More World Cup Tech Stories

by on June 30, 2006 · 4 comments

Here’s the second and final in my series of World Cup technology stories.

On the way back from Germany, we had an extended layover in Reykjavik, due to “technical reasons.” Oh, thank goodness. Wouldn’t want a delay due to sociological reasons.

The time for the Round of 16 game between Portugal and Holland was drawing near, and many of the soccer fans in the airport wanted to see the game. The staff of the airline and airport were pretty much ignoring requests for access to a television. But there was a WiFi node in the airport.

So we set off looking for a way to follow the game.

A buddy of mine went to the BBC site that streams radio, while I went looking for video, assuming that some hacker out there would have put together a way to get bootleg television feeds.

The BBC was looking quite satisfactory until game-time rolled around, when it switched over to an announcement that “contractual restrictions” prevent streaming of game content outside the UK. I’m aware that people spoof their IP addresses to avoid that restriction and had considered doing that, but I was looking for bigger game.

Sure enough, the second click on my search for streamed World Cup video brought me to a site that explained how it was done. Within a few minutes, I had download TVU Player and found the China TV feed (with play-by-play in Chinese), and then the ESPN feed. With much satisfaction (and occasional breaks for buffering), we watched Portugal go ahead 1-0 as we waited for and boarded the flight back to the U.S.

SO, here’s a clever little tool, made in China, that allowed me to watch the media I wanted to watch where I wanted to watch it. OR, here’s a piracy device that allowed me to evade and circumvent the contractual restrictions that FIFA has placed on broadcast of its intellectual property.

Which is it? Entertainment or theft? (I looked at the advertising placards that lined the field. Does that change your opinion?)

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