Software Television

Trakt.TV – I have to confess that, after the first painful period, the new site is excellent.

Trakt.TV Home PageWhen Trakt.TV came out with the their upgrade to the site I have to confess that I was pissed off to say the least. The site was not looking too bad but it lacked in functionality. When I say lacked in functionality I do not mean that a few bits and pieces where missing but that it was next to useless to me. You simply could not do the basic things that I was used to being able to do. That would have been fine if the new site was optional but was not. Gone was the old site and that was it.

To make matters worse they decided to revamp their web service interface at the same time and, guess what, it broke all existing apps. That meant that my favourite apps on both my Windows Phone and my Windows tablet suddenly became useless. I am not going to deny that I thought, and still think, that this was utterly unprofessional. To be honest, I am still miffed about this.

Anyway, I also have to be honest and say that the new site is really great now. I use it on my desktop PC’s as well as on my tablets and it works really well. I would be dishonest if I did not mention that I have a few gripes but those gripes are (mostly) more like wibnify’s than anything else.

Trakt.TV Progess PageOne thing that I like with the new site is that it as working more or less equally well on a Desktop as on a tablet PC. It is simply a good balance between a mouse and a touch controlled interface. You easily get to the areas where you want to go. I also really like the progress page, which is usually to me the starting point in the evening when I sit down in front of the TV. I actually stopped using my Windows 8 app (Watchlist) since it really did not provide much of an advantage any more and it also had some funny ideas about favourites. If you did not want a show on your favourites lists (but still wanted to retain it in your other lists) the app insisted on marking all shows as unread (what the f…?)

One thing that I really do not like, although that is in no way a fault of Trakt.TV, is that the calendars are utterly useless. Why? Because the give you the show times in America. I would really like to have the show times in Europe (in particular in France) but I can understand that this would be difficult for the Trakt.TV team to achieve considering the incoherent nature of the European television landscape. Christ, the French TV companies with Canalsat (CanalCrap) in particular are fighting competition with legislation and, in this is where the EU could have been useful they of course do absolutely nothing to resolve the situation. Quite on the contrary the allow the French to, for instance, screw Netflix utterly such that their catalogue is severely constrained in France compared to what it should have been.

As I said, this is not the fault of Trakt.TV but it would be nice to be able to be able to configure the main page so that it was not so focused on the “upcoming schedule”. This of course means that I, as any other European users they might have, is resorting to use Trakt.TV as a repository to keep track of shows that I have watched.

Otherwise the site really works well. I am quite happy about the fact that it works equally well with a touch interface as a mouse interface. That is really a big thing to me and there are few sites that work as well in that respect. Simple things, like rating a show, just works by tapping on the user interface element in question. Something which is not the case for a large number of big sites like Goodreads where it is a pain to mark a book as read, Netflix which is half decent but still not ideal and a great number of other sites which give me the impression that they can simply not be bothered to care. Unfortunately this is a common issue with French sites in particular. The French seem to be a decade or so behind when it comes to modern information technology, licensing terms and everything that comes with it. One of the few exceptions (that I know of) is probably Deezer although their Windows 8 apps still suxs. Their Windows Phone app is not too bad though.

Well, I guess the bottom line of what I wanted to say is that the Trakt.TV team have done a great job even though the path that they took was quite painful for the users, at least in my opinion. I am sticking to Trakt.TV for a while, that is for sure, and I even decided to opt in for a, so called, VIP account. Of course the term VIP is just there to make you feel good. There is nothing really VIP about it but is a way for them to make money to support the service and for the user to feel that he is catered for.

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