Since my last trip to India in the Fall of 2010, I’d been wanting to re-connect with the game that I grew up playing – Cricket. Coincidentally, 2011 happens to the be the year of the Cricket World Cup. For every Indian that I have come across there is only one thing that beats Cricket, Bollywood, maybe.
Anyhow, convinced that I will watch as many games as I can, especially over the weekend, given that most of these will start around mid-night here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I looked at the available options to watch these “live”. After a short review, Willow.Tv came across as an option that gave me the flexibility to watch it pretty much from any place that I could get network connectivity. So, I coughed out $129.00 to Willow.Tv which claims to be “… the largest broadcaster of Cricket in the United States and Canada since 2003…” on their website. Smooth credit card transaction and I was excited that I will get to finally watch India play co-hosts Bangladesh in the opening tie.
First delivery of the game was sent smashing to the boundary and I was really beginning to enjoy it. Third delivery had just been delivered and *poof* my screen went blank. I kept refreshing my browser (love Chrome by the way) and kept getting the “Service Unavailable” message. I kept my MacbookPro aside and went to iPad to see if that worked. Nope. Nada. Nothing.
What followed for the next 50 or so mins. (10 overs to be precise) was just disgusting and ridiculous at best. The site was not reachable at all and Twitter messages from other subscribers started to roll in from around the world. The Twitter handle of the Willow.Tv (@willowtv) and that of it’s CEO (@mysorepack) just failed to engage and respond to the angry (reasonably so) subscribers.
For a service that charges a premium ($129) to provide such a prestigious event and claims to be the only “official” provider to fail like this at the start of the event and not take any responsibility or provide a venue for subscribers to reach-out in case of issues is beyond comprehension.
I am personally going to write to Willow.TV and seek some refund for the “Loss-of-Service”. At the time of writing this (2:10 AM PST), my feed is working but I still see plenty of subscribers on Twitter not being to watch their country play in this opening match.
If there are other users who would like to join me in reaching out to Willow.Tv for redressal, I request you to leave your Twitter handles as part of the comments. Please feel free to provide your comments but refrain from abuse.
Addendum: Thanks for pointing the issue around HD stream @willowtvsux. Yes, we paid for that and are not getting that either. Another reason to take this matter to the next level.
This was a disaster allright. Funny considering this is exactly the kind of issues that plagued this company 5-6 years back too! It doesnt look like they’ve spent an iota of energy improving their network delivery or systems. I purchased the willow package after years hoping to expect quality streaming, but this is dejavu all over again. I am almost sure future matches involving India are going to meet similar fates.
Thanks for pointing it out. I updated the post accordingly.
1). Resolution isn’t as good as reposts on youtube
2). Customer support is in India. Be prepared for broken English and they expect you to hand hold their debugging…on their time. Hope you like a long debugging session at 3am.
3). Full of commercials that BLAST the volume. I was shocked looking at youtube replays of the IPL that those commercials weren’t there. Willow TV adds the saturation advertising. The adverts are insulting in the extreme and LOUD. If you set the cricket so you can barely hear it, be prepared for complaints from the neighbors when the adverts come on!
4). Crap software. Very Windows centered, and they would rather make something unusable than risk that one person might get it for free. Paranoid about not grubbing after every nickel they can get. Beware Novell Moonlight for Linux (their solution). In 30 years using Unix, it is THE ONLY time I’ve seen the X server hang horribly.
5). Bait and switch. But a 2 year plan, they change it in 6 months? Tough!
This company was started by a guy that got his jollies off of gouging his Indian friends for cricket. Back in 2004 it worked. Then people got wise and deserted. He used his capitol to buy a sweetheart deal with Dish TV and now has a monopoly. Back to ripping everyone off!