Do you guys have somewhere that you post upcoming Vodafone TV improvements?
Though your service is good overall, there are a number of UX shortcomings. Some of these shortcomings (in my opinion) include:
1. There is no place to go to easily see which programmes you are currently watching. I notice this has been an enhancement Sky recently made to their NEON app which is useful...
2. Whenever I start watching a season of any given program, when I go back into it I always land on the last episode of the final season. I have to then manually navigate back to the episode I want. That is **bleep** annoying.
3. It is not easy to see which episodes have already been watched. Sometimes, if you go into an episode that was watched, it will show a red bar under the <Watch> button. However this is pretty hit and miss at best (sometimes the red bar doesn't show even if you have watched it. And if I watch an episode on the Vodafone TV box, it never ever shows that red bar if I log into the iPhone app later). There must be a better way that you can reliably show what has already been watched across all device platforms.
4. When an episode finishes it does not give the option to automatically start the next episode.
5. The platform should have an On Demand focus with linear TV a background option (right now it has a linear viewing focus). I don't know anybody who still prefers to watch linear TV. An image-rich On Demand focus, with smart recommendations based on viewing history would work wonders.
I hope you take this feedback in the positive spirit intended. You have a decent product overall with some wonderful content, but are let down by some of the user experience.
Some members of my family often byass looking for the really excellent content Sky TV offer because it is just easier for them to navigate around Netflix. So they turn on Vodafone TV just to access Netflix, even though the content on Netflix is generally inferior. It's all about the usability.
Thank you for the feedback, it is very much appreciated and shared across the VTV team. Many of your observations are shared by ourselves and other customers we have talked to. On your point 5 we're trying to remove/blur the distinction between on-demand and live content, but linear remains very important given the vast majority of viewing Globally and in NZ is still on linear live content (although we agree this won't last).
Regarding your question about upcoming improvements, we don't publish details until we're sure they will land successfully. The next update will bring a large number of improvements that we're currently testing and this is taking some time to complete before we can release. This also means we can't commit to a release timeframe until we're closer to finished with testing.
To give the Vodafone Community some visibility of some key new VTV features coming:
1. Visual Fast Forward/rewind. This IS coming.. and it looks great. We are developing this feature so that it can handle visual pause/rewind/fastforward immediately on live channels, and also to ensure a continuous rewind/fast forward across live programme boundaries (which will also help correct the issue that live programmes can be cut short if they run over their scheduled end time). While creating the visual thumbnails for pre-canned on-demand content (eg on Netflix) is relatively easy, it is the creation and handling of the REW/FF thumbnails for the live content channels that is far more challenging.
Thank you Hamish, your response was very helpful - and I hope testing goes exceedingly well so that we can get our hands on the improvements I know the VTF have worked very hard on.
Not to belabour the point on the whole On Demand vs Linear item, but...
I do think we need to be careful when we base current decisions on viewing experience based on existing viewership statistics.
The majority of kiwis will watch Freeview and/or Sky TV. Both of those platforms are still heavily biased towards linear (though I believe when Sky release their new Cisco Infinite Video platform, this may change for them...).
It is not surprising then that, today, most NZers watch linear. Since that is the main mode of legal content consumption made available to them, of course they will still consume their content that way. They have no choice.
Anecdotally, everyone I know just wants On Demand. I myself only view the linear channels so that I can record programs I like. I can then watch it 'On Demand' later (and fast forward the annoying ads!). I would much prefer if the programs I like were just available On Demand from the get go, rather than mucking around waiting for it to record when it airs at some time in the future.
Anyhow, I think we agree that On Demand is the future. If I was the Product Owner for VTV though, I would be bringing the timeline forward to make the transition (and I would take a huge amount of inspiration for ideas from Netflix in terms of how I presented the content).
Thanks again for your help Hamish! Your reponses are always timely and very thoughtful.