I am not here to spoil the results of Wrestlemania 29. Instead, I am writing a review of the WWE.com online streaming service for their PPV events. Wrestlemania 29 was the first PPV I watched online via WWE.com, and I had a mixed experience. I felt that I needed to share it on my blog so that other future users will know what they are buying into.
First things first, the pricing for the PPV actually differs depending on the region you are living in. In the US, the price is US$59.99. However, in Singapore, the price is remarkably lower at US$17. Don’t ask me why. I felt that the price difference was attractive enough and so I decided to purchase it. You are required to have a working credit card (no PayPal payments allowed), and you must enter a valid billing address.
The video quality is excellent, as you can see from the screenshot in the header image. The service is streamed to your computer via Adobe Flash Player. I couldn’t tell whether it was a true HD resolution or not, but the image was clear and the frame rate was smooth. If you have a decent pair of headphones, the audio quality was nice too.
At around 7.07am (GMT +8), seven minutes after Wrestlemania 29 started, my video player suddenly stopped with an error. I tried refreshing the page, and was greeted by this horror message:
I did a quick Google search, and it turned out that everyone else on the Internet who had bought the online PPV had the exact same error message. No one could watch the PPV live. The service simply came to a complete halt, no doubt from the overwhelming number of simultaneous users.
I took a break and kept refreshing the PPV site periodically to no avail for the next two hours or so. At around 8.55am (GMT +8), the stream suddenly worked again, and I was given two options: I could rewatch the entire PPV again from scratch via a delayed telecast, or “Go Live” and watch what was actually being played at the event. Of course, I didn’t want to miss any of the earlier matches (it was already almost two hours into Wrestlemania), and opted for the delayed telecast instead.
The delayed telecast was very smooth, there were no further online disruptions or any form of stream lag. So yes, to WWE.com’s credit, they did manage to recover their online service in time. However, for those who bought the PPV just so that they could watch it “live”, this was a huge disappointment.
So should you buy the next Wrestlemania 30 PPV? It depends on whether you are tolerant of online disruptions, as evidenced for this year’s Wrestlemania. If you absolutely MUST watch the event live, I suggest subscribing to a TV network that screens the PPV live instead (you have to check the local listings for your own region). A TV subscription is much more reliable than an online stream.
If you don’t mind disruptions (you can watch a delayed telecast while the live PPV is still ongoing anyway), and if you live outside the US where the pricing could be much cheaper, then feel free to purchase the PPV at your own discretion.
The author thinks that the Cena vs Rock match was one of the worst Wrestlemania main events he’s ever seen.