Watch List - the good, the bad, and the ugly

RoyRoy Posts: 15,208Member ✭✭✭
edited 23 April 2019, 10:06AM in Feedback
We used Watch List, for real, for the first time today.

I broke All4 on our TV (my fault) and I haven’t fixed it yet, so we’ve been using the YouView box, but just going into the All4 app and blundering about like it was the app on the TV, until we found what we wanted.

However, seeing Watch List, and noticing that Norskov, which we have been watching on All4, was present there without us ever adding it, we thought we would go that route.

(How did it know we were watching Norskov, by the way? Because we had been using All4 on the YouView box? Or would it have known via All4 even if we had only previously watched it on the TV set’s All4?)

EDIT: Probably the former. I watched a bit of ‘Bad Banks’, which we had not touched on the YouView box or the TV it is plugged into, on another TV in the house. This did not make it appear in the YouView box Watch List, though the YouView box All4 Player did know about it. Watching a bit more on the Player on this box, though, did make it appear in Watch List.

The good news is that if the YouView Watch List worked, or if you know in what ways it is broken and ‘aim off’ for them, it is much superior to hunting through All4 for yourself.

The bad news is that it is broken  :(

The display we got when we went in, looking for the next episode of Norskov, showed Last Watched Series 1 Series 2

And the episodes, unencumbered by a Series Id, showed 9, and then 1-6.

Which were 1-6 of Series One, with further episodes scrollable right for, though we at first took them as Series 2, 1-6.

Watching Norskov previously, when we watch to the end of an episode, I always let it run on to the next before stopping the process, so there is no ambiguity about where we are (we thought).

And we had got up to Episode 10, though Watch List said 9. no worries, we thought, it might be a little way behind where we left off, so we will just click it and start.

But it played Episode 9 right from the start; wrong, so we had to scroll through Series 1 for Episode 10, and play that. Which went very smoothly.

So after we had bailed out at the start of Series 2, Episode 2, we went back to Watch List for a spot of Michael Portillo light relief, found which Episode it said Last Watched for, and scrolled right to start the next one.

Which was the one after the one we wanted  :(

I think I’ve sussed this out; when you start a programme, there are adverts on a commercial channel, and Watch List doesn’t update its Last Watched until the actual programme starts. Looking on the All4 Player, this also seems like it might be the case; but here, in the ‘advert limbo’ you get the arguably more useful ‘Next Episode’ pointing to Episode 2, while the Watch List still has Last Watched, Episode 1.

Which is true, but not what you want to start playing right from the beginning again if you choose it.

So the (only?) way to make the Watch List ‘Last Watched’ any use is to let what you last watched run on into the next episode - past the adverts on a commercial channel and into the actual programme - and then it becomes a useful ‘Next Episode’ feature.

EDIT: Not the only way. If you bail out of an episode just before the end - e.g. during the closing credits - you can pick up from there in Watch List, and that is OK. The place to avoid stopping is during the opening adverts on the next episode, which don’t count as being in it, so All4 restarts the whole of the last episode. All4 itself gets round the issue by offering you Next Episode, when you are in that position, and start from All4 itself, but Watch List doesn’t (can’t?) utilise this. Run on to the point where All4 would offer you Resume, and the Watch List ‘Last Watched’ gets back into sync, and is useful again.

But it is not much good having a Last Watched that allegedly saves you from scrolling through the carousel if you anyway have to scroll through the carousel to find your Next Episode.

Apropos of which, I think that the Last Watched Episode, in a Series, shouldn’t anyway be a separate entry, off to the left; it should be a highlighting of the episode concerned within the series in question, scrolled so it is centre screen, so it is clear where you are, and where you can go.

Other points at random:-

(i) Watch List doesn’t seem to know when you have recorded a programme, and watched it that way; according to it, the last time we watched Countdown was the 8th of March, but we have watched several recordings of it since then, on this YouView box.

(ii) All4 knows what you can resume, and from where; Watch List doesn’t seem to.

EDIT: Correction: Watch List does know, or at least it hands you over to an All4 that knows, except when you get into the ‘advert limbo’ before the programme start of a new episode.


(iii) Having Last Watched as yesterday’s Countdown is not very useful when today’s still needs you to scroll 20 episodes to the right; there ought to be a scroll left wraparound you could use here.

