GregHowley.com

A Rant About Streaming Sites

Wednesday, December 6th 2017

Streaming video nowadays is everywhere. I do it every day. But damn if some of these sites don't annoy me.

Let's take Hulu. Yes, I still subscribe to Hulu. We nearly dropped them, but Marvel's Runaways is looking pretty good. My complaint is about the commercials. Those goddamned commercials! When you pay for a service, you expect it to be commercial-free. We pay for Hulu and still have to deal with commercials. It's probably worse for me, since I cut the cord a decade ago, but I'm considering dropping Hulu despite Runaways.

Next up, Netflix. Our primary Netflix streaming device is the Playstation 3. The thing is old and once it heats up, its fan sounds like a jet taking off, but it's what we use. The thing that drives me crazy is that when you highlight a show, it starts playing before you click anything. This means that you can't stop and have a conversation with someone in the room or go to the bathroom, because the show is playing and you can't stop or pause it. Most of the searching I do on the subject brings up articles about how to turn off the “feature” that auto-plays the next episode, but that's not what's bothering me. This article from 2015 and this Reddit article are the only discussions I can find on the topic, and it doesn't look like there's any solution.

Lastly, the one that prompted me to write this article. YouTube. And no, I'm not going to complain about the horrible violent cartoons targeted at small children, although that's certainly a concern to me. I'm writing about a different phenomenon I noticed. YouTube's advertisements must come from a different server than the actual videos. Because while I've never had any issue with the delivery of YouTube videos, there's a problem with the latency on their ads. This morning was a prime example: While shaving, I tried to watch a late night talk show clip, and there was a 15-second ad. It played 2 or 3 seconds then started loading. And loading. It was frozen for maybe 90 seconds before I picked another video, which happened to not have an ad. This one played fine.

It can be incredibly hard to make it through ads on YouTube to reach the actual videos. At certain times, any videos with ads are actually literally unwatchable, as was the case this morning.

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