So I was watching WestWorld (HBO) after having seen a review of it and realizing that it wasn’t the old Movie I was seeing come around on the HBO menu, but an HBO Series. The two episodes I watched were interesting enough to lead me to think it might be worth it, but I was about 4 episodes in and didn’t have a clue of the various ‘back stories’ they were weaving and a bit behind on the character development. OK, no problem.
I’d used DirecTV on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet before. It was a bit painful (they run you through way too many images and choices to get to the one thing you want) but generally worked. When “on the road” I’d kept up with Dexter that way. But the Tablet had taken a ‘reset’ since then, so I needed to ‘reinstall’ their “Ap”… OK… so I’ll be 10 or 20 minutes late getting started…
Nope, first I need a Google Login to get the Ap Store to get the Ap to get the show… So about 1/2 hour late… except all those repeated 10 steps to get to the ‘install ap’ choice, and then it didn’t work on Opera, or Pale Moon, or… eventually on FirePhoenix (a FireFox clone) it was OK with the install and I got to DirecTV Ap page in the Ap Store and… “This Ap is incompatible with your release”.. or some such… Welcome To Dependency Hell!.
Sidebar on Google Captchas: On the “set up yet another account you won’t remember page”, Google uses the Capchas from Hell setting. It gave me something like a half dozen in a row. They were not any words I could make out, and the letters were things like a U with the second leg crossed. Is that U, or UT, or T or … Eventually I guess I got one right and it set up… well, some new account that I hope I wrote down somewhere… Something like “DirecTVsucksAndIJustWantTheAp”…
Now I’d kinda sorta thought I’d like to watch this while laying on the couch in the living room, with the spouse doing something else in her lounge chair; that whole ‘sharing time sort of’ thing. But, OK, I’m not going to get sucked into upgrading the tablet, backing up files first, hoping it doesn’t break too many other things that then need to be re-installed, etc. etc. It would be noon tomorrow before I was done..
So I decide to just “hit the Chromebox” that does Video Just Fine for everything else. Youtube. HTML5. Flash. You name it. Besides, Chromebooks are now outselling everything else into schools here. It’s essentially a main stream product now and with lots of focus on assuring video is functioning well. Mine has an Intel CPU too, so no worries about ARM chip and op code issues. I sit down and… back to login to Google / Chrome / DirecTV / Oh God Just … and then to the “need DirecTV Player” as they have their very own player… and it gives the URL from Hell that just hangs… Here it is:
Someone is just trying way too hard to be cute and complicated… OK, I hit the web search and find the link to how to just install their player directly:
What is the DIRECTV Player and how do I install it on my computer?
The DIRECTV Player is FREE software required for watching movies and shows on directv.com on your computer. Installation is quick and easy. If you’ve downloaded and installed other software from the Internet, the process for the DIRECTV Player is essentially no different. Once you’ve installed the software, you can start enjoying thousands of movies and shows online, anytime, anywhere.
Here’s a step-by-step for installing the DIRECTV Player for PC or Mac.
What type of computer do you have?
Notice anything missing?
No Linux, so my half dozen or dozen Linux / BSD machines need not apply.
No Android, so my Tablet need not apply (tied to Ap store and the non-compatible releases)
No Chromebox or Chromebooks, so those tens or hundreds of millions of folks need not apply…
No, I’m not going to dig the old HP Laptop Windows 7 out of the “old computers” bin and get into Upgrade Hell with it, too. Just to catch a couple of old episodes of a series I’m not sure I really want to watch long term.
No, far far far easier to just “move along” and forget about trying to use DirecTV / AT&T TV on my 3 main computers. It just ensures that when the present lock-in period is over (or perhaps before and take the penalty – given my present rate of ‘moving off it’ and progress on cord cutting…) I’m not going to renew the “service”.
I clicked the “contact us” page, and got a bunch of phone numbers and snailmail addresses, and a ‘chat’ choice. No “bitch here and be done” email choice…
So, silly me, I clicked it.
I then proceeded to launch / watch RT Russia Today news and a bit of France24 news via the internet. They work fine… DirecTV not so much… Eventually the ‘in queue’ number works down from 16+ to 1 to Me! The conversation follows:
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:Hi, my name is Ashley W. (STK0775). How are you today?
I commence to type. I type really fast. About 50+ WPM on this kind of stuff, sometimes faster. Inside seconds I get:
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:If I don’t receive a response within 2 minutes I will go ahead and end this chat. If the chat is disconnected, you may contact us back or please feel free to visit us online at http://www.directv.com/troubleshooting.
I finish the last sentence and hit send on:
EM:I’d be happier if DirecTV actually worked on either my tablet or my Chromebox. It fails to install on both, despite having worked on the tablet a year or two ago. No, I’m not going to upgrade my OS nor get into Browser Wars just to watch a couple of back episodes of WestWorld. It’s easier to just “move on” to all the internet TV that runs Flash or HTML5 and isn’t too cheap or lazy to make their product work cross platform and multi-browser.
Then read the ‘expedite’ line and send:
EM:Saying you’ll “dump my ass” if I don’t type fast enough doesn’t improve the customer experience, either…
EM:BTW, I’m a programmer for a living, have done help desk support, and know just what’s wrong with the support and app design. It’s dumb management choices. Not everyone is on a PC or Mac and Chromebooks outsell Macs and PCs in the classroom now.
More time passes…
EM:Anyone there? BTW, I have a blog and I’ll be posting my experience. Just FYI.
More time passes…
A conversation eventually starts:
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:Can you tell me the exact error message on the screen please.
