If you’re fortunate enough to follow me on Twitter you’ve seen my rants about the NLL’s mobile functionality. If you haven’t, here’s the quick summary: on Friday night I got sucked into spending $5 on the NLL’s iPad app, after an ad promised I would be able to use the app to view all the NLL’s Livestream games. I’ve been immensely frustrated this year because the NLL’s website has an amateurish mobile element which refuses to let me view the full site on the iPad; and the Livestream app can rarely set up a strong-enough connection to stream any games. Plus, this seemed perfect; I have Apple TV at home and with the recent iPad operating system upgrade, this should mean that I could watch NLL games from the iPad on my TV with just a tap of a button.
Where do we start with the clusterf^&k that is the NLL iPad app?
#1 – The schedule makes no sense. All the games’ scheduled times are hours off their actual times. In this case, it meant that no “watch now” button ever appeared for either of Colorado’s games on Friday and Saturday – because the app seemed to think they were starting at 1:30 in the morning. I also missed the Minnesota-Washington game.
#2 – the feed still hangs up. Livestream’s feeds are obviously optimized for viewing on a computer, because I could pick up all the games just fine on the laptop. But the combination of a mobile feed through an iPad meant none of the games played properly. To be clear: the games were watchable via my wireless network, but not via the NLL app. To make matters worse, both the Livestream app and NLL sites are “optimized” for mobile – which means they lal think the iPad is an iPhone, and refuse to render any useful functionality.I tried to access the games through the NLL app, the Livestream app, the NLL site, and direct links. Nothing worked. But let’s not blame Livestream; I had no problem streaming content from other Livestream channels. This issue happened specifically with NLL games on the Livestream mobile platform.
#3 – the iPhone problem. Even though it’s an iPad app, the NLL app is designed for an iPhone. it’s got low-resolution graphics designed to render tiny little video on a tiny little phone. Blow that video up to iPad size and it looks like a Matisse painting – blurry, jagged, and indiscernible. Which is ridiculous, because the app isn’t an iPhone app – it’s an iPad app. It’s supposed to give me things that work on my iPad.
The irony of all this is that the NLL has all its commentators reading ads for this app on each broadcast. I had the Toronto-Buffalo game hooked up via laptop to my television on Friday when I saw the ad. So I bought it, and tried to watch games that way – and as a result, I couldn’t watch any of them.
A better ad would say “if you don’t want to watch any games, buy this app and get so frustrated that you’ll read a book or play with your kid.” Purchase the app at iTunes and let us know what you think about the NLL iPad app.
Andrew McKay is a former head scout with the National Lacrosse League’s Chicago Shamrox, and former scout with the Toronto Rock and Peterborough Lakers. Founder of The Lacrosse Journal and The Laxist. Lacrosse writer for Yahoo! Sports. You can contact Andrew on Twitter @apmckay.