Football fans in Vietnam are losing patience over constant technical issues while streaming World Cup 2018 matches through online platforms, as providers blame a spike in viewership for the lags and connection losses.
Hoang Lam, a resident at the Saigonres Plaza in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, said his family had a set-top box device installed at home which they had been using to watch television programs for some time without an issue.
“However, connection problems begin to appear whenever there is a popular event on TV such as the World Cup,” Lam said.
Signal delays of up to dozens of seconds have become common since the hyped football championship kicked off in Russia on June 14, he added.
“When I was still watching an intense attack situation, my next door neighbors already shouted ‘Goal!’,” Lam recalled his frustrating experience.
“It can be very off-putting,” he said.
Cong Long, who lives in District 6, opts to stream World Cup matches on his mobile phone, having signed up for a 4G data plan advertised to be a good choice for football fans to watch their favorite matches on the go.
“Lags, freezes or total connection loss are regular issues,” Long said.
|A buffering icon appears on the screen as a Vietnamese fan watches a World Cup 2018 match between Colombia and Japan on television. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Lam and Long are only two among many people outraged by the quality of streaming services in Vietnam, at a time when Wi-Fi and 4G connections have become so widely available in the Southeast Asian country, at an affordable cost.
Owners of coffee shops and restaurants that install free TV screens for fans to enjoy World Cup matches over foods and drinks are also crying over signal delay problems.
Minh Phuc, who runs a coffee shop in Thu Duc District, said he had spent a lot of money on a high-definition set-top box device to serve customers during the football season.
“However, my feed is always five to six seconds late compared to the next-door coffee shop, which happens to use a much cheaper device,” Phuc said.
Fans who stream matches on the official website of state-own Vietnam Television (VTV), which offers the service for free, also report seeing an error message telling them the ‘server is busy’ whenever they try to tune in for a match.
The same issue occurs on VTVGo, a mobile application developed by VTV allowing users to watch TV channels on their mobile devices.
|A ‘too many connections’ error message appears on the screen of a VTV television streaming service. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Spike in viewership to blame
A representative from telecom firm FPT, a provider of set-top box devices in Vietnam, blames a spike in viewership during World Cup matches for connection issues experienced by viewers on its FPT Play platform.
Up to ten times the usual traffic was recorded during the football matches, leading to occasional issues including lags and buffering on streaming devices, he said.
“Our technical team is working at full speed to resolve the problems,” the representative stressed.
Other network providers also said they had upgraded their servers to allow up to three times the number of viewers watching at the same time, after receiving complaints about connection issues.
Set-top box owners are advised to restart the device as well as their Internet modem when encountering issues while streaming football matches, according to experts.
|A Vietnamese fan watches a World Cup 2018 match on his mobile phone. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
A set-top box (STB) or set-top unit (STU) is an information appliance device that can turn the source signal into content in a form that will then be displayed on the television screen or other display devices.
They are used for cable television, satellite television, and over-the-air television systems.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is currently being competed in Russia by 32 top teams from football associations across the continents.
The quadrennial championship will last until July 15.