Tonight my wife and I wanted to catch up with Misfits on 4OD. The result can only be described as being shafted by bad business choices, bad design and bad code.
We started off trying to watch it on the tv via AirPlay to the apple tv, from the iPad. That one sentence tells you that apple are certain to raid the tv market. Remove two components from that list.
Anyway it was fail. Every three minutes or so the 4OD app stopped streaming to apple tv. BBC iPlayer in Safari streams fine so it’s either the 4od app not liking AirPlay or a new iOS 5 bug as we did this fine before 5.0.1
We resorted to watching on the MacBook pro as we had done in the past fine.
Harbinger of what was to follow – channel 4 site demanded I upgrade Flash first. Fine
We start watching. Subjected to 3 mandatory viewing ads at the start all is well for a while.
Another ad break, another 3 ads. Some repeated from before. Watch some more.
Oh noes! Pop up message saying there’s an error and the content can’t be played. Video stops. Hmm. Press play again. Starts from beginning.
Watch first three ads I enjoyed so much again. Unmissable, really.
Fast forward to next mandatory ad section to try to get to where we were.
Watch 3 more ads a second time. Its awesome.
Watch some more misfits at last.
Oh noes! Error message again. Video carries on though. Message goes away by itself after many seconds. Hooray! Watch some more.
Error message again! Video stops. Press play again. Yay! Carries on from 2 ad breaks back, but not from the start. We’re blessed! Skip to ad break before last error point. Bonus! Only see 1 repeat ad!
Oh noes! The missing 2 ads are undead and playing in the background somehow – audio is mixed with programme audio. Press space to try to pause to work out what is going on. Pressing space doesn’t pause. It opens a new browser window with an advert for Assassins Creed – one of the ads we were not currently viewing. Soon discover clicking anywhere on the player window launches last ad’s website. Just what I wanted. Especially 5 minutes after avidly watching an ad.
I have no other browser tabs or windows open with the video streams of the ads. Player has simply gone mad. We wait for ads we cannot see but can hear to finish.
Unpause the player, full screen it again, watch more misfits.
Oh noes! Another error message. Video carries on, message obscuring screen for minutes.
Bonus! Audio from ads we cannot see becomes mixed in again! Now I have mastered this streaming tv technology I know to pause the video, mute the audio, wait a few minutes, unmute, resume video. Perfect!
We carry on watching, we’re 38 minutes into a 45 minute programme – but its taken over an hour to get this far. The magic of tv is somewhat eroded. Only in part due to more ads than content.
Oh noes! A few minutes before the end another error message, video stops. Press play… back at the beginning! YES! I had forgotten those original ads at the start that were repeated throughout, and wanted to catch up on those again. Thank you Channel 4.
The final insult, though perhaps merciful: the laptop battery runs out and it all shuts down.
I pick up the iPad, open 4od app, press play on Misfits. Have to watch one short ad, then can instantly jump to the last few minutes and watch it flawlessly while holding the iPad aloft.
This experience speaks volumes about the state of current computing, tv, media, advertising and software development.
If it weren’t for the iOS AirPlay bug none of this would have happened.
Fear the Apple TV chaps.
Oh, and there must be a separate team doing 4OD for iPad, cos the experience is infinitely better than the web one. Far fewer ads. Rapid seeking. No upgrades. No Flash. Great content. Anywhere.
That’s all you need – happy consumers.
And believe it or not that’s what advertisers need.
I’ve been good so far. Here the NSFW summary: OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE WHAT ON EARTH DO THOSE WANKERS THINK THEY ARE DOING?