Catch-up TV apps. Channel 9... seriously?

A few of us in our household are regular users of catch-up TV apps mainly through our Apple TV. Channel 9 were the last to come to the party with an app & I really don’t get what they’ve done.

The app is great, works just fine but why in this day & age of hacked accounts, stolen passwords etc etc is the 9Now app the only one, for any TV station in Australia, that requires you to create an account & surrender personal details or, even worse, log-in via FaceBook & therefore give the app various permissions?
There is absolutely no need for it whatsoever.

If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s the only way to easily access a few programmes I would in-principle be deleting the app from all our iDevices & our Apple TV.

What’s then worse is that virtually every time you open the app it wants you to log-in & pair devices.
And I should add that you can’t even use the Apple TV app without opening an account on another device & then pairing the device with the Apple TV.

I would really love to know how 9 see this as a useful feature or creating a quality user experience. All it does is frustrate me and make me cranky & resentful! Don’t know about you guys but I really have enough junk passwords in my brain already without adding more for no explicable reason.

Apologies. Just venting but I think many of you will relate.


They want the details for marketing/stats is probably the real answer.

From the SBS Terms of Use is this little doosey:

4.4 By submitting a Contribution, you grant to SBS a perpetual, royalty free, non-exclusive, unrestricted worldwide licence to do the following in relation to your Contribution:

(a) use, copy, communicate, redistribute or adapt the Contribution, and
(b) sublicense to any third party the same rights.

And their NOT Privacy Policy:
"4. Cookies and other tracking data

When you use SBS’s digital services, information about your usage will automatically be gathered by SBS, or third parties contracted by SBS, through tracking devices including the use of cookies, web beacons and web server logs. These tracking devices are not used to record any personally identifiable information such as your name or email address. The information collected is aggregated, and is effectively anonymous to us.

This information helps us to:

· monitor, analyse and improve our digital services, for example by showing us what visitors do and don’t use, and assisting us in detecting any problems with our services

· customise our services based on content accessed, for example by recommending content that matches your interests

· serve you more relevant advertising based on your site visits

· manage the number of times you are served particular advertisements.

SBS contracts with a range of third party providers for these purposes.

The type of information gathered typically includes geographic location, date and time of site visits, your server (IP) address."

And this tidbit from their Why I need to sign up or create an account page:

“We may also, from time to time, obtain additional information about you from other reputable data sources to understand more about who is using our products and services. When we do this, we may learn about your lifestyle and interests and can use this information, alongside cookies and similar technology such as Online Behavioural Advertising, to provide more relevant advertising to you. Our Cookies Policy has more detail on this and can also help if you want to manage your cookies.”

So they say in one breath we don’t personally identify you but we use the data to personally identify/target you. What a crock!

There are so many Privacy, Terms of Use and similar policies out there with this double speak in them. I sometimes wonder why we have these policies but then I realise it is so they can contract with you to do whatever they like with your data and have a free licence to treat your data as their own. And at the same time they limit your freedom to use their data in the same way.


Unfortunately SBS has recently introduced a similar policy. I like to watch a lot of docos on SBS, but I find the service to be terrible- it seems to get hung up at the ad breaks… actually it is so annoying that I did consider just forgetting about signing up and missing a lot of shows (digital TV reception is appallingly bad here).
I agree Adam, it is completely unnecessary, but I guess the marketing dept is demanding more info so they can push selected stuff on the viewers. I turn the volume off during the ad breaks anyway.


We have a Sony Smart TV and can watch 9 and SBS through freeview (red button) without signing up. Must admit the 9 freeview is unstable and often hangs while loading. No other channels have the same problem.

Different matter with the android apps which require signing up to…which I now no longer use for this reason.


Before I worked for CHOICE I worked at Network Ten on their Video on Demand services. So while I agree having to log in is super annoying and these services often leave a lot to be desired, I can offer some insight into the reasons 9 and SBS would have taken this route.

TV networks are largely very old fashioned and still make most of their money on broadcast TV advertising, revenue from video on demand still pales in comparison. So while it’s expected that all free to air channels will have a good catch up service often the commercial motivation is not there. In order to put a lot of money or resources into building these platforms they will find as many ways as possible to monetise their content online. Video advertising and building up a member database with info for targeted marketing are the primary ways they do this.

Why the move to force log in?

Forcing users to log in means they still make a gain even from the growing number of users that bypass digital advertising using ad blocker software.

