I love the new Apple TV: the experience, overall, is awesome. But still, a nice interface and a new (somewhat annoying, admittedly) remote, Siri voice commands and all of the other interesting features are pretty pointless without great content.
So, apps. At various times I am a subscriber to Netflix and Hulu — though both apps leave me with a, “Why am I subscribing to this, again?” feeling more often than a, “This is totally worth it feeling.”
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I’ll rent movies and buy an occasional TV episode on iTunes too. Then there are the news apps like Haystack and Newsy which I watch surprisingly often.
And then there’s the CBS app. I downloaded it when I got the new Apple TV because I thought I’d try it out sometime. There were several shows that I had liked to watch in the past or that looked interesting or that were going to be coming out soon.
Well this week I finally got around to trying the CBS apps free trial and I’m 70% disappointed and 30% delighted. The 30% comes merely from interesting shows. The 70% comes from several small and medium annoyances that, when added together, make the app just about unusable. Overall, the experience is user-hostile.
First, there ads within shows. Lots of them. It’s basically like watching old school over-the-air CBS, just on-demand. If I am paying for a subscription, it is unacceptable to show me ads; and it is downright angering that I am shown so many ads.
So what am I paying for? The “privilege” of being able to stream whenever I want to? Trust me, I can live without the CBS lineup in my life — I barely have time to watch TV in the first place because my life is so busy. I’m sure not going to fill my valuable down time with ads.
As if that weren’t enough, the ads are atrociously loud. Far louder than the TV shows you watch. Again, it’s angering and ridiculous.
And the interface is horrible. Sling TV was horrible on every device until it came to the Apple TV. Thankfully Apple worked with Sling to get it right when it debuted on the platform. Not so much with CBS.
The biggest problem? There’s no viewing history. If you watch a show (or shows) they don’t show up on a home screen anywhere so you can easily find the next episode and continue where you left off. You have to browse through shows to find what you’re looking for every time (all over again).
And there are glitches. I was watching a show yesterday (well, trying to watch a show yesterday) and it would randomly skip ahead several minutes. Not once. But in two separate places. I tried rewinding to see what I missed but it kept skipping ahead. To fix it I had to close the app using Apples multitasking menu and relaunch.
Add to this the fact that not all CBS programs are even available and you have a pretty good picture of why this app sucks.
It’s so bad that I was compelled to write this article about it.
It’s a shame that CBS owns the rights to Star Trek and has Kevin James on lockdown.