It’s not perfect, but it’s worth it just for its HDR

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In the middle of 2022, especially in Spain, we are already used to going through the box to watch football. Gone is the free-to-air football stage, and in this era the fight is no longer for free football, but for at least having the option of hiring it independently, regardless of our operator, at a reasonable price and being able to enjoy it from any device.

That’s why we celebrate the arrival of DAZN to the purchase of rights to LaLiga —although in the end only with half the matches of each day—, and for this reason we also celebrate that someone, Mediapro, offered us all the World Cup matches, from the first to the last, for a closed price and single payment: 19.99 euros. The service is called World Goaland it is the one we have been testing during these first three days of the tournament.

RTVE will offer the World Cup openly, but not all the matches: “only” the matches that Spain plays in addition to another 10 group stage matches, four round of 16 matches, two quarterfinals, the semifinals and the final. Do you know little and you want an experience full world cup? Then you may be interested in World Goal, which has 44 matches (of the 64 in the World Cup) exclusively.

Lots of football and a couple of asterisks

Gol Mundial is not only a platform where you can watch all the World Cup matches, but also a 24-hour channel that offers related content between matches, as well as a long collection of matches from all the World Cups held to date. and a specific section on the finals of each tournament; although this is also offered for free FIFA+.

The matches, which are the main reason for contracting, can be seen from the web browser, iPhone and iPad, Android (phones and tablets), Chromecast, Fire Stick and televisions or with Android TV, or if they are LG or Samsung in models from 2018 onwards. For 60 euros more there is the option of also buy a decoder with Android TV.

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The interface of its application for iOS, both in the programming of the group phase and in the historical archive and the daily grid.

A striking absence is that Gol Mundial is not available for Apple TV (although it is not a device with a large market share in Spain either), and its users can only use the application on their television, if they have it; or send the image via AirPlay.

In my case I have a television with Android TV, but I use Apple TV all the time, a simple personal preference for control, interface and integration into the ecosystem to type using the iPhone or easily send the sound to the AirPods. So I could either use the Android TV app, or stay on Apple TV via AirPlay. The latter does not achieve the highest image quality, so I had to opt for the former.

The quality of the broadcast in 4K is more than correct. The quality in the 1080p channel is very poor, at the level of a DTT channel that is not in HD. And the HDR in 4K, differential.

When accessing from a 4K device there are two channels for live matches, 1080p and 4K, conveniently marked. The image of the 4K matches is of very good quality, especially considering that it is streaming video; but the 1080p image is lousy. Those who do not have a 4K device will find a rather poor image quality, comparable to what they would get with traditional DTT, not even HD.

In the 4K channel, on the other hand, the experience, as we said, is very good and broadcasts at about 8 Mbps with the H.265 codec, according to tests carried out on a Fire Stick 4K by Genbeta, similar to what DAZN achieves in 1080p. There is room for improvement then, especially having fiber optic connections more than prepared for something superior. Netflix transmits at between 15 and 20 Mbps, although it plays with the advantage that it broadcasts content on demand, not live content.

The HDR takes on a special role in the morning matches, in full sun, to avoid visual botch in high dynamic range: make sure you have it activated on your TVs. You can even count the hexagons of the goal nets.

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Same moment of Morocco vs Croatia. On the left, 4K HDR. On the right, “Full HD” without HDR. The difference in the detail of the blue fence in the background, signage, tone and detail of the grass is especially appreciated…

4K HDR on the left, Full HD without HDR on the left.

4K HDR on the left, Full HD SDR on the left. The change in detail in the goal is more than evident.

We recommend, yes, seize the moment to calibrate our television and achieve optimal image quality. This way we will see with the maximum possible detail and sufficient quality even fan banners or the own expressions and postures of those who are in the stands. Even facial gestures of the players if we have a large enough panel.

Gol Mundial also offers something that many of us value: the possibility of choosing different audio sources: they include radio stations so that personalization is as possible as possible.

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The Gol Mundial web interface.

One nuance that many will dislike is that Gol Mundial has advertising between matches, something manageable, but also a very annoying twenty-second ad, mandatory before starting to watch any webcast. Not before a game starts, but the moment we start watching a game.

The Treasury has a limit for Bizum transfers.  If exceeded and not declared, there may be a (big) fine

If we do it with the match already started, we run the risk of missing something for those twenty seconds of advertising, always the same thing: a government campaign on Spanish food, led by the players of the National Team. This ad has not appeared to us when starting the channel from the television.

Payment, by the way, must be made with a debit or credit card, nothing with PayPal or other types of options.

Neither multi-device nor multi-screen

Something that this service does not offer is multi-user support: the twenty euros it costs gives access to a device viewing content simultaneously, so no sharing the password with a friend… unless we agree not to see the same match.

Not offering two simultaneous devices is understood as a market issue, but not offering multiscreen support is a complication for the last day of the group stage, where many games will coincide.

The absence of multi-device for market reasons may be understandable; it is more difficult to assume that we will not be able to see two simultaneous matches on the last day of the group stage

Specifically, between Tuesday, November 29 and Friday, December 2. Sixteen games that will overlap in eight shifts with a double encounter. In the case of Spain, their match against Japan will be played at the same time as their group rivals, Germany and Costa Rica. There will be no way to see both matches at the same time on the screen, something that many of us would have appreciated and that in the case of an OTT is technically viable. That will force us to choose only one match if we want to see the Netherlands vs Qatar or Ecuador vs Senegal. Or Iran vs USA vs Wales vs England.

The experience that remains is more than satisfactory, especially if we have a television that is compatible with the application without the need to send the signal from a phone or use an external device, and especially if our television is 4K; with that nuance about advertising on the web and the lack of multiscreen.

Is it worth paying 20 euros to see the World Cup in its entirety and in this quality, when RTVE already offers enough crucial matches in addition to all those in Spain? It will be left to the judgment of each one. However, I would gladly pay for a service like this, which does not force us to check if our team’s match is included in the day and without having to buy fiber rates at the price of beluga caviar, to watch LaLiga or the Champions League throughout the day. grade. For the World Cup, we have something to fall back on.

In the middle of 2022, especially in Spain, we are already used to going through the box to watch football.…

In the middle of 2022, especially in Spain, we are already used to going through the box to watch football.…

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