(iv) Watching Norskov, and having completed Series 1, Watch List says ‘Watched’ instead of realising, as All4 does, that there is a Series 2 and we are moving in to it.

(v) The thumbnails for Norskov Series 2 Episodes 1,2,3 and 6 are wrong, and are taken from the corresponding Series 1 Episodes, where the people shown had different haircuts. This is the same on All4, so it is probably a Channel Four issue, not a Watch List one.
This is not the YouView that I knew  :'(

Comments

  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,509Member ✭✭✭
    edited 8 April 2019, 6:08AM
    Hi Roy.
    Like you, I'd also never used Watch List in the real world until 3 weeks ago, when a BBC recording failed. But thankfully had the iPlayer to fall back on and so it then appeared in Watch List. I've been very impressed what a powerful search tool it is, finding that content can link to content that links to content.

    Another bonus I've found is that it will also link to content watched or partially watched on the Now TV player which was a pleasant surprise. It doesn't link to Netflix, but that has its own 'continue watching' feature anyway. I don't think it links to Amazon either, but you can check that as my free trials over so no longer have access.

    In regard to your All4 query, just try partially watching something on a third party device, leave it an hour and then check your YouViews Watch List to see if it appears there. It would be interesting to see if it does.
  • Rob PRob P Posts: 51Member
    Roy said:
    ...
    Watch List doesn’t seem to know when you have recorded a programme, and watched it that way; according to it, the last time we watched Countdown was the 8th of March, but we have watched several recordings of it since then, on this YouView box.
    ...
    Yeah I do feel the Watchlist could have missed a trick by not including recorded content (which, in my eyes, is the primary purpose of the box, with on-demand being secondary... or is that just me?)

    I'd really appreciate a way of easily returning to an episode/series that I am part-way though watching and the Watchlist seems like the ideal place. Often I will need to stop watching a recording part-way through and it might be a couple of pages down the My TV list, so if a quick link were to be available somewhere that would make it a lot easier to resume.
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,509Member ✭✭✭
    YouViews Watch List entire form, function and design is to capture on demand content only, which doesn't consume any disc space, which is a bonus. In saying that I do agree that whilst including recently watched recorded content could be convenient, it would be a replication of the My TV menu which would then perhaps involve duplication, which broadly speaking should neither be needed or intended. 
  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,208Member ✭✭✭
    Visionman said:
    YouViews Watch List entire form, function and design is to capture on demand content only, which doesn't consume any disc space, which is a bonus. In saying that I do agree that whilst including recently watched recorded content could be convenient, it would be a replication of the My TV menu which would then perhaps involve duplication, which broadly speaking should neither be needed or intended. 
    It wouldn’t take any more disc space for Watch List to hold a note of where you are in a recording than it does to hold a note of when you are in an On Demand programme. Especially when this is just to refine what the single ‘Last Watched’ entry for each programme on the Watch List is.

    As for duplication, two points:-

    (i) Count how many ways there are to find or start an On Demand programme in YouView, and tell me that is not duplication;

    (ii) And when you very correctly point out that this is all about user convenience, and that all these different mechanisms actually just feed back into the same common code elements, explain why the user question ‘Where am I exactly in the scheme of things for programme xxx?’ when there are both recordings and ongoing On Demand viewing, should require two separate consultations, of Recordings and of Watch List, instead of the user being able to see a single unified overview?

    But I do agree that Watch List, as it stands at present, should only consider recorded programmes for the purposes of obtaining the true ‘Last Watched’ for programmes listed there, and not duplicate our massive lists of unwatched recordings :p 

    However, this does lead to the interesting conjecture of whether we should be able to get a single ‘state of play’ view of all things YouView on our boxes with an amalgamated Recordings plus Watch List view; though I would want this in addition to, not instead of, the current two separate views.
    This is not the YouView that I knew  :'(
  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,208Member ✭✭✭
    edited 8 April 2019, 12:10PM
    Visionman said:
    Hi Roy.
    Like you, I'd also never used Watch List in the real world until 3 weeks ago, when a BBC recording failed. But thankfully had the iPlayer to fall back on and so it then appeared in Watch List. I've been very impressed what a powerful search tool it is, finding that content can link to content that links to content.

