The Ashes on the BT Sport app – a review

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We’re not generally enamoured with apps, as they often seem to make the absolute least of storage space and processing power to deliver much the same content that can be found on the equivalent website.

However, as a result of the televisual shenanigans that have seen BT broadcasting this Ashes series, we have uncharacteristically seen fit to take the plunge with the BT Sport app. And we rather like it.

Phone screens don’t make for the finest viewing experience, but the way the app is set up is great for matches where half the day’s play takes place before you wake up.

Various little video snippets showing major wickets and quirkier events are presented in the cricket section of the app, but the big advantage is being able to scan the whole day’s play to watch a far greater number of meaningful events.

One of the things we hate most in the entire universe is the assumption that people want to watch videos instead of reading articles. The reason for this is that you can’t scan a video. You just have to sit there and tolerate it while the information drips out at a brain-aggravatingly slow pace, like olive oil from one of those dribbly pourers.

The BT Sport app though? The BT Sport app has an annotated timeline.

Annotated timelines are better than blue stilton on toast

In all honesty, a furious ongoing attempt to ‘get through the stilton’ means this comparison isn’t quite as complimentary as it was when we started writing this article a few days ago. But even so, the annotated timeline is unequivocally ‘a good thing’.

Maybe it’s the same on other apps, but we’re a huge fan of the smear of iconry down at the bottom of the screengrab above. It lets you pick out boundaries, wickets and chances, but also little mini highlights montages and chunks of punditry.

As you wake, bleary-eyed, it’s easy to pass a good little while catching up with cricketing events while you try and summon the will to emerge for the three hours of twilight that pass for daytime at this point in the British winter.

We’re going to give the BT Sport app a score of 9/10 because while we can’t think of what else we’d like to see, that’s only because we haven’t actually given the matter a great deal of thought.


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  1. One of the things we hate most in the entire universe is the assumption that people want to watch videos instead of reading articles

    I always thought this was to do with (1) the fact that videos often have sound and (2) the fact that you can’t easily watch a video while doing something else, whereas you can read an article in installments or while glancing away regularly without ‘missing’ anything.

    Of course, if a video autoplays, then the website can count it as a ‘view’, therefore earning a fraction of a penny advertising revenue whilst simulaneously annoying the reader/viewers.

  2. Star have been providing almost exactly the same app in India since 2013, apparently.

    We did feel it was unlikely that such a thing would arrive fully formed from a broadcaster with no great history of covering cricket.

    1. Star has been broadcasting cricket since ’91 in India – covering almost all cricket incl World cups with very few exceptions. Also tech and the Internet have very little to do with history 🙂

      1. There’s still history – it’s just shorter. Star’s app obviously didn’t appear in 1991, but we’re still confident that they had one before BT, who only started broadcasting cricket last year (or possibly the year before).

        Star has had more time to trial and refine their app. This has allowed BT to offer something pretty good from pretty much the outset.

      2. Tech(as we know it now, rather than the literal definition) and the internet have a very tangible and interesting history. Perhaps made more so as many of the advances have been made during our (speaking/typing as a 40-odd year old) lifetime.

        I agree with Sam, who made his point just below me, but I seem to be somehow above him. How I yearn for the non-indented linear comments section.[/Sadsmileyface]

    1. For Nineties Nostalgia purists, one of the grave disappointments of the 2013/4 whitewash was the complete lack of innings defeats as well as ten wicket defeats. In BT Sport’s credit, these shortages have both been resolved within three matches – result!

    2. An unobserved England team exists in a quantum superposition of both winning and losing.

      It’s when people open the BT app that the wave function (and middle order) collapses and England lose.

      1. Sadly, I don’t see where the uncertainty principle comes into this. Is there an inevitability principle along similar lines?

  3. I really like the app also, they use a very similar thing for the football. It’s a big help for people with short attention spans.

    If they could make something similar work on a proper telly that would be really something.

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