|MotoGP racing live on my 23" monitor|
MotoGP racing in the motorcycle world is pretty much the pinnacle of technological achievement with a motorcycle. Some land speed bikes are faster, some drag race bikes accelerate faster, but slicing around a twisting road race course on a 230lb bike with 230+HP is a spectacle all of it's own and I've developed more than a passing interest in it. With a 1:1 ratio of horsepower to weight, a MotoGP bike is like an F16 fighter glued to the ground but a tighter turn radius and better brakes. Apart from the racing action itself, the visual flow and beauty of the race is mesmerizing.
Having grown weary of the claptrap, commercial ridden, over computer graphic'd coverage of the racing by Speed Channel, I decided to subscribe to the live, on-line coverage of the 2011 MotoGP race season. If you Google the phrase "speed channel sucks" you get over eight thousand results. Google hate+"speed channel" and you get even more. Apparently I am not alone in my opinion of how they cover races.
The on-line broadcast quality of the MotoGP.com coverage is 720p HD which is pretty good and looks decent on my computer monitor or on my 52" TV using the "Logitech Revue" gizmo. The picture quality sometimes goes a bit pixelated in close up shots and over all isn't quite as crisp as a regular satellite feed but it seemed good enough after I watched for a while and I stopped thinking about the slightly reduced quality.
The icing on the cake is getting to watch not only the races but the full practice sessions with no commercials whatever and no inane commentary. Of course the commentators speak English English which can be a problem sometimes but I'll gladly miss a few things here and there for the blessing of no commercials and no behind the scenes fluff pieces.
The on-line commentators are in fact the same guys you hear on Speed Channel but without the useless fill-in bits by some American guy.
Now you might say "But I just use the DVR and just fast forward through the commercials and dumb stuff." Okay, I've done that too, that's half the reason for having a DVR. But figure that in a race that typically lasts an hour, you'll miss 1/3 of the action to someone trying to sell you underarm deodorant, motorcycle insurance, flavor sugar water, + Speed Channel displaying overwrought computer graphics of motorcycle racing instead of just showing the motorcycle racing. Imagine if every time you sat down for a bowl of ice cream your neighbor's mangy dog ran in and ate 1/3 of it. That's Speed Channel covering motorcycle racing.
If I divide the cost of the MotoGP subscription, about $140, by 18 races with practice sessions and qualifying, the cost works out to about $1.90 per hour to watch it all, uninterrupted, and with sensible commentary. That's pretty darned cheap over the course of a season to see the best road racing in the world in the next best way to being there in person. Moreover, that doesn't even include watching the the other two race classes which are also part of the package. And if you don't watch it live, they have it all saved on a "no spoiler" page so you can watch it whenever you want.
If you've been watching MotoGP on TV in the US, the on-line subscription is definitely worth it. I just hope I can afford it for 2012 also.