How I would fix NFL Sunday Ticket

Regular readers know that I hold a special grudge towards the NFL for selling exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket to DirecTV. Since I don’t have DirecTV (as I am without access to a southern horizon), every Sunday I have to pack up my laptop and head over to my buddy Dan’s house to watch my beloved Packers play. While it’s nice to see Dan every Sunday, I would sure like to watch the games at home on my 96″ front projection system. (Yeah, I’m bragging a little. Sue me.)

This season, Dan bought the SuperFan package, which gives him all the games in HD. It also gives him the Red Zone Channel (that bounces around from game to game in an attempt to show viewers as many scores/big plays as possible) and the Game Mix Channel (which shows eight games at once).

The Red Zone Channel is pretty good as is. It’s especially fun when the Packers don’t play in the early game, because I don’t have to keep checking in on that game and we can let the channel take us to all the exciting moments around the league. However, I would make two changes: 1) when the channel goes to split screen mode, they waste valuable space with a wide red border around both games, and 2) during the late games, too often the channel is showing highlights when there is live action going on.

Then there’s the Game Mix Channel. This is a great idea that is poorly executed. Just take a look at a screenshot.

Looks like a football fan’s dream, right?

Well…sort of.

Even on a 50” screen, which I’d say is the standard for higher-end TVs these days, each of those games are only 12.5” diagonal, which makes them pretty tough to watch. Instead of the current 4 x 2 grid (four games wide by two games tall), why doesn’t the channel go with a 3 x 3 matrix? Not only would it allow for eight 16.5” screens (which would be 32% bigger than the current setup), it would generate a 9th rectangle, where the channel could show the Red Zone Channel, display advertisements, list stats and/or injuries, show times of upcoming games, etc.

What would they have to sacrifice? Well, just the blue border and channel banner, which currently take up a third of the screen.

That seems like a small price to pay for a 32% increase in viewing space for each game.

So, are you listening, DirecTV?

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