TV or not TV? That is the question.

After a second season of successfully broadcasting match day commentary from all home league matches and a wide selection of away trips, Raith Rovers Abroad are widening their horizons. But only if they can have your help!

The online service – designed for people that can’t make it to Stark’s Park, but want to feel part of the action – was launched early last year. It now has a regular group of committed fans tuning in from right around the globe, at all hours of the day and night.

By far the most requested feature that subscribers have asked for is video of the match. Unfortunately, the rights package for the SFL meant that it wasn’t financially viable to run a full video service. The move to the SPFL, though, has meant the rights situation is now being reviewed… with the real possibility that live video streaming of home league matches could soon be possible.

As the situation may not be resolved until days before the start of the season, the team are getting prepared nonetheless. They’ve spent the last few weeks working out the technical details and hope to use the friendlies as a test run of the upgraded service.

So, as we welcome Sheffield United, Hibs, Hearts and Inverness to Stark’s Park, there will be a test video feed to complement the usual audio commentaries. While the final service would almost certainly mirror the SPL teams’ online offerings (audio in the UK, video for international subscribers) the video from the home friendlies will also be available within the UK.

After a range of positive pre-season tests the team now need the feedback of a wider audience to identify how much progress has been made, and if the service would be suitable if the new rights situation works in our favour.

As these are friendly matches, the usual match day fee of £4 will be reduced to £2.50. The broadcast will kick off just after 7pm with live pictures of the pre-match warm up. In the event it all goes completely wrong, the video feed will be dropped back down to audio for the duration of the match.

It will be a challenging night for the team of 5 volunteers who are also responsible for all the website video, match day commentary and post match interviews. They are keen to push Raith Rovers Abroad on to new challenges while maintaining a high level of service. With your help and patience the team can evaluate how close they are to bringing Raith Rovers Abroad TV to fruition.

To take part please log in to www.raithroversabroad.net on Wednesday. Use your existing login details if you’ve used the service before, or sign up at the right-hand side of the page.

Given the uncertainty over what we’ll be able to offer, full prices for the new season of Rovers Abroad will be given closer to the time.

Note: As a guide we expect that users with a broadband speed of under 4Mbps will experience difficulty getting a steady stream. If you can watch BBC iPlayer (or equivalent) without it stuttering, you should be okay. The video facility uses Flash, so is not iPad, iPod or iPhone compatible.

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