Are you crazy for European football? Resorting to low-grade pirated streams in the middle of the night to get your soccer fix? Now you can watch live games in a premium web streaming environment from pay TV channel Setanta Sports. The company today officially unveiled the U.S. version of its new Setanta-i at the NAB Show, and showed me a demo earlier this morning (video embedded below, sorry for the shaky camera work!).
Setanta had previously offered minimal paid online streaming, but “people tolerated the interface for the content,” said Setanta director of new media Stephen Michael. “It was not TV-like.”
Now, for $14.99 per month, users can access many (but not all, as Fox and Sky Sports split access rights in some regions) games from the English Premiere League, as well as the Champions League, cricket, rugby, and boxing. The quality is meant to be high enough so you can use your jumbo living room TV to watch, with bitrates up to 1.8 Mbps.
Setanta-i uses Microsoft Silverlight (s MSFT) and is powered by Swarmcast (meaning you will need to download both Silverlight and Autobahn), with content management by Irdeto and design by EMC Conchango.
In part because it’s using some of the same vendors, the service’s features are similar to MLB.tv. Some highlights include DVR capabilities, picture-in-picture and the ability to snap directly to goals in previously played games. Michael said he expects tens of thousands of concurrent live viewers to use the platform. Versions are available in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.