: Version 3.1.4 adds content for the 2012 NBA All Star Game in Orlando. Two new video channels added will air All Star Weekend & All Star Scene content.
This year the NBA has made some changes to their NBA Game Time app for the iPhone or iPod touch. The app updated for the short 2011 2012 NBA season has gone through some big changes, some for the better, and others for worse. The good news is that the NBA Game app is still free to download. The bad news is that for free, you don’t get a whole lot of content and you also get banner ads. You can buy an NBA League Pass for the iPhone for ($39.99) or Game Time Plus ($7.99) via in app purchases. These two prices are slightly lower than last year’s prices, most likely prorated for the shortened NBA season this year. The app works as a universal download but on both the iPhone and also the iPad so we’re covering them both here in the is review.
There are 5 tabs and the app works in both portrait and landscape view.
The first tab is a customized team tab. To set this up, you pick what is called a “Favorite Team” in settings, and this tab automatically update with your team logo and is filled with team info. In here you’ve got Stats, Roster, Standings, Schedule, and Arena. There are also links to listen to Live Game Audio, view upcoming games using a sliding ticker, watch videos, and read news articles and tweets.
Scores tab is where you can view a score table of all the games going on for today. The dates can be filtered so you can pick any date you want in the past or the future to see the schedule for that day as well. There’s a “Today’s Date” button to get back to today’s games quickly. Each game has a full score page which includes the Box Score, Play-by-Play, Team and Player stats, and the quarter by quarter stats. Buttons for switching the stats and picking sections of data are not very responsive and are quite small, which can be annoying at times.
If you have paid for the NBA League Pass purchase, you can also watch live video feed of the game or listen to the audio (as long it is not a blackout game.) The video feed for the games is a bit pixelated, even over Wi-Fi but works, most of the time. Sometimes the video has hiccups, and other times it won’t start, probably due to high demand over this free preview time until January 8th 2012. Tap the video once to show the info overlay and controls. There is a pause and rewind 30 second option, and another button to get back to the live game. There is also a game stat overlay and an option to jump to and view other games, including game replay ability.
You have to be an NBA League Pass member to watch much of anything in the video section. There is a ton of video content available here to keep you occupied for some time. You get Highlights, League videos, Team specific videos, and League Pass live and replay of full games. You have access to video content like Nightly Notable, Game Recaps, Plays of the Night, TNT Overtime and more.
Here is where you can see the Wester and Easter conference NBA standings, read NBA news headlines, and more. There is now also a section for Leaders (points, assists, rebounds etc.) and you can also filter the data into just one team. Finally there is now also a full Players section where you get a complete alphabetical list of all NBA players who get their own complete profile page.
There is so much content stuffed into the new NBA Game Time app that it would be helpful if users were able to bookmark specific sections of the app to come back to quickly.
This tab is for settings and feedback. Settings let you enable local time to get your time zone worked into the app schedule. Favorite teams is a feature that once you pick some they show up as your first tab. Enable push notifications for when games start, quarter ends, halftime and on game end. You can do this globally or on a game by game basis. Here you also get background information on local and national blackouts.
For 2012 NBA has brought back the iPad version of NBA Game Time. The app is not as good as the NBA Game Time Courtside iPad app was a couple of years back, but it is nice to have it back on the iPad.
A note on Non-transferrable NBA Subscriptions
The In-App Purchases do not transfer from one device to another. In other words, if you pay either $7.99 or $39.99 on your iPhone, you don’t get the same content on your other iPhones, iPad or any other iOS device for free. Unfortunately NBA requires that you pay again for the same content on each device.
Game Time Plus ($7.99)
This in app purchase is actually not a bad deal. It removes the ads for one thing. With Game Time Plus you can listen to pretty much any game live. Keep in mind the audio service, unlike the video one, only works live. Here you can’t go back and listen to older games, which could be useful. Each game has 2 radio streams, one from each city’s own broadcast, so you can pick which one you want to listen to. The audio runs in the background even if you close the NBA app, and you can pause/play the feed using the built in iPod controls by double tapping the home button. These features make Game Time Plus on the NBA app a wonderful deal and well worth the money.
NBA League Pass for Mobile ($39.99)
This feature gives you access to video content including live and on demand video. If a game is in a blackout area, you can still watch it later on demand. On demand videos are loaded per quarter one at a time to save bandwidth. The video quality is good when viewing on WiFi and reasonable over 3G with some pixelation and pausing here and there. The audio quality is near perfect. There are some skipping pausing issues due to bad connections here and there, which can be annoying especially when you’re watching a live game. This year they have thankfully removed the tacky always present scoreboard, but it can be turned on which is nice. When watching live videos the scoreboard overlay is ahead of the video feed, since the video is a few seconds delayed, so you should probably turn off the scoreboard overlay. The video play also has a built in “Game Stats” screen that yo can pull up and see team stats superimposed over the video feed. You can also browse the other games in action and navigate to videos from those games by scrolling. There are 2 sliders for volume and another for sliding through the video. Finally a couple of buttons are also provided for skipping 30 seconds back and forward. Keep in mind the game replay videos aren’t instantly available after a game is finished. It seems like they are posted about an hour after each game. If you stop a video and want to watch it again later, the app doesn’t remember where you left off automatically. It just starts from the beginning each time. In the League Pass Mobile section you can watch games from a few days back, although there is no date information on the list of games, so you just have to kind of know when these games took place.
NBA League Pass Broadband
NBA also sells NBA League Pass Broadband which gives you the ability to watch games on your Apple TV, and on your Computer. With this plan, you can also use the iPad and log in to watch NBA games on your iPad. Unfortunately, the iPhone is not supported with the NBA League Pass Broadband account, so you won’t be able to log in from your iPhone with this account to watch games.
Three Point Play
NBA Digital sells a Three Point Play subscription through your cable or satellite provider that lets you authenticate to your account on multiple devices. This plan is the only way to get all 3 access types (Mobile, Broadband, TV) using the same subscription. Not all carriers offer this plan so call your cable or satellite provider to verify. Once you’ve paid for this subscription you can now just add your username and password in the NBA Game Time 2011-2012 app and get access to the LP content. This is a good new feature which was not available last year. Sometimes it takes about 72 hours before your account goes through the cable provider to NBA’s systems, so give it time after you sign up. To enter your login info go to “More” then “League Pass” from the iPhone or iPad app.
– Customize to feature your favorite team
– Watch highlights from around the league
– Up to date news and info from around the league
– In-app alert capabilities
– Portrait and Landscape mode
– NBA Twitter feeds
– Play-by-play experience
– Stats, Scores, and schedules for every NBA game
Game Time Plus:
– Contains all Game Time features
– Home and away live radio broadcasts of games
– In-progress video highlights
– Video highlights from around the league including NBA TV and TNT clips
– Full game video recaps
– Improved video layout
– Ad Free
– More news, stats, and League info
NBA League Pass Mobile:
– Contains all Game Time and Game Time Plus features
– Live streaming of NBA regular season games (not blackout games)
– Full season archives
– Live In-Game stats overlay
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