What's Good And Bad About SBS' Tour De France YouTube Channel

We're big fans of streaming media here at Lifehacker, and while it would be nice to have live streams online for every sporting event you can imagine, sometimes you have to be grateful for what you can get.

Google announced today that as part of SBS' coverage of the Tour de France (its biggest sporting commitment after the World Cup), it will feature a dedicated YouTube channel. While there'll be plenty of background information and footage from Tours past, the big attraction will undoubtedly be the daily highlights reel. For cycling enthusiasts who don't want to sit up all night watching the race footage, the ability to catch up with a highlights clip at the time of their choice (and without having to pay for the privilege).

In an ideal world, SBS would be offering iView-style catchup via a dedicated site, as well as live streaming for those who want it. On the other hand, that would be an expensive, bandwidth-sucking exercise. Offering YouTube is a pretty good in-between step.

That's not to say that the experience is going to be perfect. When I went to check out the official channel using my Next G mobile broadband connection, I was greeted with this error message:

This tells us two things: firstly, that the YouTube channel will indeed be geographically restricted, meaning Aussies overseas and other onlookers will have to hunt elsewhere for their Tour fix. Secondly, it tells us that YouTube still hasn't quite got the art of actually matching IP addresses to country locations down pat. (Next G is all but useless overseas, so by definition if I'm using that connection, I'm in Australia.) Of course, workers whose company policy bans YouTube will also be denied their cycling fix.

Broadcast sporting rights remain a thorny political issue in Australia, and one which often puts consumer convenience well down the list. Far in the future, when IP television is the norm, people will look back and laugh at the idea that content was restricted online. For now, I guess we'll be grateful when some of those restrictions are lifted.

Follow le Tour with SBS and YouTube [Official Google Blog]

Lifehacker's weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


    "In an ideal world, SBS would be offering iView-style catchup via a dedicated site, as well as live streaming for those who want it."

    Have you bothered looking at SBS' dedicated Tour de France website (http://www.sbs.com.au/tdf)? You know, the one with its live streaming of the SBS broadcast as it happens. The one with a live tracker that shows on a map the location of the riders. The one with daily highlights, pre- and post-race interviews.

    It certainly doesn't look like the content is streaming from Google/YouTube as best I can tell. Of course I have no doubt that the streaming content is restricted to geographic location but I'm hardly surprised. SBS only have the broadcast rights for Australia. That doesn't preclude others being able to take advantage of the tracker, interviews, articles, etc, that are also on the site.

    The Youtube channel is a start, but not much more. The SBS website has better content. But whatever you do, don't touch the SBS TDF Iphone App; it totally sucks!

    I agree with these two comments.

    YouTube doesn't compare with SBS's TourTracker site (complete, quality live streaming of all SBS coverage) and the iPhone app is so slow to load, it's useless...

    You should get your facts straight about the SBS website before writing articles about what they don't do. Poor research

    Time to delete this article, I think :)

    The best thing imho is that I can get my TDF fix AND my vuvuzela fix at the same time thanks to youtube's handy vuvuzela button!

    Vuvuzela are sorely missing from the TDF so far, though I did spot one last night being blown by a spectator running along the side of the course for a few seconds.

    There is something/ someone in the town of Pau, a lot of cyclist from the tour de France are getting positive drug test results. Reading a news report about the latest victim, this has been going on since 2007/2008 and I picked it up and I am not a professional athlete. How is it that the anti - doping people haven't picked it up. Frank, Condator , Armstrong, and a few more.

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