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Sunday, 03 April 2011 14:55

Fox Sports sends new iPad app onto the field


Fox Sports has released version 2 of its iPad app, promising an essential experience for big sports fans. Does it kick any goals, or come crashing down the ladder?

The app is a video content hub of sorts, featuring full episodes  all of the Fox Sports flagship shows, including On the Couch, AFL 360, as well as a live stream of the Fox Sports News channel and many small highlight/news clips on demand.

It's a real smorgasbord if you're a sports fan, encompassing all of Australia's favourite sports, and soccer.

The new app, available on a subscription basis for $5.99 a month, comes in to its own when outside the lounge room, and goes well with a pot of beer and a bowl of nuts. Whether it be on the train, at a pub or simply doing some form of doing nothing, Fox Sports provides sports enthusiasts with a viable and entertaining way to kill some time, and keep up to date with sports news of course.

The app works with either 3G or WiFi, meaning it'll work no matter where you are or whose network you're using.

The changes in Version 2.0 are small but still consequential. A search function is now enabled, along with a 'related video' list and a 'refresh' button. The update is free to existing subscribers, so there's no question whether to update.

There are a few drawbacks to the app. The $5.99 monthly subscription fee may seem a tad high, especially when coupled with a Fox Sports pay-TV subscription (which most big time sports fans probably already have). I see it as a couple of cups of coffee, so it's no biggie.

What might hurt more is that the app won't work outside of Australia. Unlike some apps (eg. The Age, The Australian), where it's easy to keep up with local news overseas, geolocking means that the app's content can only be accessed within Australia. Bad news for those frequent flyers.

Videos also can't be saved at all, which would have been handy, although they can be tagged for later viewing (but not saved).

The apps' data usage, according to Fox Sports, is 13MB per minute on Wi-Fi connections or 2MB per minute on 3G connections, meaning the app isn't too taxing on download limits, but should still be factored in.

One more thing worth noting is that some iTunes store reviews coming in from users are commenting on sound problems. Matt Salmon writes 'On 4.3, videos play properly but sound doesn't work at all. Very disappointing', while another writes, 'can confirm the report of missing audio.' I had no such issues on an iPad 2 running iOS 4.3, but it's worth noting that if you're picking up the app, at least a couple of users have had issues.

Overall, the app's worth the subscription, depending on how much of a sports nut you are.

There's plenty of varied content to keep any kind of user occupied for lengthy periods of time, so long as you're the type of person that flips to the sports section of the newspaper first.

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