Thursday, September 4, 2008

NASCAR.com's RaceView Free This Weekend


NASCAR TV has come a long way since the early days of Ken Squier and the Daytona 500 on CBS being mixed with taped highlights on ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Now, a multi-billion dollar TV contract brings three TV networks to the coverage of all the Sprint Cup Series races each season. But, that is not the only way to watch the action. Most fans know about the Hot Pass service that is available to DirecTV users, by only 17 of the 80 million TV homes in the US have DirectTV.

A viable solution for several seasons has been located on the Internet. Turner Sports Interactive pays NASCAR a lot of money to operate the NASCAR.com website. This group recently was given the NBA.com website by that organization and is one of the premier groups at pushing the website technology envelope.

Over the years, the video element of NASCAR.com has developed slowly but surely. This application works just like watching a video on YouTube. A fan goes to NASCAR.com, clicks on the video link and watches any of a host of recorded videos or live broadcasts. As with many things in life, to get the really good stuff requires parting with a little cash.

This weekend in Richmond, fans can see all the features of the high-end live video feed when NASCAR.com's Sprint RaceView is offered completely free for the Sprint Cup Series race. Click here to go directly to the page for the free service.

Earlier this season, TNT offered a similar broadband Internet application and called it RaceBuddy. It turned out to be a smashing success for one reason. It was free. The vast majority of NASCAR fans are already paying a hefty cable TV bill, so RaceBuddy worked to put TV viewers in the position of also watching the computer screen at the same time. There were lots of new first-time "NASCAR multi-taskers" this summer.

That is the concept that RaceView subscribers know all too well. RaceView has all kinds of gizmo's and gadgets, but the best is the driver audio selections and the ability to change camera angles. I have to admit that having the ability to pause and rewind just like a DVR or TiVo is also kind of cool.

While I have seen the demo, I have never subscribed to RaceView so I will also be sampling it for the first time this weekend. The folks at Turner tell me that even if the race is delayed to Sunday or even Monday, they will stick around and provide the entire event for free.

Reading the NASCAR.com website, the company is also offering a low price for all The Chase races to anyone who likes what they see this weekend and signs-up for 2009.

With many computer towers and laptops now being able to plug directly into HDTV sets, this weekend also may be an opportunity for some more adventurous types to see what RaceView looks like on a big HDTV screen. I look forward to hearing from those folks.

Before anyone goes off on a tangent, let's make one thing clear. There is no doubt that the front page of the NASCAR.com website is a mess. We know it, the fans know it and the Turner folks know it. It is one page on the Internet trying very hard to serve far too many masters. That will be a topic for another time.

I would suggest that fans can look for a major re-vamp of NASCAR.com with new technology and applications before Daytona in 2009. But for right now, please take a moment and let us know if you are going to sample RaceView this weekend.

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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering I'm already paying for it and it crashes half of the time - probably not...

PammH said...

JD, it's NOT a viable alterative to anyone that lives in the boonies like me! I can't watch ANY streaming at home, because I'm on dial-up & I'm not the only one. Let me see~$15 a mth for dial-up versus $60 bucks a mth when gas is $3.69 a gallon, and oh btw, I DIDN"T get a raise this yr!! I can listen to scanners on the wk-end: nothing else until I log into the library's internet at lunch.
I know I'm not the only one...

Eric - The Maine PC Doc said...

It's almost a secret that Roadrunner (Time Warner) subscribers can get RaceView at a much reduced price. I have purchased it for the last two years and consider it to be a great deal at the reduced rate. Not sure if I would buy it at full price though. Visit the rr.com web site to search for the link to sign up.

Charlie said...

I have never watched RaceView before. I just now got back from watching the demo and I will give it a try.
I am not much into watching cartoon looking cars but I will see how it goes. The demo did show some interesting things it could do.

Charlie said...

Forgot to mention that I really liked RaceBuddy.

Anonymous said...

J.D,

I clicked on the link to the free page and started filling out the info and then they want a Charge Card. Where is it free? They say it is free this weekend, but it is not when you go to register.

Can you clearify this?

Karen said...

Anonymous said...

J.D,

I clicked on the link to the free page and started filling out the info and then they want a Charge Card. Where is it free? They say it is free this weekend, but it is not when you go to register.

Can you clearify this?


Maybe I can clarify this for you. Last time they offered free Trackpass, I signed up. It was a two-week trial. You have to give your credit card so that if you continue with it, they have your billing information. If you don't call within the designated time period to cancel, you will get a monthly bill for the service until you do. I used it for the two weeks, then cancelled it with absolutely no problem and no charge.

Karen said...

P.S. I paid for in-car channels for 2-3 years and really liked it. Cable company took it away. Bummed me out.

Anonymous said...

I pay for the service, and wouldn't be without it, especially when ESPN carries the races.

It is the only way to know what's really happening on the track.

Anonymous said...

