CBS Wakes Up, Smells the Streaming Video

11Oct08

Okay, so I’ve been meaning to write a scathing review of CBS.com’s streaming video player, which I would say is so mind-blowingly awful, I’m beginning to suspect they did it on purpose.

I’m serious! On Thursday at 8pm, I had the choice of watching Grey’s Anatomy, The Office or the season premiere of CSI live, right? Well, I know I can catch The Office the next day on Hulu or Fancast, & ABC just launched a brand new HD streaming video player so if I ever find a way to get those two hours of my life back that I spent live-blogging the Grey’s premiere, I can catch this week’s episode is glorious high-def whenever I want.

Meanwhile, I tried to watch the episode of Criminal Minds that I missed last week on CBS.com? Turns out, the so-called streaming video player is apparently programmed to freeze unless it passes the minor requirement of playing in the only open tab of the only open Internet browser window that is the only program running on the computer. And even then, it occasionally freezes just because it feels like it.

So, CBS manipulated me, despite my extremely strong objections to their evil scheme, into to watch CSI live, just because I kind of wanted to see what happened to Warrick. Because I will do anything to avoid watching an episode on CBS.com, whereas the rest of the networks, I know I can watch online easily. PS: Videos on CBS? Often not embeddable. Awesome!

All of this is why I was beyond thrilled to hear that CBS has reached an agreement to provide content to YouTube. Currently, that content apparently still sucks—let’s just say it includes MacGyver & the original 90210—but at least it feels like CBS is no longer completely ignoring what all of its competitors have already accepted.

TV, like every other form of media, is going online, whether CBS likes it or not. I remain undeterred by the fact that CBS is doing just fine, as far as Nielsen is concerned, in the young fall season (crime procedurals = guaranteed ratings, apparently). Whatever, CBS, it’ll catch up with you sooner or later. PS: Joost doesn’t count. But that’s an entire other post.

-Amy Yen

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8 Responses to “CBS Wakes Up, Smells the Streaming Video”

  1. I’m glad to see CBS joining the streaming media revolution! Even if its a if-you-can’t-beat-em-join-em mentality, their actions are telling. For a long time corporations were hell bent to keep their content under wraps, spending millions to try and secure it away from hackers and the like. Then it seemed as if suddenly the light bulb came on – we can share the content our audience wants, and profit from the advertising and promotions. No kidding!

    Now if only the music biz would come around. I’m giving them a year, tops.

    If you can’t beat em, join em.

    PS ~ Found you via blogher, am looking forward to checking back soon!
    PPS ~ What DID you think of the Grey’s season premiere? Is anyone else getting sick of the Meredith/Derek/Will they or won’t they drama? Arghh.

    Jess

  2. Hi Jess,
    I thought the Grey’s premiere was horrendous, as you can see if you read my live-blog. Made me pretty give up on the show. The second ep seemed better, but I was only watching during CSI’s commercial breaks. I agree, it seems things changed overnight for TV, I think everyone but CBS & in some ways, Fox, has realized it’s to their advantage to provide as much access as possible.

    Thanks for the comment! Hope you check us out.
    -Amy

  3. Hi, thanks for the shout-out to Fancast in your post. I won’t comment on your opinion of their web site and leave you to battle the Eye network yourself :) but as you may found, we have an amazing library of free TV shows (current hits and classics) and movies – and we can offer content from not only CBS and the Viacom cable nets, but ABC, NBC, Fox, The CW/WB, and even pay channels like Showtime, Starz and HBO. Your readers may want to check out the (literally) thousands of hours of programming, TV at
    http://www.fancast.com/full_episodes
    and movies at
    http://www.fancast.com/movies
    And in addition to the great programming, we also have fun exclusive content including celebrity interviews and blogs (right now we have ongoing blogs from Julianne Hough from “Dancing With The Stars” on ABC and the Goths from “The Amazing Race” on CBS) and they go up the day after each of those shows airs on the networks, so please check them out and leave comments and questions too – they love hearing from readers.
    We’re always looking for feedback (we recently introduced an embeddable video player after we tweaked the site following the initial feedback from our launch) so please don’t hesitate to let us know what we can do to make Fancast even better!
    Cheers,
    Jim (for Fancast)

  4. Hi Jim!
    I’m a huge Fancast supporter, obviously, & I appreciate your effort to get feedback from your audience. I didn’t mention it in the post due to space, but one of the features I most like about both Hulu & Fancast is its shareability.

    Thanks for your note.
    -Amy

  5. CBS online stream player sucks, it does not work smoothly at all. It is very annoying and frustrating to watch the video and listen the voice in a interrupting manner. Initially, I suspect that my 768K DSL network are not fast enough to watch TV online. Then, I changed to 100 M speed internet, guess what? The problem still remains. What a f**king this stream player.

  6. 6 JOHNDOEZER

    I’m a little late on the comments here, and maybe CBS has fixed this stuff since this post but I have NO problems with their player or any other thus far. I think a lot of people need faster computers for this new fad, you old one will not suffice. HD is HD after all. And of course you must have the fastest ISP you can get for this new tech as well. I do, I have very fast fiber-optic ISP and a quad-core processor with 8 gigs of RAM on a 64 bit OS (Vista) witn no problems. You have to pay to play….

    • 7 ThinksJohnWorksForCBS

      John
      I watch content from hulu with no interuptions [oh and their streamer has the concept of buffering.. cbs's is so lame that it doesn't do this]. The streaming application for CBS.com as of July 15, 2009 still sucks. CBS got lucky with having a show like NCIS or else I wouldnt be using their pathetic site.

  7. I watched the Full movie For! Free Online At. moviespace (.) us is superb.



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