Game of Thrones Kicks Off Early (Kind of)* UPDATED

Season five of Game of Thrones is the first that you don't have to be a SoHo subscriber to see (legally) in this country the same day as its global premiere. Sky is one of 170 broadcasters that is screening the series at the same time as HBO (1pm Mondays). It will also stream new episodes 8.30 Mondays on its Neon service (albeit in SD). Such measures, however, have not stopped the first four episodes from being leaked online and pirated worldwide, despite the sub-standard definition quality of the video. Advance reviews (no doubt using screeners that were pirated) universally acclaimed the latest season. "For those just joining HBO’s drama, catching up on its labyrinthine storylines and scores of character names is extremely difficult," the New York Post acknowledged. "Even for GoT diehards, it can be hard to keep track of it all, which is why this season opener feels largely like a big memory jog. Yet despite flitting between seven settings, the episode is as dark and compelling as ever, hinting at a looming shift in power and perspective." Time pointed out this will be the first season to explore unchartered waters: "Several storylines are approaching or passing what [creator George RR] Martin has written in five novels. (It’s anybody’s guess when the projected final two books come out, though the previous two took about five years each.) The adapters, David Benioff and DB Weiss, say they’ve consulted with Martin on his master plan, but they’re not waiting for him. As the series moves past the book on some storylines and changes others to better suit the screen, for the first time readers are as likely to be surprised by what happens as non-readers. Like it or not, this critter’s gotta fly solo now." Agreed the New York Times: "There’s an overall feeling of recharging and regeneration about the generally grim show (through four episodes, anyway), after a couple of years marked by slaughter and the grisly murders last season of various members of the Lannister clan. Deaths are at a minimum. Several central characters are on the run, but none appears likely to have his or her head imminently removed. On the other hand, there is a proposed marriage that seems even worse than death."

Season five of Game of Thrones is the first that you don’t have to be a SoHo subscriber to see (legally) in this country the same day as its global premiere. Sky is one of 170 broadcasters that is screening the series at the same time as HBO (1pm Mondays). It will also stream new episodes from 8.30 Mondays on its Neon service (albeit in SD). Such measures, however, have not stopped the first four episodes from being leaked online and pirated worldwide, despite the sub-standard definition quality of the video. Advance reviews (no doubt using screeners that were pirated — HBO is assessing the breach) universally acclaimed the latest season. “For those just joining HBO’s drama, catching up on its labyrinthine storylines and scores of character names is extremely difficult,” the New York Post acknowledged. “Even for GoT diehards, it can be hard to keep track of it all, which is why this season opener feels largely like a big memory jog. Yet despite flitting between seven settings, the episode is as dark and compelling as ever, hinting at a looming shift in power and perspective.” Time pointed out this will be the first season to explore unchartered waters: “Several storylines are approaching or passing what [creator George RR] Martin has written in five novels. (It’s anybody’s guess when the projected final two books come out, though the previous two took about five years each.) The adapters, David Benioff and DB Weiss, say they’ve consulted with Martin on his master plan, but they’re not waiting for him. As the series moves past the book on some storylines and changes others to better suit the screen, for the first time readers are as likely to be surprised by what happens as non-readers. Like it or not, this critter’s gotta fly solo now.” Agreed the New York Times: “There’s an overall feeling of recharging and regeneration about the generally grim show (through four episodes, anyway), after a couple of years marked by slaughter and the grisly murders last season of various members of the Lannister clan. Deaths are at a minimum. Several central characters are on the run, but none appears likely to have his or her head imminently removed. On the other hand, there is a proposed marriage that seems even worse than death.” *Or simulcasts that don’t work.

Since this post, Sky has issued the following statement about the simulcast fiasco:

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES DELAY GLOBAL SIMULCAST OF GAME OF THRONES

SoHo’s planned simulcast of the first episode of season five of HBO’s Game of Thrones was delayed today due to playout issues experienced by the international company supplying the live feed.

SKY has been working with the HBO endorsed secure supplier to test their delivery system over the past couple of weeks and the testing had been faultless.

However due to a technical issue with the supplier’s system as they were attempting to deliver the live feed for satellite transmission this afternoon the playout failed.  Their efforts to rectify the situation were unsuccessful and therefore the episode was unable to be simulcast in New Zealand.

A secondary file download of the episode for the 8.30pm screening on SoHo and NEON meant that SoHo was able to access and screen the episode on SKY channel 010 at 3.35pm.

“It is incredibly disappointing for all of us that this has happened today, however we have worked with our suppliers to ensure that we were able to get the full episode to air as soon as we could this afternoon,” said SKY CEO John Fellet.

“There will naturally be some fans who were upset they were unable to watch the simulcast at 1pm and we are working with both HBO and the supplier to identify the problem so that it does not affect future 1pm simulcasts during the remainder of the season.”

MY SKY series links assigned to the 1pm screening were transferred to the 3.35pm broadcast. [Editor’s note: I have a My Sky + and the transfer didn’t occur.]

As a secondary file is used for the 8.30pm screening on SoHo and NEON neither of these broadcasts are affected by the difficulties with the live feed.

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2 Responses to “Game of Thrones Kicks Off Early (Kind of)* UPDATED”

  1. I watch some of series one of GoTs when it was on Prime but couldn’t get into it even though I like sword-and-sandal type of movies. I wonder if the leak was deliberate or not and most likely come from inside.

  2. Why would anyone want to stay home and see GoT at 1.30pm in HD? Surely you would have a MySky and watch it in the evening.

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