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more edition of the Cricket World Cup is here and it is time for
cricket lovers to fork out a princely sum of money to follow the sport
that they love.
After all, we live in a country where you
can watch all sorts of sports including wife-carrying and
lumber-jacking on TV but not cricket. Not even if it begins at 3AM
when most channels are trying to sell you random exercise equipment
that you will never use!
To add insult to injury, this year, the rugby world cup will make a debut on NBC!
As cricket fans, we are condemned to the fringes of the broadcast
revolution. "Buffering" is the dreaded b-word. We expand our tech
prowess and learn how to turn screensavers off. We leave a window open
for text commentary, just in case. We hit "refresh" just to see if
that improves anything. And we toggle between the handful of Willow's
servers trying to find the stream with the least amount of latency.
Yes, we have witnessed some improvements - certainly there is the
phenomenal clarity of HD if you have a satellite dish. And there is
the over-advertised availability of a wide variety of mobile devices on
which to watch - but do you seriously think you can watch cricket via
Here is an overview of where to watch the World Cup if you live in USA.
Online: First things first, Willow TV, the leader in live cricket broadcasts across North America is the ONLY legitimate
way to watch the World Cup via the internet. Willow TV's stream can be
seen via all browsers, all smartphone mobile devices, most tablet
devices including iPad and several other IP ready devices including
Google TV, Roku and Samsung Internet@TV. Willow acquired the exclusive
rights to distribute cricket's marquee competition on television,
broadband and the Internet in the United States through an agreement
with ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), ICC's global broadcast and production
Willow TV's World Cup package costs $129 and you can get a discount
if you avail of partner offers. Several friends of this writer
received a free monthly subscription to Willow TV following the world
cup. The writer did not receive such an offer, so individual
experiences will vary on the freebies.
Piracy Alert: If you are paying for a
stream that is not from Willow.TV, then it will most likely be shut
down and you will not only be staring at a blank screen, you will also
lose your money. Several websites have already been served with legal notices and Willow TV announced that it will go after all illegal streams.
"With the concerted efforts of our own internal anti-piracy team and
our top-tier legal counsel, working in close collaborations with
private investigators, broadcasters, legal authorities and financial
institutions globally, Willow TV has been able to strike decisive blows
against the perpetrators of this illegal activity," Willow TV said in a
letter distributed to its customers and to the media.
Satellite Dish: If you are
lucky enough to have satellite TV service, then you will be pleased to
know that both DISH and DIRECTV are broadcasting the World Cup. The
advantage with these services is that you can watch in HD.
DIRECTV: DIRECTV's world cup package costs $149. The package can be ordered by calling 1-800-378-3309.
DISH Network: DISH is reportedly offering a World
Cup package for $129. This writer could not verify the price because
he was presented with a login prompt.
DISH + Vonage Free Offer: DISH has an interesting
free subscription offer. However, you will need to subscribe to both
DISH Network (800-823-4929) and Vonage (800-680-7554). If you do that
and you add Cricket World Cup to your order, then your world cup
package is free.
To be eligible for this package, a customer must activate either new
DISH Network service with a 24-month commitment or DISH Network IPTV
service with a 12-month commitment and subscribe to a qualifying South
Asian programming package by 3/25/11. Qualifying programming starts at
$19.99/mo and requires additional programming subscriptions. Credit for
Cricket World Cup will reflect price at the time of service activation.
Few people this writer has spoken to have claimed that the free
subscription offer was also open to existing DISH customers if they
made certain commitments. If you are an existing DISH customer, please
verify with the customer service representative before ordering.
IPTV: This year, the DISH World IPTV offers
you another method of watching the World Cup. IPTV delivers your
favorite international programming through a broadband connection. You
will need a TV, high speed internet (minimum 1.5 Mbps), an IPTV box
from DISH Network and a credit or a debit card. After your order is
completed online, your set top box will be shipped directly to your
residence with set up instructions. All you have to do is connect
your TV and Ethernet cable to your DISH Network IPTV box and plug it in.
To get the World Cup package, you must commit to another "World Cup
eligible" package. The cheapest option appears to be the Willow
Cricket monthly subscription, which costs $19.99. The World Cup
package is $129.99. Add to that the cost of the set top box and the
shipping and you end up with $265. And don't forget that you have to
fork out $19.99 every month. Now, is it that much better than
watching it online via Willow.TV or hooking up Willow.TV to your TV,
that is for you to decide.
It is clearly an option if you want some additional Asian
programming on your TV and are unable to get it because you live in a
condo where a satellite dish is not allowed.
Highlights: In a first of
its kind move, Hindi general entertainment channel Star Plus is going
to broadcast highlights of the ICC Cricket World Cup throughout North
America beginning 26 February. Star Plus’ World Cup Show will comprise
highlights of all 49 matches over a six-week period where the matches
are held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The ICC Cricket World Show
will provide the latest cricket news, recent cricket action as well as
off-field features and interviews with the sportsmen from around the