It could be a trade of - if networks can make some money off having you log in and this means they don’t have to serve you a thousand ads in each ad break then that might be a good thing. I know that’s expecting a lot from a commercial business but generally the people that work on these services do value the user experience and try to push back on too much advertising.

They also might want their users to get used to logging in to ease the move toward a subscription model like Netflix or Stan where users can pay to subscribe and watch without advertising. Although they probably have a way to go to improve their user experience before they could get away with that…


It’s SBS that hangs during loading on the Samsung smart TV for me. I haven’t bothered loading any others except iview, due to lack of programs of interest on the commercials. I haven’t been able to run SBS OnDemand on the TV for months now. My way around it is to run it on my computer with an HDMI cable to the TV, but of course I now have to log in.
I spent well over an hour trying to register when it became compulsory, but failed to create an account- the process just got hung up before completion, but they created an account name for me (nothing like the one I chose).


That’s frustrating. If you’re going to start making people register, you better make it seamless.

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Hey Greta,
Don’t get me wrong - I have no issue at all with watching adverts during catch-up TV & ad-blocking or skipping isn’t an option on platforms like the Apple TV.
What’s got my goat however is the need to create an account, log-in & then have to go through a stupid hoop-jumping pairing process with the Apple TV & an iDevice.
What doesn’t help is the fact that you seem to have to regularly log-in & without fail, every time, it tells me I don’t have an account & I have to go through the whole stupid process again of setting up an account.
There is no need for it!


Additionally there’s an adage in the IT sphere which is very apt about “free” services, ads and your personal information - If you’re not paying to view the content; you’re not a customer you’re the PRODUCT.
That’s because all the “free” services (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and everything Google) farm your data to sell to ad companies to serve you ads that push those companies products in a more ‘personal’ manner than blanketing everyone with the same ad bundles and hoping to reel in a few sales that way.

Ad-blockers and other programs (script-controllers like NoScript on Firefox and ScriptSafe or Script Defender on Chrome, or anti-trackers like Ghostery) are becoming more prevalent as the punishment to ad companies pushing deceptive or system-harming ads (hello~ drive-by malware attack vectors in Flash and Java!), who feel that they “must” push those harmful ads to try and get any hits they can when folks are using ad-blockers as a SECURITY measure to keep their personal data safe and prevent damage to their systems and devices because the ad-networks have ramped up the ante and (you get the picture)…
Ultimately this cycle will only harm the ad-delivery systems as more and more people forcibly tune them out with blockers and anti-trackers/script controllers, whilst directly paying to support the content of things they WANT to see (eg: people supporting others on Patreon or YouTube Red), whilst also keeping the amount of unwanted data usage down to a minimum (the more dangerous ads are also bigger wasters of datacaps on landline and mobile connections than simple text or static image ads).


I’ve also worked in film and television previously before coming to CHOICE. There is good reason, from a usability point of view, why networks are moving to a login system. If you discontinue watching a show and want to come back to the same place there needs to be some way of tracking this. I personally find it very frustrating when watching a lot of the free to air catch up services when you can not do this and have to spend a lot of time searching through the show again to find the right point. SBS was really bad like this until recently when they launched a login system. Now at least you can return to the same place in the show when the app crashes on you (as it does with startling regularity). I also like personalised recommendations of stuff I might like to watch based on my viewing history. The Netflix user experience is the now the bench mark and all the free to air broadcasters are scrambling to catch up - a login undoubtedly improves user experience and I am personally prepared to give this information over in order to get a better viewing experience. If you’re worried about privacy, just create a new gmail address for the job…


I think until most of us refuse to allow access by not signing up and complaining to the source - this will increase. Thanks for bringing the issue here Adam.

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Anyone serious about online security knows that using a Facebook account as a log-in on any other web-site is a no-no, yet its continually offered as the main option for registering at a new site, and sometimes is the only option. I use a free email service and have the ability to create temporary email addresses on the fly which is handy because you can use the name of the website you are accessing as part of the email address. This soon tells you which websites happily treat your personal information as a saleable commodity because of the amount of spam that arrives for that email address; its your choice then what you do about it, or whether you think that the convenience of accessing this particular website is worth the hassle of getting spammed.
Luckily free email services generally have very efficient anti-spam filters that are intuitive if you want to personalise them so you can refine the filters to cope with your subscriptions. Just in case my address book gets hacked, which it has been, the only email addresses I store on there are those of hackers and spammers, and I don’t really care if they get their just desserts.
One other precaution I take is to use Thunderbird as my personal email program on my PC, which has kept me out of trouble with scripts and other nasties contained in personal emails that have come through my computer security. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as its not Outlook or made by Microsoft! Similarly its safer to use a non-Microsoft browser like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. Its less likely to leak the information many of these websites are after, while allowing you to access these sites at will.