    Another bonus I've found is that it will also link to content watched or partially watched on the Now TV player which was a pleasant surprise. It doesn't link to Netflix, but that has its own 'continue watching' feature anyway. I don't think it links to Amazon either, but you can check that as my free trials over so no longer have access.

    In regard to your All4 query, just try partially watching something on a third party device, leave it an hour and then check your YouView’s Watch List to see if it appears there. It would be interesting to see if it does.
    See above for flagged, italicised, edits to my original posting. Looks like, for the last question, it doesn’t.

    Yes, I see NowTV Movies there, and Netflix isn’t linked to, both of which are as you found.

    My box with Amazon hasn’t got Watch List, and the other box vice versa, so I can’t check that.
    This is not the YouView that I knew  :'(
  • alal Posts: 1,298Member ✭✭
    I've just started using the Watch List for the first time; It does save some time searching through the iPlayer but, once finished (or accidently pressing a button which stops playback) it dumps me into the BBC app, which is a shame.
    Also, if there is more than one series it shows both and there is nothing to tell me which is which so I have to take a guess.
    And I'd like to add another vote for a "global" watch list so I don't have to search around different interfaces for each programme I'm trying to keep up with.
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,509Member ✭✭✭
    edited 24 April 2019, 11:03PM
    al>
    "And I'd like to add another vote for a "global" watch list so I don't have to search around different interfaces for each programme I'm trying to keep up with."

    A VERY relevant 
    previous complaint of Roys is that Global then floods search results for services one doesn't subscribe to. So would ultimately become useless.
  • alal Posts: 1,298Member ✭✭
    edited 26 April 2019, 9:33AM
    I don't understand. Surely if it's something I am watching then it's on a platform that I am subscribed to.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,208Member ✭✭✭
    al said:
    I don't understand. Surely if it's something I am watching then it's on a platform that I am subscribed to.
    If I were watching Friends on My5, say, and started searching for a couple of earlier episodes I had missed and wanted to watch on demand, I’d get swamped with BT TV results, even though I am not subscribed to BT TV.

    Plus I will soon be getting Amazon Prime and NowTV results as well, without regard to whether I am subscribed to these services or not (although I am).

    For Search to be usable, it is vital that you can exclude the content sources you don’t wish to have results returned from.
    This is not the YouView that I knew  :'(
  • dreamtimedreamtime Posts: 204Member
    @Roy excluding stuff!!!!!! That sounds similar to the hide channels that YouView promised and we are still waiting for. So dont hold your breath for exclude in search.
  • alal Posts: 1,298Member ✭✭
    @Roy I thought we were talking about the watch list, not the search function. 
    btw I just noticed it's called Watch List - Did anyone else find this quite amusing?!
  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,208Member ✭✭✭
    al said:
    @Roy I thought we were talking about the watch list, not the search function. 
    btw I just noticed it's called Watch List - Did anyone else find this quite amusing?!
    I was fearing that Watch List would do the Search thing, but I chose a Thomas and Friends episode from Channel 5, where there are also Thomas and Friends episodes on BT TV, and only the Channel 5/Milkshake episodes showed up on Watch List. So that’s all right then.

    And you think it should be called Watch Thumbnails? Which sounds more like advice to a careless builder joining timbers with a big hammer  :p
    This is not the YouView that I knew  :'(
  • GoodbyeGoodbye Posts: 324Member
    Bob the builder??
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,509Member ✭✭✭
    Roy said:
    al said:
    I don't understand. Surely if it's something I am watching then it's on a platform that I am subscribed to.
    For Search to be usable, it is vital that you can exclude the content sources you don’t wish to have results returned from.
    What Roy means is that if one uses Search function to search content you either missed or box failed to record, it will search everything and that includes subscription services you don't subscribe to. Which ultimately and literally gets in the way and can (and often does) flood hundreds of results most of which are completely irrelevant to what you want or can access.

    Distinction is needed and has been called for for years. 
  • alal Posts: 1,298Member ✭✭
    I gave watch list another go. There were 4 episodes of The Looming Tower. They all have a 'play' logo and a 'tick' mark on them. I had no idea which ones I had watched (from a screengrab, rather than a description) so had to go through them one at time. A resume feature would be nice.
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