It’s funny how sometimes you can easily forgive and then other times you can’t for what is really the same fault.
I downloaded the iPad BBC iPlayer app 2 months ago and while the interface is slick enough with it’s big touch friendly images of the shows and the quality of streaming is very good, in all honesty I wasn’t blown away. It gave me nothing that the iPlayer app on my laptop or even on my Nintento Wii didn’t already provide.
Ok, the app is free and the level of content is impressive. But as I’m a UK TV licence payer I would have been more than a little annoyed if those two boxes hadn’t been ticked.
The EPG style channels listing which fades in smoothly and scrolls effortlessly across the screen is a beautiful thing, but still I had a problem with this app. The ability to save favorites and even have shows recommended for my style of viewing didn’t stop me thinking why oh why have the BBC overlooked just a few features that would have made this app fantastic. A real gem. A contender for the best iPad app available.
Why had the BBC, or at least the agency commissioned to develop their app not realised that by including airplay would have made this app stand out from the crowd in terms of media streaming apps.
Why also had they not incorporated something that I have been expecting from the iPlayer on other platforms for a long time; social media sharing functionality. It didn’t have to be Facebook, it just needed the ability to set up a profile and allow sharing of your favorite shows. Two very popular discussion topics on Facebook is tv shows and films, so it doesn’t take a genius to realise that this would have been a popular feature within an iPlayer app.
The BBC could have also used the dicussion topics around their broadcasts to encourage futher interactivity. Something that in this digital age is becoming more and more important.
The annoyance at the airplay omission was more down to the fact I own an Apple TV, so I can understand if not everyone shares this view. But the social aspect, who wouldn’t see that this would make an average media player into an outstanding one?
2 weeks ago, I downloaded another media player app. Crackle.
This app is by Sony and provides streaming of some of their back catalogue of films as well as a select number of TV shows. The interface is nice while not being quite as slick as the iPlayer app. It’s also a free app that streams it’s media effortlessly giving a high quality output. Rather than being able to add to a favorites list you can Queue items up, or if you’re watching something that’s also available in itunes, touch a simple button to whisk you over to itunes for info and reviews on the show.
The content is again impressive with trailors for new films as well as many full length films and complete TV series. I think it’s worth it for just being able to watch Dilbert!
I thought Crackle was fantastic. I was so impressed that within 30mins of downloading the app and viewing an episode of Dilbert, I had shared my new discovery (through a “share this” button within the app!) on facebook.
Although I have been quite gushing in the praise for Crackle, what you will see I haven’t mentioned is the airplay functionality and the ability to set up your Crackle profile for it’s built in social media platform. That’s because neither exist. Again these two aspects were neglected from the app. I just don’t know why this time I was so easily able to forgive this oversight and praise the app?
Like I said at the outset. Sometimes you easily forgive and sometimes not, even for the same faults.