Back in January, I said F1 TV was unreasonably lacking in features for a streaming service dedicated to the highest level of global motorsport. My opinion was predominantly based on the fact F1 TV didn’t support casting across non-Apple hardware and didn’t have native apps for any streaming platform outside of Roku’s. Thankfully, all of these things are changing for 2021!
Formula 1 announced a big update for the service in anticipation of the upcoming season, which is slated to begin the weekend of March 26 in Bahrain. Unfortunately, not everything planned will be here before the first race, though the web app has been updated as of today, and improvements to apps on other platforms are coming “in the first half of the season.” These include:
- Enhanced technology: The new version focuses on performance and quality; users will now be able to enjoy streaming video at 1080p at 50fps for the first time – ideal for watching fast moving action.
- Cast to TVs: Users will be able to cast F1 TV using Chromecast and AirPlay (iOS) – enjoying live and on-demand F1 content on their TV.
- Improved player controls: Users now have full control over the live stream; play, pause or rewind to watch that overtake again, across every channel, including On-board Cameras.
- Improved channel switching: An improved interface allows users to easily switch between F1 TV’s multiple additional streams: Pit Lane Channel, Data Channel, Driver Tracker and On-board Cameras.
- Improved user interface: A new, modern interface will allow users to easily browse and search F1 TV’s archive content, as well as F1’s exclusive series and documentaries.
As I’ve said before, the ability to cast from your iPhone or Android handset is huge, considering pretty much every other streaming service (motorsports-related or not) can already do that, and F1 TV had been stuck in the Stone Age in that regard. The press release adds that “F1 TV for Apple TV, Android TV devices and Amazon Fire TV are currently in development,” which should cover just about everyone, no matter what device they’d prefer to watch from
It must also be said that the new interface, previewed in a short video on the F1 website, looks very slick as well. A sidebar is designed to facilitate quicker switching between the primary race feed, driver on-boards, pit lane feed, track-wide view and live telemetry.
A few of these views can seemingly be stacked or shown simultaneously in picture-in-picture fashion, based on a screenshot F1 shared with this announcement. Furthermore, users will now be free to stream content at 1080p and a smoother 50 frames per second, which wasn’t previously possible.
I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to testing these new features in the coming months. It should also be said that with this update, F1 TV is arriving in three new countries: Brazil, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.