Watching the Rugby World Cup on

 by Martin Belam, 11 September 2007

Given that my default position is now to be outside the UK, and have very little reliable access to bandwidth, my experience of streaming sporting events over the internet has been quite limited in recent months.

I occasionally get to listen to a little bit of radio in an internet cafe, but increasingly less and less so. I used to be able to sometimes get commentary from BBC Radio Leeds of Leeds United's games, and failing that, would listen online to TalkSport's Saturday afternoon around-the-grounds programme.

Both routes to UK football are now barred to me via geo-IP restrictions when I'm in Greece, so now I'm reduced at home to a bit of World Service coverage being beamed out of Cyprus on short wave, or I actually have to make the effort to get to Filippo's Bar or The Kiss Bar where I can watch English footie.

All of which goes to explain why on Friday night, when I wanted to get coverage of the opening match of the Rugby World Cup whilst the TV was otherwise occupied, it didn't occur to me to watch it on the internet.

I listened to streaming commentary from Radio Five Live for much of the match, and it was only in the 78th minute that I suddenly thought: "Hang on....ITV are streaming this live".

Argentina on

So, it was a quick hop over to

The first problem I encountered was that I was using Firefox, not Internet Explorer. This generates an error message in the ITV media player window, however they handle it very gracefully.

Obviously, it would be better to fully support Firefox, but ITV at least direct Firefox users to the IE Tab Firefix Add-on. That should allow them to run ITV streaming within the Firefox browser framework, rather than having an Internet Explorer window open seperately.

ITV Firefox warning

I chose to fire up Internet Explorer instead myself, and was greeted with the message that I now needed a security update in order to run the streaming video.

ITV security update

That was quite simple to install, and one quick restart of Internet Explorer later I was up and running, just in time to see the final whistle go. The install only took a couple of minutes, and it was considerably less painful to get ITV's streaming up and running than it is to get the BBC's iPlayer going.

Before the stream starts, ITV warn users that it might be delayed compared to the broadcast stream. Funnily enough, when I started the France - Argentina stream on the Friday night, ITV's online TV coverage was a couple of minutes ahead of the online radio stream of the BBC's Five Live coverage, so I skipped the last few gasps of the match.

The quality of streaming from ITV is pretty reasonable. I watched the first half of New Zealand demolishing Italy on Saturday morning online, and at full screen resolution on my laptop the picture was watchable. Not bad considering that sports events tend to show JPEG artefacts more than some other types of TV, due to the detail on the pitch and in the crowd.

David Hepworth may not be enjoying their coverage so much, but once I get the hang again of the fact that in the UK the internet is fast enough to carry streaming video, I imagine I might use the ITV rugby service quite a bit whilst I'm here.


Hey Martin, thanks for the RWC updates using actually work with a company called MediaZone that holds official and exclusive broadband video On Demand service for the IRB Rugby World Cup. This service provides high quality, 24-hour delay On Demand coverage of ALL 48 matches, as well as live audio feeds, match previews, halftime and fulltime highlights and Interviews. You can check out this action for FREE for a limited time to watch France vs. Argentina and New Zealand vs. Italy duke it out by going to this site & entering the promo code:, promo code: KEY77GHY. Let me know what you think and here's to some more sailvating clashes in the coming days.

I tried this but it just says that it can only be viewed by poeple in the UK?

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