Let me preface this that I was tired of calling in all these issues so I switch to twitter support. After a few months of it they suggested I post here because the Product Manager for Rogers Anyplace TV does monitor these forums and will likely see it. The sad part of this post is that I am willing to bet the product manager on Rogers Anyplace TV will think its mean. This is just the state of the current design of this service and why it will never survive.
The two biggest problems Rogers Anyplace TV has right now is content delivery errors and login session timers. Ill start with these because its amazing any product is in production with these kind of issues.
Login Sessions: As it stands right now Rogers Anyplace TV regularly makes you log back into the site after a period of time. This is fine if it would let you know this is the case. Instead you can spend 20-30 minutes looking through movies and even try to play a movie without any clue your session has expired. Most services (99% of the internet) check your session on every page load allowing you to log back in asap. This is also a problem since Rogers Anyplace TV does not track what page you were on before you had to log back in so you end up at the /live/ page again. Worse then that is when you play a movie and your session times out mid way through... or like 30 minutes from the end. What happens in that case you end up with the video stopping and an error code asking you to refresh your browser. You do so and have to log back in again. Since you were logged out while watching the movie Rogers Anyplace TV does not reliably capture the location in the movie you were at and forces you to restart. This wouldnt be a major of an issue except the Product Manager in charge of Rogers Anyplace TV decided it was more important to remove the fast forward feature so people wont skip ads (which dont even play most of the time) so you are stuck watching the first hour plus again... or switch to netflix a functional service. The thing that really gets me is that Rogers Anyplace TV already gets the run time of the video the description so it would seem like common sense to extend the login session by at minimum the same amount.
Content Delivery: This is one of the major activity Rogers has done since the company was founded. You would thing out of everything no matter what this would work smoothly. The problem here is that Rogers fails to specify the right segment to load or their dns fails a lookup and the segment times out. If neither of those happens you get a 504... Watching live from the website is impossible because the segments are served so slowly. Even on a Rogers owned channel the best speed Rogers can serve the video is 17.3 kb in ~2.5 seconds...
Some basic UI issues;
New badges stays up even after you watch it making it irrelevant and broken. Probably difficult to fix without addressing the sessions issues and ensuring data is being recorded.
Lack of scaling and poor choice in button sizes. To select a movie instead of clicking anywhere on the film or television show thumbnail the Product Manager decided it would be best to click a small icon in the middle of the image which completely disappears at 4k.
Looking at new content on Rogers Anyplace TV is the worst. If you see a movie or tv show that you know nothing about then you have to click onto the detailed description page which doesnt have very relevant information. Then if you wish to return to your spot in the list of content you were scrolling through you have to click the back button. Because Rogers Anyplace TV does not track how many times you've scrolled down loading additional videos you are at the top of the list again and forced to scroll past all the content you've already passed up. Anyone that uses online streaming services understands these basic quality of life features that are required at launch. Speaking of that you have to load an entirely new page just to view the description is poor design in the modern websockets era where entire page reloads are only done by those who arent keeping up with the technology. This also generates an issue with the size of the page in general. All the bouncing around from content while trying to find something to watch continuously adds div tags instead of over writing them . Again scaling is a problem here where at 1080p you can see 3 rows of titles on your browser page at 4k this increase to 5 (obviously making each thumbnail, text, button smaller).
The video player itself has been a standard established by youtube since 2005. The Product Manager decide to go a different path then the standard Roger's customers are used to for over 10 years and make a player less functional then any other. Above I mentioned the priority of forced ad delivery taking priority over viewing experience (more important that you watch the ad then making the platform easy to use or user friendly). This happens again with the most basic of features play/pause. Historically the standard has always been you can click anywhere on the div (the player) to play/pause your video and not have to quickly move your mouse to the small button in the corner (which is microscopic on 4K). This is an established practice with no logical reason to deviate. Forcing the customer to click the button does not add to the viewing experience in any way. It does not make the process of pausing the content faster or easier. It only result in the customer having to rewind because they could not pause the video fast enough when they were interrupted by a phone call or something similar. Also the lesser known but still common for over 10 years is the use of the spacebar to play or pause the video. Again this is something that anyone designing a service like this would know if they actually watched videos online.
Honestly writing all this out just makes me wonder why bother... sooner or later the CRTC will let other companies in and I wont have to do this kind of thing anymore. What is really disappointing is that this is the second iteration of Rogers Anyplace TV. Looking past the issues of the first version like the only sign in point in Rogers system that did not use TLS, the most basic features are still done poorly. How much money was spent to design this service twice? If it was done poorly once, ok its a learning experience, twice, its a systemic problem with the top of the design team. I mean Rogers knows how much of the cable bandwidth is taken up by traditional digital channels compared to a streaming service, yet the dont seem to be taking the future of their company very seriously.
Rogers Anyplace TV is slow, annoying to use
There's no keyboard shortcuts — spacebar should pause/play. Arrows should skip ahead.
Many shows are missing or don't work.
Shows randomly just stop playing in the middle and you either wait for ages for them to come back or you have to reload.
You often have to rewatch shows from the beginning, even when they don't have commercials — eg HBO content or TMN movies etc. It's really annoying if you were halfway through a show or movie and you can't skip to that part.
The quality of the videos is REALLY BAD. Grainy images on high-res screens makes a lot of your content UNWATCHABLE.
Logs you out all the time