The words came out of Al Michaels’ mouth: “Touchdown, Chargers!”
For some viewers, the ball was still in the air.
That was one of the few tech issues NFL fans experienced while streaming “Thursday Night Football” between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.
Yes, the debut of “TNF” on Amazon’s Prime Video could have been disastrous. The stream never crashed, a fate competitors RedZone and DirecTV experienced Sunday ahead of Week 1 games. And it’s important to note that private internet connection plays a role while streaming.
The Prime Video official Twitch channel (Amazon owns Twitch) had hundreds of thousands of viewers, according to The Ringer, and had a more high-quality stream compared to what some saw on their smart TVs or laptops.
The vast majority of viewers had little-to-no issue. But it wasn’t seamless. Such is the reality of broadcasting a game exclusively over the internet and the limitations of technology. That kept the @AmazonHelp Twitter account busy Thursday.
Three key problems presented themselves over the course of the game, according to responses on social media:
- Volume mixing
- Audio out of sync with picture
Several individuals complained about the crowd noise drowning out the studio broadcasters, while the famously loud Arrowhead Stadium crowd could not be heard during the broadcast.
“I hope they fix the volume, (I) could hardly hear the pregame team when they were outside,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Charissa Thompson shouldn’t have to yell.”
John Stone wrote on Facebook about out-of-sync sound he experienced, which included the sounds of a commercial running during a play in the game. Nobody appeared to have any problems having the commercials come through with a clear picture.
“This is just embarrassing to the NFL,” he wrote.
Ryan Cantrell watched from Bozeman, Montana through the app and Starlink internet. He called the broadcast “underwhelming.”
“Periodic buffering, had to restart the program once due to the buffering and for most of the second half the audio and video was out of sync,” Cantrell wrote in an email.
Other fans had times throughout the game in which the stream froze, buffered and then continued with a blurry picture. Pausing the stream temporarily and picking the game up live seemed to help. Exiting out of the stream and restarting it also worked.
Sports Business Daily media reporter John Ourand noted on Twitter that despite his clear picture all game, the quality became “noticeably worse” as more audience presumably tuned in during the fourth quarter.
Prime Video has not yet responded to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.