alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


Presto Subscription Suspended

13 July 2016 Presto have been in touch.

Presto is one of the bigger paid for streaming services in Australia competing against the likes Netflix and Stan. Launching in March 2014 meant it had almost a year head start over rival Stan but sadly it hasn't put this time to good use as the service has been fraught with issues from poor streaming quality, awful mobile apps and draconian policies.

Promo codes are handed out like they're going out of fashion and it's super easy to get months of service for free. It's an open secret amongst those in the bargain hunting community that almost no one pays for the service (unless of course you forget about the trial lapsing). Sadly even the deluge of promo isn't enough to push me to actually use the service. I've tried, in fact just last weekend we tried to watch a movie, but gave up in frustration. The following three issues really need to be sorted.

Speed

When you're in the mood to watch something the last thing you want is to have to fumble around with a slow iOS app that often forgets who you are. The UI is designed more to "wow" you than being functional. Sure it looks nice the first time you use it but try actually getting something done quickly.

Chromecast support

Next up Chromecast support which first launched as a "beta" service with horrible issues that took many months to solve. But even after these fixes don't try and pause a movie and come back to it 20 minutes later. The link between the Chromecast and app will have terminated, which itself is normal, but compared to other services this happens far sooner. So you'll fire up the iOS app and connect again only to have the movie restart from the beginning. Somehow your progress isn't saved and trying to scrub is entirely pointless.

Device limits

Something that I've not had to deal with in many a year is device limits. Netflix and Stan restrict you to x number of simultaneous connections but Presto takes a user-hostile approach and has 6 "slots" that you can use. Any device playing content, such as your iPhone, iPad or Chromecast, will occupy a slot and, to quote "You can remove or replace only one(1) device from the first day of every month.". I'm sure there are contractual reasons behind this but when no other common streaming service is doing this then you're doing something wrong.

Oh and while we're at it you should look into the email template users receive when suspending the service as there are broken images due to referencing relative files (such as ./presto-vindicia-cancellation_2016_files/email-top-gradient.gif). Also what's up with the missing expiry date and, I can only imagine, my name in the first line.

Until next time Presto.