For those of you who tried to tune into to Milan-San Remo may have been able to see the new look Cycling.tv. Some technical difficulties forced Cycling.tv to delay their upgrade. So what’s coming?
Well, I’ve been fortunate enough to bee one of the beta testers of the new site and I’ll tell you that I’m pretty excited about the new look and some new features coming to a PC near you.
First thing you will notice (click image to take a real good look) is a completely new look and feel. The old window has been replaced by a nice matte black background. This gives the nice HDTV feel. Gone are the graphics along the bottom where you would need to scroll across and double click. This actually has always been a pet peeve of mine. Initially, I did not realize these were buttons. There were no drop shadows and you were required to double-click to change channels. Now, you will see clearly identifiable buttons down the left side of the screen showing you all that Cycling.tv has to offer.
Cycling.tv did not stop with a nice new look. Thery have added a host of new features. Avone the video screen shown you some new features. First is the Innertube which takes you to a new forum for viewers to chat/blog while watching a race. You can uploag videos here as well. Nice touch to include some interactive capabilities the computer offers. You also see Audio and Diaries sections along the top bar.
The real improvement is the Download Video feature. I’ve been screaming for this feature for sometime. When I ride on a trainer, sometimes my wireless network gets cranky and watching a laptop is difficult. Also, when I travel, I wouldn’t mind choosing Paris-Roubaix over the in-flight movie. Downloading is done through Veoh a online video service.
Other user friendly improvements include the search, schedule, and settings all in easy to find and access locations.
This is the part of a review where you say what you would like to see improved. I’ll confine my comments to two areas. One significant and one pretty minor. The significant item is every click on the channels or tabs up top, opens a new window. Therefore, sometimes you have several channels running simultaneously. You need to manually go back and close open windows when you get to the show you want to watch. Hopefully this will be fixed in the production release. The minor item is the download service. Veoh requires you to download their proprietary player and plug-in. Id’ ultimately like to see everything self containedd within the Cycling.tv player. If not, I’d like to see a standard player used for the video. I already have Quicktime, Windows Media Player, Intervideo DVD player, and Real. I really don’t want another. Also, the Veoh player is a bit intrusive by installing plug ins in my browser and wanting to join my start up programs and launch every day. You may want to visit it’s settings after downloading to fine tune this player.
As for formats. I know Mac users had problems with the first edition of Cycling.tv. I don’t own a Mac so I can’t tell you if you are in luck here. I can tell Windows users that Cycling.tv beta performs wonderfully in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
All in all it shows that Simon Brydon and his team have really developed a great product. You no longer have a reason not to subscribe to Cycling.tv.