IMHO: Online-only World Cup game is a technological mis-match

While Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat for England, it's being heralded as a great victory for inter

For me, it was a score draw. Yes, I'm pleased that the new internet streaming technology worked. But that doesn't negate the fact that old broadcast TV technology was better suited to the task.

Of course, the match was only an online exclusive because Setanta, who held the TV rights to the game, no longer operates in the UK. So online sports specialist Perform were chosen to stream the game on a pay-to-view basis, with tickets costing £4.99 in advance or £11.99 at the weekend - or totally free if you opened an account with bet365.

For the sake of quality, Perform announced that no more than a million connections would be accepted. Today, the company trumpeted the success of the broadcast to "nearly half a million" viewers. It was, said Perform, "Britain's biggest internet pay-to-view sports broadcast." It's unclear whether visitors to Odeon cinemas and British military bases -  which were also showing the match - were included in the final figure.

Figures from Perform's post-match survey are certainly impressive:

"…an average of 87% felt the picture quality was satisfactory or better and 93% were satisfied with the customer support. In a positive sign for future events, 87% said the match offered value for money and 89% would purchase another live sports event online."

And yet I can't help feeling that the whole idea of streaming live sporting events is counter-intuitive: why use an interactive, one-to-one medium like the internet, for a large-scale broadcast? Why clog up with internet with half a million streams when the airwaves are better suited for the job? In a post-match survey of a terrestrial broadcast, I'd hazard that figures for picture quality would be higher, and customer support issues wouldn't even be relevant.

There's no doubt in my mind that TV-over-internet is the way of the future: iPlayer's 2.2m daily streams are testament to that, and the Canvas set-top-box will soon bridge the gap between television and web. But the reason that internet TV is so exciting is that it's on-demand: the user gets to call the shots, not the scheduler.

For live TV, and especially big sporting events, it makes sense to stick with existing satellite and terrestrial TV systems - freeing up the web for sport-o-phobes to do some lag-free browsing at the same time.