ITV Hub England semi-final failure makes me so grateful to BBC and iPlayer


Horrible streams, a broken app and no HD (not to mention 4K!). ITV Hub must improve its game or cede the rights to a broadcaster worthy of major sporting occasions, argues Chris Smith. Thank goodness the final is on BBC!

It’s a familiar feeling for ITV, to have to apologize for its pitiful ITV Hub online reader. On Wednesday evening, the service partially collapsed under increased demand from a country wishing to watch the Euro 2020 semi-final England-Denmark.

Viewers watching the Apple TV, Fire Stick, Panasonic and Samsung Smart TV apps (among many others) reported missing up to 14 minutes of the second half on Wednesday night. Others have said they are being forced to constantly restart the app or deal with relentless buffering and shoddy streams as England finally make their way to the Euro 2020 final.

The commercial broadcaster offered an embarrassing apology during the game.

Twitter users posted images of laptops plugged into TVs as a workaround. Others said they could only stream the game in a small window in the app interface, others complained that the deluge of ads that the company is showing through the service is being delivered perfectly, but football itself? Not really.

When the stream was interrupted, some users said they had to start the rigmarole of watching the pre-roll ads again. What a horrible experience on a night when the nerves were already shaking!

Recognizing only the problems with Apple TV, the company said, “Unfortunately, we are having problems with Apple TV. Please wait while we resolve this issue. Our apologies for any inconvenience. ”

The inconvenience makes it seem like it was a repeat of Coronation Street. It was the most important football game this country has attempted to attend in 25 years. The downsides don’t really cover it, guys.

You would have thought ITV could have thrown some extra resources into its online streaming platform to make sure you could handle anyone beyond the TWENTY-FIVE MILLION people watching through traditional analog TV sources. . But no, we ended up with the same old complaints about ITV Hub falling under the pressure again. God forbid, the broadcaster fixes this before the tournament and the new Love Island series begins.

All of this will make online viewers even happier that the finale is on BBC One and the iPlayer this Sunday evening. And not just because of the embarrassing cheerleading festival from professional ITV commentators on Wednesday night, who gleefully gave up all credibility, but I digress.

Not to tempt fate, but iPlayer viewers cannot expect such a snafu from the BBC in the final against Italy on Sunday night. Some of them will even be able to watch the game in 4K HDR, thanks to Beeb’s continued and admirable investment in emerging technologies throughout its history. This is despite continued budget cuts and government pressure and no ad-after-ad revenue.

4K on ITV? The ITV hub is struggling to come close to HD streaming at the best of times, which should be a bare minimum at this point, whether it’s a free or paid service.

However, if you are entrusted with the biggest sporting event the country has seen in a generation, you have an obligation to provide a solid and reliable viewing experience on whatever platforms you offer. At the bare minimum. Otherwise, don’t offer it and tell people to go to the nearest place with a TV antenna they can find.

On TrustPilot, the ITV hub has. 1.1 note. The more than 2,000 service complaints date back to the start of the tournament and beyond and they are incredibly varied. “The stream would go back every two minutes”, “the stream dropped and repeated pre-roll announcements”, “low bit rate sequences for when the stream was actually running”. Some have said that the ads are shown in UHD, while the football itself reaches around 360p. Of course, some of this information is anecdotal, but the sheer number of complaints speaks volumes about the suitability of ITV Hub.

It is absolutely unacceptable that a streaming service performs so poorly during such an important event. If ITV can’t sort this out in time for the World Cup next summer, the entire tournament is expected to be broadcast on the BBC.

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