Post Reply The Horsewagon on the Highway
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Posted 6/29/14
Hey.

I am not sure how long this post will turn out, because I am pretty irritated with CR as of now, and I apologize here if I offend anyone, I will try and keep my rage stilled. Hopefully this won't be removed, because I feel like CR should be able to take harsh critizism as well.

So I have been subscribed to crunchyroll for a while now, because they basically have a monopoly on anime-streaming sites. But woe be me, they seem to use that to the fullest. Both my computers are high-end, and I sit on the second fastest network in my country. YET FOR SOME REASON, streaming in 720p (1080p, haha, you're a fool to even press that [1080p] button, we haven't even made it work yet!) is a horrible experience. Aside from the ALL TO OFTEN sudden stops, and random skips to next episode, the encoding is so bad that I sometimes accidently pour acid into my eyes, because even that feels better than watching CR's half-assed encoding. Now I UNDERSTAND that it's "oh so hard to make a proper streaming service" and I respect you for "almost" making it mediocre, because it's hard. CR isn't a bad service, you have many things to offer. Streaming is not one of them unfortunately.

And then there is my second problem. Localization. I know that this isn't anything that CR can do much about, but it doesn't feel like they're trying hard to change it. I am VERY interesting to see where most of the people subscribed to CR are from. But I have this feeling that the majority is from "not America". However, CR prioritizes USA before any other country/continents. How many series does NOT have localization in USA? How many series does NOT have localization outside USA? Many. And they don't even work on getting it localized when it's done airing. There are plenty of show's that's on CR right now, that aired about 1 year ago, that I still can't watch. I feel like the guys at CR are neglecting anyone that's not (un)fortunate to be born in America.

CR is lazy because there is no proper competition out there, so they don't have to improve their bad streaming, because, hey, why should they, it's not like the customers will go elsewhere. And I must say, the second another service like this shows up, I'm outta here, if you haven't improved. Why don't CR try harder. They add new platforms to stream from, which is good in itself. But their focus points should ALWAYS BE BETTER STREAMING. I'm paying to only watch 2 shows a week, but I'm forced to watch it in 480p (which is also choppy) because that's the only bearable option with their "stuck in 1995" streaming. Oh and if your video stops playing, you can't wait for the buffer. I left the video as it were for 15 minutes after it stopped, but it didn't start again. Your only choice is to refresh the page, but you often have to close your browser or restart your computer for it to start again. CR is excluding many people with "less than powerful" computers because their streaming is like riding a horsewagon on a highway. Crunchyroll should be trying to get new costumers, no? The best way to do that is NOT by offering a streaming-service that is more like kicking a wall with a toothpick underneath your toenail, than a proper streaming-service. Youtube has done it, CR, why can't you? Sure, they might have a much more money to pour into their streaming-qualit-... oh wait, you don't try to improve the streaming-quality. My point is: Stop doing useless stuff. Improve streams. I can watch youtube on 4k without even having to buffer for a second, but I cannot manage a 1080p stream that looks like a 380p one? That is just sad, and it needs to be fixed. I have no idea where CRs money goes, but it's not going to the right places. It doesn't go to improving their service (other than to forum mods, other staff (that has nothing to do with their stream quality) and it does NOT go to the studios making that anime (a little bit does. and I mean A LITTLE, type you need a microscope to see the amount). Crunchyroll, do you even like streaming? This site has been up for a good couple of years, and I don't see why the following isn't implemented yet:

Streaming (this means a functioning stream, that doesn't kill your computer, and doesn't look like something I ate and then puk*d, and then ate, and then puk*d again)

Buffering (because if I can't watch immediatly in 1080p I think you should be able to just buffer instead of watching in "see point above)

Proper encoding. You say you use x264 and I don't know why your streams looks so bad. Fix it.

Localization. You probably don't try to get localization because that costs money, and CR doesn't like to pay JUST about the amount they have to.

I feel like CR is doing the absolute minimum for their customers, and I have no clue what they're doing, releasing CR on multiple platforms instead of making the MAIN POINT of their site, namely STREAMING, bearable first. That said CR does work well with their multiple platforms, similcasts, and the subtitles aren't too bad (ok, jk, they're pretty mediocre).

