It's 2018 and useless video players still exist...

in #news3 years ago

Remember back in the mid 2000s, when YouTube and Vimeo still weren't mainstream? Every website of significance had their own video player or used some random third-party player which no-one remembers the name of. As YouTube and Vimeo evolved to become great online video players, I remember always being a bit disappointed when I stumbled upon some no-name online media player. These were often synonymous with terrible quality and terrible usability.


Luckily, those times are (mostly) long gone. People stick to well functioning services, and large companies like Netflix who have their own streaming software know how to do it right. This is why I was so surprised when I recently signed up for one free month of HBO. The HBO media player is a living example that bad video players are still around, and here is why:

Bad navigatability (is this even a word?).

You know when you're watching a show and you missed that one important line, so you try to navigate five seconds backwards, and even if you press the timeline exactly where you want to land, the video starts thirty seconds or so earlier than intended because there are some predefined navigation points? Well, the HBO player is like that and it's annoying. Very annoying.

If you pause for too long, the player forgets your exact time.

This issue is similar to the one above, since it resumes playing from some predefined point which is just somewhere close to where you paused. I could probably accept that the video started a bit earlier if I was to continue watching an episode I had started a few days ago, but when I pause only to make a cup of coffee, then the expecting part of my brain (and my soul) expects the video to resume from where I paused it.

When watching from different devices, your seasonal progress is often forgotten.

I started watching Westworld on my laptop, but somewhere around episode 6, I started watching from my other laptop (because the video was so laggy on the first laptop because the player seems unable to automatically lower video quality if it experiences buffer delay). Anyways, when I logged into my HBO account from my other laptop, HBO had forgotten that I had reached episode 6. Annoying, very annoying. The funny thing, though was that when i manually selected episode 6, the player remembered (roughly, of course) how far I had come in that specific episode.

Sometimes, the player travels back in time, or assumes that I have traveled back in time.

The day after I had finished episode 8 and started on episode 9, HBO suddenly expected me to want to watch episode 7 again. Annoying, very annoying.

It lags, so very much

Try writing "hbo player" into the search field.
HBO player lagging.jpg
See what I mean?
Now I will admit, HBO is only laggy on my least powerful computer, but on this same computer, Netflix doesn't struggle. Vimeo doesn't struggle, YouTube doesn't struggle. But HBO struggles. And it's not just laggy in a stuttering way. I takes a while before the play button reacts. It takes forever (yes, sometimes it never finishes) to load a video. Annoying. Very annoying.

So that's it. While I'm hesitant to use the lagging argument since it works fine on my most powerful computer, the HBO player has some serious usability issues which I would have expected from a no-name media player in 2007. But in 2018?

What are your thoughts on the HBO video player? Has it made you lose your fate in the progress of technology, or has it served you well?

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