EM:No, I’m not going to get into a Q&A over something that is never going to work. On the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, that worked but got reset so needed a reinstall, it complains about being incompatible with the release level. On the Chromebox, I get sent off to nowhere (some ‘metrics’ url that hangs) and going to your web site just gives choices to install on PC or Mac. Dumb, that.
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:I will escalate your concerns up.
EM:Thanks, but I’m busy watching TV elsewhere… RT Russia Today news has 700 million viewers at the moment and works on ALL my systems and browsers. I think they are HTML5. France24 news also works everywhere. After I’m done with that, I’ll likely watch yet other non-AT&T product / Non-DirecTV product. BTW, I’m headed to being a ‘cord cutter’ in about a year, given this. I’ve found plenty else. So just escalate and fix it, or count your losses.
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:Do you have any other questions or concerns did you have for me today?
EM:I’m Outta Here… and have written off DirecTV via Internet. IFF you fix it, within the year, I might change, but as of now, other things work and your product doesn’t. Just make sure someone who can deal with it hears that.
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:I will escalate your concern up.
Ashley W. (STK0775) DIRECTV:Thank you, EM! I’m glad we got that taken care of for you. Again, my name is Ashley and I want to thank you for being a DIRECTV customer and chatting with me today so I could help! I’ll note your account and send a copy of this conversation to your email for you. When you are ready, you can end the chat by CLICKING “End Chat”. Or if you’re using a mobile device, simply use the “x” on the left hand side. If you do have additional questions or concerns you man contact us back or please feel free t visit us online at http://www.directv.com/troubleshooting. Have a Marvelous day, and thanks for choosing DIRECTV/AT&T. :-)
So the usual essentially useless ‘help desk’ that isn’t help and just consumes time to tell you, eventually, that doesn’t work. Since I knew already ‘that does not work’ and was NOT going into Upgrade Hell on the Tablet, all I really wanted was to let them know the consequences of their poor ability to support standards based video.
Who knows if it goes anywhere beyond a check box of ‘customer given help and call closed without a trouble ticket’…
There’s a reason for Standards and Backwards Compatibility. The reason is to avoid Dependency Hell and Upgrade Hell and have happy customers who are not forced into upgrade cycles at prime time TV hours… They won’t go there, and I didn’t. There’s way too much of the ‘competition’ that works Just Fine. Heck, I’ve still not worked through most of my ‘starter list’ of stations and aggregators: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/tv/
I’d been planning to cancel the HBO option on DirecTV prior to the ‘forced upgrade’ from my DSL dying, and now that it’s got a “lock in” 2 year clause (NOT disclosed in the “support call” for the broken DSL…) I’m sort of stuck for the next year, but I’m NOT going to be renewing. No reason. Less as of today…
Oh Well, as they say…
Sidebar on Westworld: The basic plot, near as I can tell it, is a Jurassic Park / Westworld-the-movie mash up. Even has the Grey Hair Scientist who makes it work and doesn’t realize the fail coming as it turns on the ‘guests’ in the ‘park’… The Westworld part is an “old west” stereotype ‘park’ where guests can run wild shooting up robots and doing all sorts of things illegal in the real world with real people (plot line from some other robot movie I saw recently… where those robots also gain sentience… ) With the same ripped off plot of ‘wiping the memory’ at the end of each day so the robots (called “hosts” for some ill described reason) don’t remember the horrors done to them the prior day.
Needless to say, some of the robots start to have fragmented memories of the violence and sexual assaults, and start to have human like concerns… Same plot as that other move, different setting… old west park instead of super-casino-skyscraper… (That movie, who’s title escapes me, ripping off the Robot to Human plot from a half dozen before it, including Millennium Man and others… exploring the boundary between machine intelligence and human is old hat these days… building it is still a bit interesting, though.)
Neither the setting nor the plot will save this show. Both ripped off re-dos. It’s only the particulars of the character development and acting that can make it ‘hot’. I found it “good enough to watch, maybe”, but to get that character angle it really wants you to brush up on the prior episodes… Soaps are like that… With that now out of the question, I’m not seeing the draw anymore…
It does have some “light nudity” in that the robots, er, hosts, are seen in the maintenance shop sitting on stools naked. Artfully positioned cameras making sure it doesn’t violate whatever passes for standards. Oh, and they have a fly fetish. Fly Wrangler on staff, so you occasionally get flies on dead and dying in the Out West shots, and a fly or two crawling over the nudish ones in maintenance. If flies bother you, you are warned.
The staff doing field maintenance use some interesting video effects to imply interesting tech, like a tablet with a 3-d display above it (IF I saw that right). There’s also lots of special effects showing heads on tables with moving eyes while the legs are metal frameworks ending about the knees … shades of about 1950 ‘guy under the table with head up a hole’ special effects… but doubtless done digitally today. Special effects are nice, but they lose their punch after a few days…
Will I miss it? Probably not. We’ll see. It’s not on my “catch up and then watch regularly to see if I get into it” list anymore. Now it’s just “maybe if I’m not busy with other stuff or other channels”… Which, given that it’s on the TV now, and spouse has gone to bed, and I’m not watching it… well, I think that shows how “compelling” I feel it is at the moment.
Besides, Netflix has a few dozen things that I found interesting, but haven’t spent time to watch yet. Oh, and Netflix works on my Tablet and on the Chromebox and didn’t require me to go through Ap Hell nor Update Hell nor Dependency Hell nor… It just worked. Their programmers seem to understand standards based programming…
Well, I’m headed back to the TV tab on the Chrombox, as the news I’ve been listening to as I type, sounds like the video part is interesting… Later.