Versus versus Versus

It’s Tour de France time again, and this year we pretend it’s 2005 all over again. Lance is back in the race and Versus has made it its singular mission to make sure that we don’t forget this. I watched the first couple of stages over the weekend, and noted a new twist in the action. You can watch the old fashioned way, over the TV cable. Or you can watch the same race at the Versus web site via streaming video. Given that the TV pictures are now in glorious HD, you’d think there would be no contest between these two modalities. But don’t be too sure.

Here is how Versus on the TV is better: the HD picture is really nice. So in those slow flat stages you can really appreciate the scenery.

The live web coverage is pretty much better in every way.

First, you don’t have to listen to the TV stylings of Bob Roll and the other studio moron that Versus employs. I’ve never figured out why they always feel the need to give Phil and Paul a couple of dipshit sidekicks, but it has always been this way. ESPN did it. OLN did it. Now Versus does it. But not on the web. On the web the only people talking are Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin. One point for the web.

Second, you don’t have to suffer through yet another interview from Frankie Andreu or Robby Ventura. These two guys are so bad they give all the other sideline reporters a bad name. One more point for the web.

Third, there are no commercials. No promos for the Tour De France, a show you are already watching. No pitches for Verizon FIOS shitty movies on demand. No Viagra. One point for the web.

Fourth, they broadcast cool metadata out of band from the picture. There is a race map that almost keeps up with the actual race. There is a listing of who is in which group. There is a running commentary taken from the text version of the race coverage. This is handy.

Fifth, no moronic “pre-game” show.

Finally, on the web I can pop in at the end of the stage and see what happens while I eat my lunch. Or I can wait until I get home and stream a tiny little picture from front to end.

With the Tivo, I have to wait until the end of the day to watch the stage only to find out that yet again the guide meta-data has underestimated the length of the stage by 1 hour and 10 minues. Usually you pad the recording out by about an hour, so this means that I won’t not be watching the last ten minutes of the stage without enduring the Prime Time Versus coverage. The Prime Time coverage is just like the live coverage, except that they remove the commentary of Phil and Paul and replace it with the two studio dipshits. Again, I’ve never figured out why they do this.

Versus, and OLN before them have been broadcasting the Tour live for more than ten fucking years and they still can’t get the fucking guide data right. I can only conclude that the people who run these networks have the collective intellect of a god damned retarded baby monkey.

So let’s review:

TV has a better picture and lets me record all but the last ten minutes of the race that I can then watch at my leisure.

The web coverage has a lower quality picture, but has only the content that I want, anytime I want it, and with limited distractions.

And people wonder why TV is dead.