4. good and bad.

I’ve spent a lot of time here bitching about the Big Ten Network, especially when it was getting set up and being stupid about the franchise fees it was seeking from cable companies. That’s mostly been resolved, although it’s worth noting that my old cable company — Armstrong, in Butler — still hasn’t given in.

I’ve also made fun of the early advertising on the network, which seemed to mostly consist of Ro*Tel queso dip ads, military recruitment spots and PSAs. That’s gotten a little better, although R0*Tel is still a staple.

But I’m here to tell you — I watch that damn network a bunch. In fact, I’m rushing to finish this up so I can watch the replay of last weekend’s Illinois game — and give it my full attention. The replays are outstanding, in part because BTN often cuts them down to an hour. You still see every play, but to spend 60 minutes instead of 120 when it’s a weeknight and you don’t have time to spare is especially helpful.

BTN’s weeknight shows are getting better too. They’re a little less cheesy than they used to be, and a few are approaching the informative level. Good stuff.

What’s not working? I was happy to see a day or two ago that BTN had an iPhone app. What’s more was the promise of audio from each team’s radio broadcasts, in-game video highlights and live video coverage of close finishes.

I was hoping that the free portion of the app would also include video and some other stuff that might distinguish it from the endless number of sports apps, like ESPN’s very good ScoreCenter. But when you try to anything but the basics? You see this:

Yeah, uh, no. If I can’t get a taste, I’m not spending the eight bucks to upgrade.

C’mon, Big Ten Network — I’m really trying to like you here. Think you could help me out?

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