Rogers Communications Inc., had its own Heidi mishap early Friday morning when many of its cable customers missed the winning goal in the triple overtime NHL playoff game between the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks.
The problem affected customers in the Eastern time zone who were watching the game on Rogers' network Sportsnet 360 and who use Rogers' NextBox personal video recorders. Shortly before Mike Fisher scored in the third overtime period to give Nashville a 4-3 win, the NextBox PVRs went into their regularly scheduled daily reboot at 2 a.m., which knocked the hockey game off the television screen. Judging by the reaction on social media, some customers' PVRs completed the reboot just in time to catch Fisher's goal and some did not.
It is not known how many customers were affected, but the web site AwfulAnnouncing.com, which was the first to report the story, said Rogers has 2.25 million customers in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. If audiences for the second round of the NHL playoffs stayed around the average of 500,000 estimated to have watched the first 20 games in the first round, then tens of thousands of customers could have missed the goal.
The incident was reminiscent of the famous Heidi Bowl, as it came to be known, an American Football League game on Nov. 17, 1968 between the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders. It was a close game between two of the now-defunct league's best teams in which the Raiders scored two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat the Jets in the final minute. But none of the television viewers saw the comeback because after the Jets took a 32-29 lead with a little more than a minute to play, NBC switched to its regularly scheduled showing of the children's movie Heidi, enraging a multitude of viewers.
Many people complained on social media about the disruption of the NHL game on the Sportsnet 360 broadcast. "How bad does a piece of software have to be that it requires an update & reboot every single day?" Twitter user Dan Mac posted. Other tweets wondered why Rogers could not simply schedule the daily reboot for 4 a.m.
The problem was just the latest headache for Rogers concerning the NextBox and its latest software, called Navigatr, which was introduced in the summer of 2015 and updated in February. The company has fielded many complaints from customers who say the software is not user-friendly and no longer has some of their favourite features.
A Rogers spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail message that the reboot is not supposed to disrupt live programming and the company is investigating the problem:
"Our software update process is designed to avoid interrupting live TV and PVR recording. Unfortunately that didn't happen in this case. We're reviewing why it didn't and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."