I managed to pour out some rage with this post. And I am sure I'm not the only one feeling this way. If the incredibly strict mods doesn't remove this post after a few seconds, because it speaks against CR policy or something, I'm sure there are people that can identify with what I've written above. Lastly, Crunchyroll, watching anime on your website feels like I'm riding a horsewagon on a highway. Everything stops all the time, and it's uncomfortable to ride. It's like trying to swim upstream a waterfall. If I am ever asked if CR is any good. I will ask them if "they have ever tried sitting on a campfire." That's kinda like what CR is like, right now. You have to be able to feel an incredibly heat (from your hate towards the slide-show you're watching), pain, tears and frustration.
I am very sorry if I offended anyone during this post, and for the graphic images I used to explain my suffering with.

Good job on getting through this wall of text.
I hope that this post doesn't invite to a lot of hate, but an actual discussion, and perhaps even CR will see it and might start improving their mediocre service.
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Posted 6/29/14
Give this man a medal!
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30 / M / Dallas, TX
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Posted 6/29/14
1. Streaming, especially video, wasn't a thing in 1995.
2. Regional restrictions on media are still a complex issue in our global economy. Some of the Japanese companies don't even offer licenses to some regions, or only offer regional licenses in chunks that don't always align with the local distributor's market. In addition, has to compete with localization companies in other countries, such as Anime Limited or Wakanim.tv. This past season, there were even several shows licensed by CR, and unavailable to stream in North America because of FUNimation's pre-existing licenses.
3. YouTube is part of Google, which is a huge company, so setting up new colos or CDN servers is nothing to them.
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Posted 6/30/14 , edited 6/30/14
I agree with some of the points you make, but a lot of your criticisms are misaligned.

1) Streaming - CR's streams on the site work perfectly for me, I haven't had any major playback issues in years. Some people have reported having problems, and to the best of my knowledge CR has been (slowly) working on a solution on a problem that seems quite difficult to solve.

2) Video quality / Encoding - I think CR's encoding settings are OK, it's true that there is a little banding and that most fan encodes do look better, but the difference isn't that large. The major problem here is the source video quality CR receives from some publishers - there are publishers like Aniplex that provide great quality raws, but others like Mediafactory provide absolute rubbish that doesn't even have the right frame rate. Source videos from Showgate, TBS and some others also have more banding than usual.

3) Localization - CR has been working hard at getting rights for more non-English regions lately. There hasn't been much change for English speaking countries outside the US, but that is mainly because of regional competition and FUNimation hoarding rights they don't use (which seems to be starting to change).

4) Streaming instead of platforms - This is the main point I agree with. The focus has definitely been more towards platform support, and that's understandable since that's where the largest potential audience is, but the website has pretty much been neglected for the past few years. The service is perfectly fine as it is (for me at least), but I haven't seen any attempt to add more features or improve the experience. The same can be said about some older apps.

5) Competition - More good quality competition would be nice, but all competitors to date have failed miserably and ended up providing worse service and terrible quality. Even CR's biggest legal competitor (FUNimation) is still leagues behind CR at almost everything. At this point more competition for exclusive licenses will only hurt the consumer.
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Posted 6/30/14
This is a very well thought out post, I applaud you for presenting your case in such a well formulated way.

I feel like I should chime in on a few points you made, if only to provide a different point of view and fuel discussion.

Streaming and video quality - I'm streaming in 720p, my connection can't really handle 1080p and I don't really notice a glaring difference anyway.
I do see the complaints on the forum and in the comments about the videos stuttering but for me, most of the time, they are working flawlessly.
It's between once and thrice a month that my streams hang and every time they do this can be remedied by going back 2 seconds or failing that reloading the tab.
Every time this occurs it seems to be the CDN taking forever to answer and it's usually during the episode's ED which a lot of people skip. Not sure if there's a correlation there.
That said, I'm from Germany so I'm probably being served by a different CDN and my sample size isn't as big due to shows not being available in my region. This, incidentally, works as a lovely bridge to my next point.

Localization - This past year CR has improved considerably on that front. There's a german site now, we got some titles that are not available to the US but CR decided to pick up anyway. The percentage of simulcasts available here grew to the point that I'm no longer looking at a new show announcement and the first thing I'm thinking is "you won't be able to watch that in Germany anyway".
I really am quite satisfied with CRs efforts to improve their service outside of the US.

It all depends on what you expect, me I'm content looking at where the site was when I signed up two years ago and where it's at now. Things are moving in the right direction.
Depending on where you're from your mileage may, of course, vary.
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