Thursday, November 3, 2022

Featured Section in TV App

Juli Clover:

Apple’s new design adds a Featured section to the top of the “Watch Now” section in the TV app, with the featured content placed above the “Up Next” watchlist. The change makes it more difficult for users to get to the content they are interested in, with random TV shows taking up the majority of the screen.


There are a number of complaints about the new design on Reddit from users who are unhappy with the way that Featured TV shows and movies supplant Up Next content. This section seems to display quite a few Apple TV+ shows and movies, but it does also highlight shows and movies from other streaming providers. Regardless of content shown, TV users do not seem to want suggested content replacing their chosen content at the forefront of the app.

Chance Miller:

This change appears to be a server-side update, although right now the majority of users noticing the change are running the tvOS 16.2 beta. The redesign was first spotted by Jon Maddox, one of the creators of excellent live TV, streaming, and DVR apps Channels.


Of course, it also helps those companies increase engagement by requiring them to scroll down to view the content they actually want to continue watching.

Jason Snell:

As someone who uses Up Next on an Apple TV every single day, pushing Up Next down to make room for stuff I didn’t choose is a spectacularly bad decision.

This is like Netflix taking the shows I’m watching and hiding them amid dozens of other titles. WTF.

Apple is far from the first company to do this sort of user-hostile behavior -- “don’t watch what you want, watch what we want you to” -- but I had hoped it would be a little better than the rest of the crowd.

Jack Wellborn:

It’s like they created a mythical user persona that loves to constantly browse and discover new content.

Here’s how my wife and I actually watch TV: At the end of an exhausting day of work and parenting a five-year-old, we watch ONE episode of a show we’re ALREADY watching.

Same. Yet we often have to search to get to the show. And the global Siri search often doesn’t find it, even though it correctly transcribed what was said.

Rene Ritchie:

Apple always had fierce arguments between customer experience and biz dev (marketing notifications, ad placements, promotional positioning…)

Difference is, the user experience side mostly won

Problem is, each loss seems digestible but eventually customer sat falls off a cliff

But in this case maybe they don’t care because there’s nowhere else for us to go.


This new development is bad for a few reasons, starting with the fact that the Up Next list was the only part of the TV app interface that a user could really customize or control to plan their viewing experience—everything from being aware of the latest episode popping up online, to deciding you weren’t that interested in a show any longer. That personalization is important because the act of viewing TV is a personal experience in your living room.

This change pushes that off of the screen so the information isn’t even available to them at a glance without moving the interface down. This is another hostile layer, because remember that if you don’t subscribe to Apple TV+, the app will load with a splash screen telling you to subscribe to Apple TV+, and when that is dismissed it will deposit you on the Apple TV+ tab of the Apple TV app interface which you need to navigate away from to Watch Now. Now you need to go down, too.


What this really comes down to is respect. I do not feel respected as a customer when I see my Apple TV autoplaying an ad for Abbott Elementary in general when it knows exactly which episode is next for me in the series.

Jason Snell:

My friend John Siracusa put it perfectly: This ain’t it, Apple. I don’t mind you suggesting new shows for me to watch. But to prioritize them over my own preferences? I thought that you were better than that. I guess I was wrong.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

Nicholas Vance

Plex and Kodi still excel on the user interface fronts. Kodi is super customizable and OSS so there are tons of options. Plex's business model is selling premium subs. Either way so you're the customer not the eyeballs to market to…

Sébastien LeBlanc

People are a little harch, I actually like that !

This is why a) I don't update my devices when I like the way they're working, and b) I use Plex for all of my shows, because it (and its open source brethren) are the only thing that have a UX I can stomach. Nothing grinds my gears more than someone else's software thinking it knows what I want to do better than I do, or changing things out from under me without my consent.

(Who was it that came up with the metaphor of software updates being like people breaking into your house and rearranging all of your furniture without your knowledge or permission, and then expecting you to be happy and appreciative of it?)

Plex is better than most, but not great:

* You can't get rid of the Recommended tab
* They removed the feature that allowed Plex to remember your preferred sort order in the Live TV/DVR menu
* They push their free-with-ads "discovery" service on setup and sometimes after updates
* Not a fan of the horizontal tile scrolling. (common to many apps) Tivo's vertical scrolling was nicer.

They still make it easier than other other app to return to what you were watching though.

I wish I could combine the best parts of Plex with the best parts of other apps, like Amazon's XRay feature, the original Apple TV dropdown subtitle selector (not the current one), etc.

Is there any streaming app that actually shows you the full title of the show/movie you're watching along with the year when you pause?

You could always go to other streaming devices or services, but pretty much all of them do this sort of anti consumer crap.

First thing I want to see is "Continue Watching/Up Next", next row should be "my content", everything else is below that or in a quick navigation pane or search window to find new content. I will grant one market push above those two sections if necessary, as in, one specific show that's being marketed (and can change at each load of home screen or once a week, whatever the service provider prefers). Assuming the ad defrays my monthly costs, but no, don't make me dig down to my owned/saved for later lists every freaking time. Again, pretty much every mainstream service does exactly that, buries one or both of my preferred sections somewhere out of the way. Booooooo!

However, the way I cope with this is simple, I simply don't continuously subscribe to things. If it's free or bundled for free (my Xfinity Internet service gives me access to Peacock for instance), great, I'll stick around. If it costs money, I run it for as along as deals last then, move on until there is another deal. Or subscribe for a couple months to watch some shows full price and then move off the service. Keeps me sane and saves me money.

I have my preferences, services have their business models, people really do just need to walk away when it's a hassle.

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