Why are streaming apps so dodgy?

Why are commercial streaming apps so dodgy?

In the past few weeks I’ve seen two that I use develop major issues with Chromecast (I think it’s a 1st generation model) from iPad (iPadOS 15.7), which I’d have thought is a very common use case.

Britbox, at the moment, flat out doesn’t work for me. You try to start the stream apart from a big logo, nothing happens. And I’m not the only one:

Disney Plus works, but has more subtle problems.

  • Audio cuts in and out during the credits at the start and end of the program
  • The subtitles turn themselves on every single time I start watching something – they have to be repeatedly turned off.
  • Rating and content information only appears at the end of the program
  • The ”buffering” spinner keeps appearing during the stream, perhaps for half-a-second or so every few minutes – even though the internet connection is strong and fast. Thankfully the audio and video doesn’t drop out.

I’ve also tried on a newer Chromecast. Some of these problems don’t occur on a third generation model, but on the older unit, even switching Disney Plus to the low bandwidth option doesn’t help.

Playing streaming video is meant to be the core business of these companies.

All the others I’ve used recently (apps from all the Australian TV networks – ABC, SBS, 7, 9, 10, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV Plus*) are okay – how is it Britbox and Disney Plus are so bad?

And why did they work a few months ago, but now they’re broken?

*Apple TV Plus doesn’t work with Chromecast – I use it with an old Lightning to HDMI adapter that I’ve got.

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2 thoughts on “Why are streaming apps so dodgy?

  1. Philip

    They also have deliberate, built-in dodginess. The Disney+ (all content) and AppleTV (TV+ content) apps on my TV disable the picture controls of the set, forcing high contrast and brightness. They call it ‘Dolby Vision’, but it looks like a way to set their content to super-bright by default so that (in their opinion) it looks better.

  2. daniel Post author

    @Philip, ugh – that’s one more reason not to use built in TV apps… though they are very convenient.

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