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Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football stream bad for some, again

Three weeks of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, and a third week of streaming problems, apparently. The September 29 game, which had the Miami Dolphins at the Cincinnati Bengals, was the third straight to experience any number of problems with the stream itself, according to numerous reports online.

Dolphins-Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This season is the first in which Amazon is producing the Thursday night broadcast from start to finish and not just distributing it. And just like in Weeks 2 and 3 of the NFL season, the distribution is what had issues. The Prime Video stream would go from an excellent quality to something we can only call “substandard-definition.” Everything dropped to a lower resolution, from the game itself to the on-screen graphics and even some of the advertising. And just like in previous weeks, the issues would come and go.

When does @NFLonPrime figure out the quality issues? It was never like this in the past. Embarrassing #TNFonPrime

— BeerBaron (@BeerBaron2020) September 30, 2022

Anybody else getting a pixelated screen on @AmazonPrime? I have pretty solid internet. #TNFonPrime

— William Varner (@LilMan1017) September 30, 2022

This sort of thing is maddening for everyone involved. Viewers hate it, of course. But it’s also a nightmare to troubleshoot, since there are so many variables involved. There’s the source of the feed itself: Amazon. Then, there are the various CDNs (content distribution networks) that share it throughout the internet. There’s also your internet service provider, both regionally and locally, as well as your home network and the actual device on which you’re watching.

Making matters even worse is that Amazon has been aware of the issues from the start (the first Thursday Night Football game of the season came in Week 2, on September 15), and execs quickly said they expected the streaming issues “to be less and less of a thing.” Except, a week later, they were still a thing for the Steelers and Browns. And they were a thing again in Week 4 for the Dolphins and Bengals.

Complicating things even further is that Prime Video has the exclusive on Thursday Night games, insofar as it comes to what you’d consider normal TV distribution. The only other option is to fire up NFL+, which starts at $5 a month.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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