by Jason Snell
User interface is a casualty of the Streaming Wars
Rolling Stone TV Critic Alan Sepinwall rightfully calls out the terrible interfaces of most streaming services:
The part of the streaming shell game that I’ve never been able to fully understand — and that has somehow gotten worse with each passing year and each new service debut — is just how bad the user experience is on all of them. It’s been 13 years since Netflix began offering streaming content, with Hulu and others soon to follow, yet the user interfaces consistently seem designed to make finding what you want to see — whether continuing a binge or discovering something new — a Herculean effort. Spend enough time toggling between the services, and you’ll want to quote Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel trying to make sense of the historically inept 1962 Mets: Can’t anybody here play this game?
Sepinwall has plenty of examples, including Netflix’s obsession with forcing you to scroll through stuff you don’t care about in order to find the stuff you want to watch. I described the myriad ways Peacock’s app doesn’t make sense this week on Upgrade.
And Sepinwall doesn’t even get into the playback interfaces themselves, which on the Apple TV are maddeningly inconsistent and fail to honor the (very nice) interface conventions of the platform.