Consider the WWE Network officially launched! I was awake at 5AM this morning to prepare a live stream for you guys, taking a look inside the WWE Network for the very first time. Several hundred of you joined me, we had a pretty good time, and a lot of important questions got answered. Check out the video:
Here's my first thought on the WWE Network, before I dive into things further: it's everything I wanted it to be, and more.
Are there server issues on day one? Yes. That's to be expected. I was able to purchase the Network ahead of time, so getting in for me was much easier than some of you will likely experience in the next 24 hours. Think of it like the midnight launch of a blockbuster Hollywood film. There's going to be a long line, you'll want to purchase your tickets in advance, and the theater will be so busy things like popcorn, soda and killing time in the arcade become impossible. That's what the Network is like right now – the structure is there, you can watch the 24/7 live stream, but some of the functions aren't usuable at the moment because things are just so busy.
I wasn't able to sit down and watch through any shows completely, since I was talking to you lot the entire time, but from what I saw the streaming quality was consistent and broadcast at the promised 720p. I also really like the search function, which lets you bring up key moments in Superstars careers, not just look for random episodes. The fact that most things I watched had chapters was a major plus. Want to watch that Daniel Bryan match from Raw, but don't remember where exactly it was? No problem.
One major surpise is the 24/7 stream. There was new content being uploaded as I was viewing the Network. There will episodes of ECW Hardcore TV broadcast randomly throughout the week, and WCCW videos were already being uploaded. Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, NXT all have replays throughout the week, multiple times. Speaking of which, even though they didn't advertise this, recent episodes of all those shows are available. Every 2013 episode of Raw and Smackdown is on the Network already. More will come in the future.
Every PPV is there, as advertised. Owen Hart's death is skipped over, for obvious reasons, but they run a nice image "in memory of" his passing. It's a classy touch. I wasn't able to load up any Benoit videos, so I don't know what that "warning" looks like, but they did have the classic "TV 14" logo come up at the start of any old footage. There will be blood!
I haven't watched any of the new original shows, but the first few episodes are there, and they looked well-produced.
Several Australian readers have sent in word that they were able to access the WWE Network through paypal. I'm not sure of the specifics, or if the live stream is coded international, so the risk involved with that is completely up to you.
Before 6AM when the servers got hit hard, I was able to move around the Network freely and access videos with ease. The experience was a positive one, and I'm really happy I've invested my money in the product. There's a whole lot more to come in the very near future.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?