02
Jul
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I'm sure there are plenty of cycling enthusiasts out there who think that $15 is a small price to pay to view the Tour de France from their mobile device. I don't happen to be among them, so I'll take NBC's claim that its new app can stream "every stage LIVE on your Android handheld or tablet device" for granted. The app is available now in the Play Store for all Android devices running Gingerbread or higher, though it's almost certainly limited to users in the United States.

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In addition to live video and always-on replays, the app will let your track teams and cyclists in real time via the map view, read general news with video updates, check out rider profiles, and see results and standings. Though the non-streaming interface is pretty dull from a visual perspective, it's got a ton of information to deliver, and I get the impression that this is exactly what cycling fans want.

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The price is steep, but not onerous for an event with the cachet of the Tour. What's mildly annoying is the fact that NBC is selling separate access points for the web version of its Tour de France coverage ($29.95 for the whole thing, or $4.99 a day) and mobile platforms. There's no discount for buying both, and if you happen to have an iPhone or iPad that you also want to use, that'll be another $15. A centralized login system would have been easier for multi-platform users, to say nothing of a possible reduced cost.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • MJ

    I wouldn't pay $15 to watch anything on a 5" screen. The only use case I can see for this is if one does not have cable and the event is not on broadcast TV and this app will allow you to cast it to your TV. I am guessing NOT on the casting...

    • Jeff

      If you have a Samsung Android Phone and a Samsung smart TV or compatible Samsung BluRay player, you can mirror it on your TV. Works like a champ.

      • Nate

        How? I have an S5 streaming to a Netgear Push2TV and the app seems to crash my screen mirroring. It mirrored fine until I started the app.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

    The only way most people I know who watch the Tour would pay $15 is if they don't have cable. But...most of those people have money for fancy bikes, so yeah...they have cable. The cable coverage is pretty great for the tour, so I'm not sure how well this app will do. Maybe for people who travel during July and need their fix.

    • brunodmjr

      You make it sound like if spend on a """fancy""" bike is a crime.

      • Allen Cross
      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        Well, that's not how I meant it. I have several bikes in my garage, so no. But mine aren't necessarily "fancy." They are more medium/fancy, so I was expressing my envy at many in my tri-club who have these full on-fancy bikes. Hope that explains it. :)

        • brunodmjr

          Ah, i see. I seemed a little bitter because here in Brazil you can't have a "Fancy Bike" like an Specialized Allez or people are like "OMG you spent more than 1000 reais (450 usd) in your bicycle? Are you a pro? Why don't you buy a supermarket bike?". -_-

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

            LOL - a "supermarket bike?" That's funny! I'm sorry people give you crap there. You should be able to ride whatever your wallet will allow.

    • Rob Cook

      I have a "fancy" bike and don't have cable or satellite. In fact I know quite a few "fancy" bike owners in the same situation. It might be that we don't feel the need to pay for cable as we're outside, on our "fancy" bikes. Enjoy your couch and cable.

      • McLean Riley

        Stop being a snob. That's why everyone hates us cyclists. She was using fancy in place of expensive. And most of them are extremely expensive.

    • MJ

      I find the whole idea that if someone has the money for something they should and are paying for that something. Pamela, not everyone is a obedient and conforming consumer...

    • Brad

      We spend our money on our bikes, not the TV :)

      N+1, right cyclists?

    • EyeCorporations

      I don't have cable TV at work...

    • saimin

      I think you're wrong. A lot of people with fancy bikes like to ride their bikes for fun, so don't watch enough TV to justify cable.

  • ThisMustBeAJoke

    LOL!

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    It's definitely better than the $20 people had to pay for a crappy few hours broadcast of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb event.

  • Gus

    So this is the same app SBS in Australia give away for free?

  • Brad

    Real question is... Chromecast support? Haha

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  • blindexecutioner

    People even care about this race anymore? What's the point? Every other winner gets their title stripped for doping yet they still won so it's really kind of a symbolic thing.

    • Richard Allen

      largest live sports event in the world with more spectators watching live than any other sporting event in world. So yes I guess just a few people care. UK is estimating a possible 1+ million people per stage. Also if you are that disinterested in watching it why are you posting here about?

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  • mgfjd12

    Add Chromecast support and replays like the
    ESPN app. It would definitely buy the event when if these features are present.

    Thanks.

  • DanSan
  • Sportsbun
  • GazaIan

    Honestly, I could follow this price model. It's steep yes, but I wouldn't mind paying for it for playback on a tablet or even outputting it over HDMI or something to a TV. If something like this was offered for the Olympics at a lower price, I'd vouch for it. It would be great for cordcutters. Or even a subscription to a stream of just that channel for a low price. This as it is is pretty expensive, but if they get the prices right then this could easily be a great model for other to follow.

  • Marcus Scott

    chromecast support or no? if yes than its a definite buy... also will it archive the races daily in a timely manner so i can watch them if i couldnt catch it live.

    • Andy McKay

      No, no Chromecast support unfortunately.

      But you can watch recorded coverage, start to finish.

  • Guest

    Bought it. Why? Because I'd like to be able to keep current with the race while chilling at the pub after a good ride. Sure, I can watch it on TV, but for less than$1 a stage, I think it's worth a try. Heck, most of the people griping about the price probably spend more than that on 3 mocha latte frapes at Starbucks.

  • saimin

    Do you have to watch the race live (which can be a problem for people who are asleep or at work during those hours). Can you time-shift and/or fast-forward the video stream using this app?

  • Annoyed in Germany

    Even more annoying is that the app won't let you watch the livestream if you're overseas

  • fifaworldcuptv

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  • DeWayne Stark
  • Josh Adams

    Is the coverage the same as on TV? That is, do you get the pre-race show, the post-race show, and all the in-race commentary? Is that true for both the live coverage and the full stage replays? On TV they of course have commercial breaks: what do they do on the app live stream and then on the replays? If there are commercials on the replays, can you skip or fast forward through them? I very much enjoy the NBC Sports coverage and if I cut out my cable before next year's race, I'd want to be able to get the same coverage from the mobile app. Currently I record each stage on my DVR and watch when I can so I would want the same full coverage in the mobile app that I get in by recording the live broadcast. One thing I do now is fast forward through certain uneventful sections; any chance the mobile app allows that on the replays? I'm not talking about skipping forward (which I bet the mobile app does allow), I'm talking about playback at a faster-than-normal speed (if you don't have a DVR, think about how you might have done this on a DVD player or even on a VCR back in the day) where you can see what you're going past. Maybe I'll have to ante up the $9.99 (which is the current cost of the app; it decreased somewhere along in there during the race; they do that every year) and give it a try.