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Best way to watch the TdF?

Old 06-27-11, 02:13 PM
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rideon7
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Best way to watch the TdF?

I've not watched the Tour de France the last couple of years, except for the limited free clips that I was able to catch on streaming video on the net, but this year I've decided that I really want to follow the whole Tour. Since I'm not going to get on a plane and actually follow it around France, the next best thing is going to be to watch it via the internet. This year Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are going to be my friends! I don't have cable television; in fact, I don't have television at all, so I'm opting for the full internet access deal with versus.com for $29.95. What a deal!

I'm wondering how others, or *if* others, are watching the tour this year, and what the best way is you've found to follow the race.
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Old 06-27-11, 02:47 PM
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Been to France to watch the Tour and the only way to watch it is in a bar in a small town that has a decent size TV. After about the 3rd day the trips to the bar get cheaper as if you are in a wine growing region- the locals bring in their own wine from their own vineyards in 5 litre plastic containers. When they realise that you are really interested in the TDF- a glass is put in front of you by "One" of the locals- normally a 1/2 pint glass- and you join their enthusiasm for the sport. Next day and it gets better as one of the other locals trys to outdo his neighbour and brings in a better quality of Plonk for you to sample. Then it gets to all out war and you are plied with flagons of wine that are absolutely superb. All you have to do is make certain the bar is within walking distance of where you are staying as you won't be driving back.

But over here we have Eurosport on Satellite. Coverage is for most of the days events and highlights for an hour or so in the evening. Only costs a few $$s a month for the subscription and the only drawback is that one of the commentators is Sean Kelly. One of the most boring voices in sport but his knowledge is fantastic. Surprising what you can pick up from him as tips but I am afraid I want Phil back. His commentary is superb.
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Old 06-27-11, 02:52 PM
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I watch it every year. We have cable and Tivo and I almost always opt for the live early morning coverage. As entertaining as I find Bobke, I find I get more consistent enjoyment out of the broadcasts that are mainly Phil and Paul. Tivo, or another DVR that lets you zip through repetitive commercials and the annoyingly overlong and melodramatic music/graphics that precede and follow each commercial break, is essential, IMO.
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Old 06-27-11, 03:25 PM
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I saw my first tour stage in 1950 on a long stretch of rural road. Took several hours on a motorcycle to get there.

We've had high definition Direct TV with a HD DVR ever since they started broacasting it in high def. Bought a higher level 46" Panasonic plasma tv then as well. The image quality is astounding.

If we didn't have a DVR, we couldn't watch it. There's more commercial plus "features" time then racing. We not only can time-shift and get on with our lives for those three weeks (plus the other stage races and classics Versus carries), but we spend far less time sitting in front of the TV. The fast forward is blazingly fast.

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Old 06-27-11, 03:32 PM
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Just read the pcad thread on the TdF that he will inevitably start.
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Old 06-27-11, 03:43 PM
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This quote from Outside magazine's website: "Liggett’s breathless accounts of meaningless sprint finishes"
I try to, at the very least, watch the finish of each stage. They are often exciting in their own way, even if I haven't been paying attention to the racing.
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Old 06-27-11, 04:04 PM
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I'm watching it in HD on Versus. If I miss a stage early in the day it will be replayed an hour or two later. Usually replayed 3 or 4 times during the day.
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Old 06-27-11, 05:24 PM
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The only thing I miss switching from DirecTV to DISH is that I can't watch the TdF on Versus. Yes, I could get Versus if I went with a higher level of programming, but the service is expensive enough as it is considering we only watch about a dozen out of 250 channels now.
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Old 06-27-11, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
. . . Next day and it gets better as one of the other locals trys to outdo his neighbour and brings in a better quality of Plonk for you to sample. Then it gets to all out war and you are plied with flagons of wine that are absolutely superb. All you have to do is make certain the bar is within walking distance of where you are staying as you won't be driving back.

I am afraid I want Phil back. His commentary is superb.
The wine and the whole scene sounds great. Really, really great. Not an option for me, but that's okay. And what about Phil, then? Is he not doing commentary on the Tour any longer?
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Old 06-27-11, 06:06 PM
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Tivo, DVR, HD--it's a world of technology out there that I can't take on at this point. Reading the responses, though, reminds me that I could attach a larger screen (24"?) to my laptop and watch the Tour that way. Would be nice to see it on a larger screen.

One attraction I'm looking forward to on watching it on versus.com is that I can tune in at any time--live early in the mornings or during one of the day's reruns. Wondering if there will be ads running on the paid all access since it is, well, paid.
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Old 06-27-11, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
The only thing I miss switching from DirecTV to DISH is that I can't watch the TdF on Versus. Yes, I could get Versus if I went with a higher level of programming, but the service is expensive enough as it is considering we only watch about a dozen out of 250 channels now.
I've got the same problem with expense vs the number of channels watched. I had to go to a higher option on Direct TV to get Versus which is useless to us except for a few bike races. The wife insisted on getting the TdF on TV. With HD and a DVR it's big $'s.

