If I'm having trouble with the live feed, I wait for the On Demand video to be posted. IN does a good job of getting the On Demand video up quite promptly, unless they have to wait for the TV coverage to air, due to contractual arrangements.
I've been thinking about the Ice Network thing as well. I didn't have it last year and was usually able to watch competitions live or later depending on when/where they were happening, although sometimes that involved YouTube or bad feeds. But I was wondering just how easy Ice Network makes things. Do they have every major competition- GPs, Euros, 4CC, Nationals outside of the US, Worlds? I remember some people on here complaining that their coverage of Nationals cut off when NBC started their broadcast of the ladies free program, but what about the other disciplines? If I knew that they would have every competition that I'm interested in available on demand for all four disciplines I would be willing to cough up the money. But if I'm still going to have to do my own looking online I might as well not bother, especially since I didn't really miss anything this past season anyways.
So what does IN show and what do they skip? And is it always all four disciplines?
I'm in Atlanta so we rarely get any close events here (though I may see about going to NC if money/time permits). They held nationals here back in 2004...I wish they'd come back.
Anyhoo, as for Ice Network, I love it. I have a pretty fast internet connection though so I don't have to deal with overly choppy feeds that much. I've had a season pass for Ice Network since the 2008-2009 season and I will say each season it's gotten better and better and with all of the live coverage they have now as well as rights to all of the major events (IIRC) it's well worth the $40 or $50 they charge for the year. In addition to the major events you can watch regionals, sectionals, synchronized skating, adult championships, and even all of the speed skating events (I've never bothered but they are there).
In addition to all of that you get access to the archived videos so you can go back and watch events for past seasons. All in all I think it's well worth the money if you have a decent internet connection.
For any true fan the event to go to is US Nationals. 7 days and you never know who you will see or meet even by accident. Sometimes even the performance of a lifetime happens and watching it live is incredible. In my life due to money concerns I have only been to 1 nationals. I met and talked with a future OGM before she was on anyone's radar (Tara Lupinski Bronze in Sr Ladies) and talked to her for 15 min very nice teenager at the time. Brian Boitano got in a food line at the arena behind me and until Jason Brown at the 2014 Nationals I saw the BEST men's performance ever at a US Nationals. Yes that is right I went to the 96 nationals in San Jose and Saw Rudy Galindo win Live. Pairs is my true love though and by accident watching Sr pairs practice early in the week I was overheard by the people in front of me in the stands complimenting a future National Champ pair on some cool things they were doing in that practice. The people who overheard me were Danielle and Steve Hartsells parents and they invited me to go to lunch with them and there kids after the practice. Unbelievable things can happen at us nationals if you go all 7 days and take it all in.
Welcome, Stephina! Thanks for the great post. What a wonderful competition you saw!
Stephina - what wonderful memories. My best memory from the 2014 Nats was talking to Jason at the practice rink. What a sweetheart and so polite and excited about everything that was going on around him. If anyone does go to Nats, a good place to see and talk to the skaters is at the practice rink. Once they're finished they're usually very nice about being approached.
Skating is actually "made for television/film" if you think about it, because the skater is performing to a 360 degree angle. It's not like theater where everything is set to a 180 degree angle - the stage playing to the house. The entirety of a skater's face and gestures can only be captured with video. Of course, skaters in competitions do still tend to "play to one direction", since judges are all seated in the same direction, but that just means you're probably going to get less out of the performance if you are seated on the other side of the arena.
If figure-skating-as-art was something that actually got taken more seriously, then expertly filmed professional competitions would pretty much be the highest echelon of figure skating.
Hmm, those are all complaints about the quality of the filming/playback, though? I haven't seen any broadcast do overhead shots of spins in forever but, yes, those are awful.
Get a seat near the Kiss and Cry or near where the skaters come out and mill around before they skate.
One thing to note is that Icenetwork requires flashplayer, so I couldn't watch on my iphone and had to plug my laptop directly into my TV to get to see it on the big screen. Also no pause and rewind on the live streams. But overall it's fun to watch the grand prix and overall mostly worth it...
Go to Nationals if you can...It's a different perspective which I prefer watching from the same spot in the stands vs. the switching between cameras and angles that you get on TV
I am hoping IN will ditch flashplayer next season.
I'd like to thank you all for your advice and comments. I think I'll definitely try IceNetwork this fall and I'm planning to attend Nationals this winter (now I just have to convince my husband to go with me).