during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.

Super Bowl 50 Live Stream Broke Records But was Far from Seamless

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With Super Bowl 50 having just wrapped up at Levi’s Stadium in Silicon Valley, it wasn’t surprising that technology played a huge role in how people experienced the game. It showed that the technology used to watch American football’s biggest event was keeping up with peoples’ expectations in some ways, but not in others.

New developments included 5k, 360-degree cameras for video replays, as well as the necessity of banning unauthorized drones from recording the game.

Re/code reported that this was the most streamed Super Bowl yet with CBS streaming 315 million minutes of game coverage to viewers, and 1.4 million people streaming the game on average per minute. This eclipsed last year’s NBC stream with its 213 million minutes of coverage and 800,000 people per minute on average.

Read more: Super Bowl 50: GoDaddy Sits Out as Wix, Squarespace Hype Ads

Although the stream was notably not made available in 4k resolution, some of those choosing to watch the game over the Internet ended up experiencing glitches – at least at the beginning of the broadcast.

CBS Sports acknowledged an issue with Apple’s third-generation Apple TV box, as well as with versions of the Chrome browser and Google Android tablets, as well as the Xbox One console. However, others reported that the issues were common to other pieces of hardware, but that the streaming issues were resolved around 20 minutes past kick-off.

It is unclear what the specific issues were around streaming, but the Super Bowl has been streamed online only since 2012, and the rising number of online viewers makes streaming content a monumental task as sports fans increasingly move away from traditional channels.

It’s also interesting to note that events like South By Southwest have bogged down carrier networks due to data use. On game day, fans lucky enough to be at Levi’s Stadium racked up more than 7 terabytes of data on the Verizon network alone, compared to the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix where 4.1 TBs of Verizon data traveled into and out of the arena. According to Verizon, someone could get download at 57.92 Mbps from their tailgate on Super Bowl Sunday – undoubtedly generating jealousy among fans who had to watch the coverage on a choppy stream.

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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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