And because this is the age of real-time Internet information and live streaming, Seven’s not just restricting their coverage to its multiple channels on broadcast TV. They’ve been working on perfecting their digital coverage as well – a hugely important thing when it comes to events like the Games, where there are multiple events going on at the same time and a ton of results, highlights and medal wins to keep track of.
Seven’s Commonwealth Games app – a free download for iOS and Android devices – might look a bit familiar to you. In fact, you might already have it on your device! That’s because Seven’s being a little clever with the way they’ve implemented their app for the event.
What you download now as the Commonwealth Games app was, until the end of February, the Seven Winter Olympics app – and before that, it was the Seven Summer of Tennis app. Rather than develop a new platform for their app coverage every time, they’ve opted to re-skin the existing app and use the multi-event capability they’ve built inside it to deal with each major event in a consistent way.
We got to take a look at the app during the Winter Olympics so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect when the Games kick off in Queensland next month. You can load up the app right now if you like. While the contents of the main screen of the app now just offers a live stream of channel Seven’s various broadcasts, once the Games are actually on, you’ll see live feeds not only of the main Games broadcast and any sub-channels, but also live streams of key events that you can switch between whenever you like. At times during the Winter event, there were half a dozen streams running, and most of them ran with no commentary at all. It’s not surprising how well that went down with viewers – once you’ve watched sports coverage without a commentary, you’ll never want to hear a bunch of people constantly telling you what you can see with your own eyes ever again!
The app also offers a Highlights page, where the latest key slices of action are sliced up into short clips for a quick catch-up. Pre-April, this page gives you an idea of what to expect with some features, interviews and classic Commonwealth Games clips. You can also look through highlights sorted by the sport you’re interested in.
The “Event HQ” section will carry the up-to-the-minute medal tally, as well as the full schedule of events so you know when to tune in and check the results after they’re done There’s also an Athlete Profile hub, where all the key details of the competitors can be found.
Premium – Worth It?
The Commonwealth Games app is completely free. Of course, it’s supported by ads that both pop up quietly on screen while you browse and roll before and during each stream. During the Winter Olympics, that seemed to mean a hell of a lot of Harvey Norman ads and a handful of others, but the breaks are shorter than on broadcast TV so it’s not too obnoxious.
If you’re willing to cough up a one-off $15 fee, you can switch the app to Premium mode, which gives you access to extra live streams and, according to Seven, reduces the number of ads you’ll see. You will still see ads, though, so go into it knowing that you’re not paying for total ad removal!
If you have an Apple TV 4 or 4K, you’ll be able to download the app onto it as well – and for us, that was the best streaming experience hands-down. We’ve had far less issues with ads or streams failing to load, the picture quality was superb (it looked to be a decent-quality HD stream). Best of all, you got access to everything whether you were a premium subscriber or not!
The mobile app on iOS can AirPlay to the Apple TV, but don’t bother with that – just download the app on the device itself and you’ll have a far better experience.
Look, we can’t really sugarcoat it – the app is not the most visually appealing one you’ll ever see. Sure, it’s functional and it does the job. But if you’re used to the super-slick apps some sporting events have (such as Wimbledon), then this one may seem a little “five years ago.”
But for getting the job done, it… gets the job done, especially on the Apple TV. The fact that you can live stream multiple Gold Coast games events in the palm of your hand anywhere you go really shouldn’t be underrated, either – it’s the Games that’s the highlight here, and having it all accessible in a mobile app means you never have to miss a medal-winning moment.