As anon 10:10pm said, expect Race View to crash this weekend. It always does when it is offered free, which is extremely annoying to those of us who pay for it. While I am going to miss missing the race (no matter when it is run), I won't miss having to struggle with Race View.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like when Trackpass crashes for those of us who pay. The have a free trial weekend and it's really buggy.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Guys,

Let's talk about a couple of things.

RaceView is only for Internet users who have broadband access.

The system is huge and if it crashes, you need to take a look at your PC diagnostics and also your incoming cable access.

The Richmond preview is free and no credit card information is required as I am told by Turner. You must click on the free launch link on Saturday.

Thanks,

JD

red said...

i'm not certain why i'm on the fence about this one. i'm always multi-tasking during the race and i'm comfortable doing so and i certainly used racebuddy for all it was worth. but, for some reason, i've not taken advantage of raceview's previous free offerings. maybe i just need more info.

those of you who have experience with raceview: what are the real-life advantages and disadvantages? what does it bring to the race that you now wouldn't want to do without? what is the best feature? on the flip side: what does it do less than well and what irritates you the most about it?

i suspect i'll be taking advantage of the free race offer but i'd like more feedback from those who are current users. thanks!

Chuck said...

I've been using RaceView since last year. I've really liked the improvements made for this season. To answer the previous question, I find the most interesting aspect of using RaceView is it allows me to watch the car I want to watch at any time. With the new features, you can 'rewind' choose a car that was in an incident and watch what took place. Obviously it's not exact but gives you a pretty good idea. I also use my RV session to listen to different driver/crew radio traffic.

red said...

thanks, chuck, that's helpful. can you choose from any one of the 43 cars or are the choices set ahead of time by raceview and so you access from among those drivers only? same question applies, i suppose, to the driver/crew chief radio traffic.

GinaV24 said...

Well, since it's free, I'll probably give raceview a try again. I have broadband, but had an older (3 years old) computer and the XP system really had a problem with it so even though I upgraded to it, I had to cancel and go back to just plain trackpass -- that worked fine. One thing that does really irritate me is that I have had a subscription to trackpass for several years and half the time they offer it for free. Sometimes I think I'm a fool for buying the darn thing, but I would miss my scanner for the races, especially when the TV broadcast is unwatchable and it may be the only way I know what is happening with my favorite driver. I'll give raceview a try one more time

Anonymous said...

Gina, before RV existed, I bought TP for a year and didn't get all I paid for, I thought, because of XP. I discovered late that year that IE was the problem since switching to Firefox eliminated the problems. The worst thing NA$CAR did however was to use my credit card info to automatically renew me in February of the next year. Given the hoops I had to jump thru to get my card credited, I recommend anyone with a credit card registered w/NASCAR.com change their profile as soon as no more NASCAR.com purchases are planned for this year to a card with a 2008 expiration date.

yankeegranny said...

If you are having trouble with RaceView crashing, go to NASCAR's tech support site. I had lots of problems with crashing and they took care of it. since then -no problems. My problem was that I had multiple versions of Java on my computer. Java is one program that does not erase a previous version when you download a later version. You need to go in and delete the older versions. I had to get rid of three versions3,4, and 5. 'Essentially what happens is the various programs interact and freeze your computer. If you don't know how to delete programs, call the tech support. They will walk you through the process.
I love raceview and would recommend it to anyone. I turn on the TV,mute the sould and spend most of the time on raceview.

Anonymous said...

Has it got any "Motor Mouths" broaadcasting on it?
I can do with out the "JIBBY JAB"!

Charlie said...

I was checking my computer today and I see a new item in my start up called - Itiva Media Accelerator. I checked this out to see what it is and how I got it. It was installed when I went and used RaceView. Itiva Media Accelerator (IMA) is used to give you the pause, rewind and replay functionality in RaceView.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...

The system is huge and if it crashes, you need to take a look at your PC diagnostics and also your incoming cable access.


That may be what they are telling you, but it's not necessarily true. I clean my computer every few weeks (check for all the extras that don't belong). Most weeks I don't have a problem, every so often I do. The weeks when some part of Track Pass is offered, I know that I have problems, as well as at least 5 people that I talk to during the race. We are all over the country using different access systems. So it's not just isoloated incidents. It also takes A LOT longer to load on these free weekends.

red said...

anon 10:35 AM: thanks for the info. since it takes longer to load on free weekends, do you know how far ahead of the race one can actually load it? for example, the race starts at 1pm eastern: can i load the raceview application on my laptop at, oh, noon? i know i opened racebuddy in advance of the race every time and had no problems.

also, do you have any information on whether it gets easier to load raceview once the race has started and, say, 30 laps or so are run?

thanks to everyone who's been providing information. i know that what's ultimately tipped my decision to try raceview on sunday is that it gives me an alternative to espn for actually watching (as opposed to listening on mrn/prn or reading on TDP) the race.

Anonymous said...

Well the race is over and this piece of crap called raceview still has not loaded.
Figures.
WWN B.S. again.
AND NO!
IT'S NOT MY COMPUTER'S DIAGNOSTICS!!!
GARBAGE!!
Should have bought a toyota!

Anonymous said...

This is a JOKE