ITV has refreshed its platform for live-streaming channels and on-demand boxsets. Dubbed ITV Hub, the service is designed to compete with the likes of BBC iPlayer, All 4, and Netflix. ITV allows anyone to watch catch-up with advertisements, although there is an optional upgrade, ITV Hub+, which costs £3.99 a month and removes all advertisements from on-demand shows. Watching live television is available on ITV Hub and Hub+ for TV licence holders.
When under severe strain, such as during the latest episode of Love Island and the Euros, there have been a number of issues with ITV Hub. In one instance, viewers missed almost half an hour of the England fixture during the Euros 2020 tournament. Social media is filled with hundreds of complaints from disgruntled viewers struggling to watch live and on-demand broadcasts. A number of viewers claim that ITV Hub compares badly with its counterpart from the Beeb, BBC iPlayer.
“ITV hub has bad vibes BBC iPlayer doesn’t,” one commented on social media site Twitter. Another added: “How has ITV Hub been so bad for so many years? HOW.”
“Today is not a good day for the ITV Hub, it is bad more often than not but the playback is particularly dreadful this morning. Considering it’s a video player for a national broadcaster it’s embarrassing that it is so consistently unreliable,” one user posted on Twitter.
Another viewer tweeted: “ITV hub is legit so bad. I’ve been trying to watch last night’s episode of love island for 10mins now and all I’m getting is ads ads ads”
And now, it seems ITV is making some substantial changes under the bonnet to try to improve the situation.
Until now, ITV Hub has relied on 15 on-premises encoders to handle the streaming. However, the broadcaster has now shifted the majority of its video processing and transport with cloud-based technology from Amazon Web Services (AWS). In other words, if you haven’t run into any issues streaming the latest episode of The Boys, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, and Clarkson’s Farm on Prime Video… then you shouldn’t have to worry about the quality of video streaming via ITV Hub.
“Linear transmission is alive and kicking, but the trajectory is shifting to more stream-based viewing. Having more of our live stream workflow in the cloud will allow us to better serve all of our audiences and keep pace with evolving viewer expectations,” confirmed Andrew Pearson, Principal Solutions Architect for Content Supply and Distribution at ITV. “Considering the scope of the project, we carefully examined our options, and AWS emerged as a clear winner in many categories. We’re confident that AWS will continue to bring us innovative new features that will allow us to elevate the viewer experience.”
The updated platform is now distributed across two centres in the UK, one located in the North and one in the South.
If you struggled to tune in to the Euros 2020 on ITV Hub, or haven’t managed to watch the latest re-coupling on Love Island on ITV Hub anytime soon.