being away from the keyboard is the lack of remote control. I think the optimum setup would be to use Veebeam to stream wirelessly and use a wireless mouse to adjust the volume or fast forward.

THE PROS:
- No wires
- Veebeam box and adaptor are small
- The signal was good for me from 10 feet and apparently is effective through walls.
- If you have an HDMI cable you can stream in HD
- The USB stick means it is inobtrusive and easy to store on the box when not in use so you don't lose it.
- Great for sport and movies.


THE CONS:
- 2 second delay between PC/laptop and TV. That said, who's watching both screens anyway?!
- I nearly sent the unit back as it didn't appear to work . Maybe a more definitive installation guide would have been better.
- I didn't see much about the Veebeam player in the manual but this is a key part of the unit. There should be more info on this.
- I don't understand the difference between 720 and 1090p resolution. This should be explained more clearly in the manual so it is clear which setting t use.
- You'll need a decent computer processor to get a perfect picture.
- Due to the 2 second delay, this wouldn't be too good for online gaming and surfing the web.


If you like the sound of this, you can pick one up at veebeam.com. They are priced at $99/£99 for the SD version and $149/£139 for the HD version.

In the UK, SKY television monopolise the sport coverage and make subscribers pay a small fortune in return for a few soccer games. In the US, an MLB.com subscription gives the user access to every game from every team for a fraction of the price. As a result of SKY's seemingly anti-competitive behaviour, sites and blogs are popping up all over the world that stream games for free. Veebeam is great for watching these but I see this as a temporary solution. What I (and I'm sure some of World Sport Bloopers' readers) would love to see would be an online sports service (maybe an idea for the Veebeam guys?!) where viewers pay a subscription but have access to the games from the top sporting leagues in the world (English Premier League, La Liga, MLB, NBA, NFL). Viewers could then stream these to their TV using Veebem boxes.



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World Sport Bloopers was created following the frustration of using video sites. Many offered videos that were filed under 'funny' or 'humor' but were not specific to sport. It required a lot of searching to find what we wanted. Even when you found the video, it was often edited poorly or inserted in a news segment so it had less impact.

World Sport Bloopers is inspired by UK shows like Fantasy Football (hosted by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner), the eccentric Frenchman Remi Gaillard and US shows like Jackass. We aim to bring you the best bloopers, fails and WTF moments. We hope you enjoy the site!!