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I agree with your efforts to identify those that abuse my email address. I use Spamex to generate an email address using the company name that requests my email address. I have a number of email accounts that are setup for different levels of contact. My Proton mail account is the most secure and was setup by people at CERN and does some very clever masking before it sends the email.

I have also cancelled ALL Freeview and catch-up applications and purchased a PVR. I have it networked to a NAS with 10Tb of storage and will give me a few thousand hours of TV if I ever needed it. I can access the PVR remotely through an ICE website. Using a NAS, allows me to stream the recorded content to any device in the home and also allows me to ZIP through the ads without all the problems that catch-up TV presents. And this includes, logins, data usage, security and the inability to either restart, replay or come back to where I was in the program, if I have to interrupt my watching of a TV program.

I do understand the necessity of logins for data collection and justification of advertising revenue, but a poorly developed application that is buggy forces the user to find alternative avenues of access. You do not have to go the NAS /PVR Avenue as I have because a good TV video card and another HDD in your PC will work just as effectively.


Agreed, I’ve avoided using MS email programs since they became a thing :wink:

MS are becoming rather annoying in their pushing of windows apps- a couple of days ago a message appeared on my wife’s screen:

Firefox is draining your battery faster
Switch to Microsoft Edge for up to 75% more browsing time

I’m not sure how they figure that one out, but I don’t believe it.

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Just put your TV on youtube and watch whatever you want there, Channel ( is data mining and they can go jump


Some interesting data on Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) and commercial TV use from Roy Morgan. The growth of Netflix in 2016 is indicative of changing consumer preference.

I agree with you @gordon, the SBS On Demand just doesn’t seem to work very well for me. I’ve tried running it through XBOX, directly through the TV, laptop etc.

@adam1 I think you nailed it when you mentioned quality user experience. Whether it’s the commercial ‘free-to-air’ network apps or Foxtel’s ad-filled offering, as soon as the viewing experience is put second to advertising revenue or intrusive requests to log in or provide information, it’s a matter of time before people start switching off. After all that, when the commercial networks finally get a winning show, they tend to punish all involved with overly drawn-out content - a strategy that slowly saps the enjoyment from a show.


Hi @BrendanMays and @gordon try using uBlock with the Anti AdBlock Killer by Reek in your browser with any ad blocking you may be using. If you have issues with a site make sure you submit the site so the killer can be updated. This should lead to a better experience on the sites that have ads put between segments. Basically you should get a blank for a few seconds and the show should move on. I use it for many sites and generally it is an ad free adventure :slight_smile:

If you need advice on how to add it please let me know.

As for the 75% it is the important words that proceed that claim ie “up to” so if it improves your battery time by even 0.1% they are making a correct statement.

Edge has improved and doesn’t seem to use as much power as some other browsers but there are other factors such as security that matter as well and Edge is just not mature enough yet in these areas.


Some SBS shows exhibit the brief pause when there would normally be an ad break then program continuation, but other times it gets hung up, and other times I see the ads (and sometimes multiple times until I give up on the show!), so not really sure what the problem is. I did disable the ad blocker at one stage, but that didn’t help at all, it was still very glitchy, although some of the problems may be NBN satellite related.

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I suggest if you are using Reek’s tool that you submit a report about it to them. They seem fairly responsive to issues that arise.

Yeah probably more to do with your Sat connection and the awful ping times. These times will compound errors and cause a lot of re-sends.

Some ppl have suggested using a VPN service to view it. I don’t know why it might help but I guess worth trying??

Pick a VPN that has a presence nearby eg Melb Syd Bris Ade or Perth (many decent ones offer Syd and or Melb) that way for SBS, iView, 7 or such you aren’t tunnelling too far at all. It will be a bit slower as you have to account for the VPN service which tend to run at max 10 Mbps down but for SBS and others the speed is just fine

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I’m not using it, the problems are happening with or without adblocker.

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