Al
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Old 06-27-11, 07:18 PM
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I really wish Phil would learn how to pronounce the non-English names. His play-by-play is superb, and Paul is an absolute fount of knowledge, but it would be nice if Phil learned how to speak other Euro languages, especially Italian!

L.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
I really wish Phil would learn how to pronounce the non-English names. His play-by-play is superb, and Paul is an absolute fount of knowledge, but it would be nice if Phil learned how to speak other Euro languages, especially Italian!

L.
I have to giggle at that reply, because I agree! I love Phil to death, he knows the sport, the riders, tactics, and geography, but pronunciation? Ummm....oops! When the TOC went through here on the Fifth Stage, the peloton climbed and descended a stretch road called "Laureles Grade". That one is easy, yes it's Spanish, but it's easy - as my mother beat into my head when I was a child, Sound It Out. Phil couldn't, he could NOT get it right!! It was almost comedic.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:34 PM
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I'll be watching in HD on Versus via DirecTV, either live or on DVR from the live broadcast. Some days I will also watch the evening telecast with Bobke just for a different perspective. I can't get enough of it.

The hardest part is avoiding spoilers on the days I have to work and watch it later on the DVR.
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Old 06-27-11, 09:37 PM
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I always watch the TDF on Versus and if I'm not busy at work I'll watch it on steephill.com. I also love the Giro and the Vuelta.
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Old 06-28-11, 07:51 AM
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I think all of the announcers are superb. How they can detail the action so rapidly is beyond me. Speaking of mispronunciation has anyone else picked up on Paul Sherwen's pronunciation of "bike"? Swear he is saying, "bite". Does not matter they are all good. The endless breaks for commercials are pretty hard to take, however.
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Old 06-28-11, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sarals View Post
I have to giggle at that reply, because I agree! I love Phil to death, he knows the sport, the riders, tactics, and geography, but pronunciation? Ummm....oops! When the TOC went through here on the Fifth Stage, the peloton climbed and descended a stretch road called "Laureles Grade". That one is easy, yes it's Spanish, but it's easy - as my mother beat into my head when I was a child, Sound It Out. Phil couldn't, he could NOT get it right!! It was almost comedic.
I always enjoy hearing about the "Leaky Gas" team. I'd hate to get caught in the peloton behind them. Then there's Bobke's pronunciation of the whole event: turr-dee-frants.
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Old 06-28-11, 08:17 AM
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Not to steal the thread but a question to those who will watch the Tour on the internet. I have Versus at home on the cable but our DVR players will only keep a show for so long then the box resets or updates itself for one reason or another and the recorded shows are gone. We have a projector TV in the basement that I watch while on the trainer or rollers and watching cycling races and listening to great music has proven the ticket to pain and time distractions.

If you watch the Tour on your computer, via the Versus internet feed, can you record it? My laptop has a port to connect to the projector. In a perfect world this would work nicely as I could select various stages to match my workouts or mood.
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Old 06-28-11, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
Not to steal the thread but a question to those who will watch the Tour on the internet. I have Versus at home on the cable but our DVR players will only keep a show for so long then the box resets or updates itself for one reason or another and the recorded shows are gone. We have a projector TV in the basement that I watch while on the trainer or rollers and watching cycling races and listening to great music has proven the ticket to pain and time distractions.

.
Interesting. Our HD DVR with Direct TV will keep it indefinitely. You are alo supposedly able to attach an external hard drive to get even more recording time.

Al
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Old 06-28-11, 08:59 AM
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Our Tivo will keep programs until it needs the space, but even then, if you mark it to keep it until you delete it, it's supposed to do so. We also can transfer it to another hard drive through the home network for archiving to DVD or watching on the computers.
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Old 06-28-11, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
Interesting. Our HD DVR with Direct TV will keep it indefinitely. You are alo supposedly able to attach an external hard drive to get even more recording time.

Al
We have Time Warner and the DVR brand is Scientific Atlanta or Atlanta Scientific or something along those lines. I'll check for any external ports.
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Old 06-28-11, 10:10 AM
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In France, a Lavish picnic, with fine wine, while you wait for the race to Zip by..
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Old 06-28-11, 12:42 PM
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I do know how lucky I am as so far this year I have watched the tours of Turkey- Oman- Italy-TOC- Dauphine and Switzerland. Been a lot of the "Minor" tours aswell as the one day events. Still the TDF and the Giro to come aswell as various other events to watch if I keep the eyes open for when they are on. Yet another thing where europe and Eurosport have you beat.

My problem is that our Hard disc recorder is in the satellite box and it is filled up with the wifes programmes on gardening- East Enders and other useless stuff. Will have to clear the hard disc down by Saturday.
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Old 06-28-11, 12:43 PM
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Versus' coverage is awesome.
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Old 06-28-11, 01:03 PM
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Watching the Tour de Suisse in HD on a big plasma screen was incredible! I'd have a hard time concentrating on the road while riding through such breathtaking scenery.
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