With so many different streaming services out there to choose from these days, sometimes it can feel pretty overwhelming when it comes time to decide on one. Each one, of course, comes with its own separate monthly price tag. Furthermore, each individual streaming service has its own very specific niche, as well as its own inherent strengths and weaknesses. There is no such thing, in other words, as the perfect streaming service. Some have excellent content, but subpar design; others offer an incredible user experience, but the content is relatively limited.
No matter what streaming service you are considering, it is important to shop around before you make a commitment – especially since many of the plans associated with these services can tie you into a yearlong commitment. And, believe it or not, not every streaming service even offers a free trial period. So, then, how the heck is one supposed to figure out if a certain service is right for you, or worth your hard-earned money?
Well, there are a few things you are going to have to figure out before you can confidently choose one streaming service. It can be endlessly helpful to ask yourself a few crucial questions. Firstly, what sort of content do you value above all else? Say, for instance, you are a huge sports fan. Well, you are going to, from there, decide whether you care more about one particular sport, or you want more general streaming capabilities of multiple sports.
If you are primarily a combat sports fan, for instance, you might be best off with UFC TV or Fite TV; however, if you just want a ton of coverage of numerous sports, maybe ESPN Plus will be better for you. At the end of the day, it is all about making sure that a streaming service meets your unique needs. And from there you can figure out which services have the layout and content that will best cater to your needs.
But if you are reading this particular review, chances are you have already sort of gone through this process enough to narrow your decision down to the basics: you want to be able to watch as much Formula 1 racing as possible. And I can’t blame you … few things in this world are better than sitting down with a few cold beers and watching the race. And there is some great news for Formula 1 fans like you and me … the Formula 1 streaming service is top-tier – offering tons of content, great design, immersive features, and everything else you could ever want from a premium streaming service. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in and check out F1 TV!
Formula 1 TV did not always exist in the way that the streaming service exists today. Prior to the launch of F1 TV, Formula 1 featured a different digital broadcast service, known as F1 Digital Plus. Digital Plus was announced at the 1996 German Grand Prix. It was originally intended to broadcast exclusively to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. However, other countries began requesting access to the service in droves. The French broadcaster Canal Plus signed up for the service later in 1996, with a contract lasting 10 years (estimated to cost $60 million per year).
The original Formula 1 digital media service only continued to grow. Next, in 1997, the Italian broadcaster Tele Plus launched its F1 Digital Plus service. And Spain and England followed suit in 1998. Formula 1 Digital Plus received an initial investment of $35 million, and over $100 million went into the service before it shut down in 2002. F1 Digital Plus does not get talked about nearly enough, in my opinion, when it comes to what companies helped pioneer digital sports media.
Even though technically speaking, Digital Plus had become a commercial failure, it featured many new and innovative technologies for broadcasting Formula 1 races that have persisted throughout the years as the industry standard, such as dashcams and overall cinematic production qualities. Digital Plus laid down much of the groundwork for where Formula 1 TV would pick up and continue driving digital racing content further.
The design of Formula 1 TV honestly feels more like a video game than it does a streaming service. I mean that in the sense that the design of this service is one of the most immersive and dynamic of any streaming service I have ever seen, let alone a sports streaming service. Several on-screen menus allow you to easily and quickly switch between cameras, check stats and timings, or even listen in on live team radio calls. Check-in on the pit whenever you so desire, switch from there to your driver’s own dashcam for a first-person fast-paced viewing experience. Few sports streaming services give the viewer this much control over the ways by which he can enjoy the content.
As far as the archives and libraries are concerned, these, too, are easy to navigate and extremely user-friendly. Simply browse by year and then sit back and click or scroll through a very intuitive layout of different videos, highlights, and full past races. Formula 1 TV truly puts you, the viewer, in full control.
We have already somewhat touched upon some of the content that F1 TV offers its users, but let’s elaborate on that, shall we? So, as I just mentioned, F1 TV provides a robust archive of past races, Grand Prix, and basically anything Formula 1 has broadcast. Users have full and unlimited access to an enormous library of historic F1 races. See some of the most classic races of all time on demand. But beyond that, as far as prerecorded content is concerned, you will also have access to riveting F1 behind the scenes series and documentaries that only F1 TV users will be able to view. You have to love a streaming service that offers exclusive content, am I right?
Plus, of course, enjoy every single live F1 race as it occurs. And, again, this is where the service really sets itself apart – you can watch the race from just about every angle and viewpoint imaginable. Join your favorite drivers in the car for their point of view, check-in on the pit, or view the race in the standard broadcast. The choice is yours. And if you can’t make a certain race, no worries, you can check in with highlights and replays any time.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
I always tell people, when it comes to a premium live sports streaming service, smartphones are not going to be your best option. This turns out to be the case with F1 TV as well. You’re just not going to get the same level of immersion and dynamic viewing on a cellphone screen as you will on your smart tv or even desktop computer. So, the app may be best reserved for highlights, quick videos, and stats. It appears as if other people tend to agree with that assessment, as F1 TV’s app does not have an extremely favorable rating on the Apple App Store – an average of 3.4 stars.
However, when it comes to the experience that you’ll get from the desktop site or on your smart TV, it is truly unparalleled. There are honestly no other sports (let alone racing) streaming services like it on the market.
Pricing and Plans
Considering everything that F1 TV has to offer, I would say that the service is incredibly affordable. F1 TV has 2 options for pricing – choose between the F1 TV Access, which only allows users to view replays, highlights, and archived races (no live broadcasts). This option will run you either $2.99 per month or $26.99 a year.
Then, there is the full and unlimited version of F1 TV Pro, which unlocks the entirety of everything that F1 TV has to offer. You can subscribe to this plan for $9.99 a month or $79.99 for the year. As far as premium sports streaming services are concerned, these prices are not bad at all – especially considering the innovative type of viewing experience this one provides.
Suggestions that I have for F1 TV
A free trial would be nice. Just to let users get a feel of whether the service is right for them. Even just a week wouldn’t hurt. I suppose you could always try it out by checking out the cheaper TV Access plan and only lose 3 bucks or so – but, still, I think that a free, no-risk trial option would really be the icing on the cake for this service.