Category Archives: Technology

Update on Amazon and HBO

VidAngel Customers,

We promised you an update today on the situation with the Amazon connector (which also impacted Amazon Channels HBO). We’re pleased that we just published the following updates to the website, iOS, Android and Roku beta:

  1. App interface for confirmation codes for Amazon.
  2. Two factor authentication support for Amazon.
  3. A series of backend and app fixes.

Please update your iOS, Android or Roku apps to have the latest code and fix for Amazon. These updates should solve the vast majority of problems customers have experienced. If you have connected before, please disconnect and reconnect to implement the improvements.

Issues still outstanding (we’re working on these)

  1. Descriptive messages when a video won’t play (like you’ve reached your screen limit, or you need to disable parental controls, etc).
  2. Netflix PIN
  3. Netflix Profile support
  4. Captcha support

The buttons still say down for maintenance but will soon be switched to a message that says: “Having issues? See Help Section.” Even though the buttons currently say “down for maintenance”, you can click on them and try connecting. Let us know at support@vidangel.com or in the comments below if you run into an issue.

If the weekend is smooth and things work for people, we will update the buttons again so that it’s clear the system is operational.

Thanks again for your support and patience.

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

P.S. A few people have had trouble with the Amazon connector for Game of Thrones and other programs. We have learned that the fix is disconnecting your Amazon account and reconnecting. That clears out your old session and establishes a new improved session and fixes the issue.

ALL free trials will be extended and start again when major bug fixed

VidAngel Customers,

We need to apologize for a very rocky launch. We messed up and you all deserve better.

First, our Amazon connector is temporarily down for maintenance, but once we get it back up and running, we’ll be sure to extend your free trials to begin again when Amazon starts working. In the meantime, enjoy Netflix, Dry Bar Comedy, and VidAngel Studios licensed shows for free.

What Happened With Amazon?

We’ve been testing our service for months and things were running smoothly so we thought we were ready to launch.

Then this happened:

We never dreamed we’d have more interest than before we were shut down.  We should have had more faith in our fans and prepared for more traffic, but we didn’t. These traffic numbers have made this week a nightmare for all of you and our entire team. We have had the executives, marketing, finance, content and everyone helping the support team. Our tech team members are working around the clock. Everyone is exhausted. Our customers who were wanting to watch a movie worry free this weekend, now feel frustrated.  Understandably so because we are just as frustrated.  We wanted you to have a great weekend and thought we had everything ready.  

Amazon Wants To Know You Are A Human

Amazon wants your account to be very secure and so does VidAngel. Here’s what is happening (and the fix is very straight forward):

  1. You give your Amazon credentials to VidAngel and the VidAngel servers become you in the cloud to help you filter your Amazon account (your credentials are encrypted and stored on your device only, not VidAngel’s servers, for security reasons).
  2. When Amazon received so many requests to filter in a short period of time, its systems began asking for verification that you are really you.
  3. The VidAngel app does not yet have a feature built in to let you make the handshake between you, a real person, and Amazon’s extra verification. We didn’t realize how many different verifications Amazon has until we had thousands of you hitting Amazon at the same time.
  4. This extra step causes you frustration, so you try again and repeat the cycle which makes the problem worse for everyone because Amazon asks for more verification each time you cannot prove you are you.

This is a good thing. It means Amazon wants your account to be secure so they can ensure it is really you accessing your account.

How VidAngel Will Help You Stay Secure

VidAngel wants your Amazon account to be very secure as well. VidAngel is working on a technology to show you the verification messages from Amazon so that you can let Amazon know that you are a real person within the VidAngel app.

We hope to have a fix for this by next weekend. We’re putting everything we have into it.

Please accept our heartfelt apology fans; we’ll make it right (remember we’ll extend the free trial and you can enjoy everything else VidAngel offers for free in the meantime).

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc

VidAngel Policy: Can I watch VidAngel without filters?

As VidAngel has grown and reached a broader audience, a few new customers have begun asking if they can stream on VidAngel without filters. 

nudity-filter

The short answer is, unfortunately, NO.

The long answer is, VidAngel employs filters in compliance with current copyright law, but we believe in allowing our customers to watch movies however they want. If you want filters, VidAngel is your place to do it. If you want to watch without filters, we recommend one of these unfiltered streaming services:

Google Play Movies

Amazon Instant Video

Vudu

 

(or iTunes, which is not really streaming)

Thanks for using VidAngel!

Neal Harmon, CEO

 

Get FREE movies for LIFE! Help us find a tech team member!

We’re giving away a LIFETIME OF FREE MOVIES* to any VidAngel customer who guides us to an engineer that becomes a full-time member of VidAngel’s team* :

Step #1 – forward this link to your tech friends so they can see the positions available:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vidangel-growing-jedadiah-ashford

Step #2 – have your friend send their resume to liz@vidangel.com. Ask them to include your VidAngel account email address letting us know you referred them.

Step #3 – after we hire your friend, we’ll add your lifetime* of credit to your account. Don’t worry, your engineer friend gets unlimited free movies by joining our team.

IMG_20150813_154126771

VidAngel company celebration when we met our goal last week (we’re months ahead of plan). We went to the theatre together on paid time 🙂 We won’t admit how many of us teared up watching “Inside Out”

And here’s a fun, true story, in poetry:

Once upon a time, far-far away,

an amazing USAA mobile programmer from Texas,
found a new website that he loved more than breakfast.

This new VidAngel customer named Jed,
watched movies with his family before bed.

Well, he found a little bug,
that he offered to help plug

And became VidAngel’s tech team leader instead 🙂

Meet Jed: He has an infamous list in the company named after him, that pretty much the entire company operates around. He also gets to watch all the movies he wants for FREE.

 

* Lifetime of movies means $10,000 of non-transferable, non-refundable VidAngel account credit (or 100 SD movie nights a year for the next 67 years!).  Joining Team VidAngel means that your referral joins the tech team and stays onboard for at least one year. We’ll give you one year of credit during the referred employee’s trial period.  (credit will be disbursed at $150 per year – no worries, we will send you all the details)

VidAngel Native iOS app for the iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch (beta)

UPDATE: 8/28/2015:   Our iOS app is live and in the App Store!   Download it now!

500x500bb-80

We’re happy to announce our VidAngel beta iOS app! With the app, you can stream purchased movies and TV shows on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. You can also cast to your TV via your Chromecast or Apple TV (using AirPlay). We’re working with Apple to enable purchasing within our app, but currently you can stream only movies or TV shows already purchased on the VidAngel website.

(8/25 – You don’t need these directions anymore.  Simply go to the App Store and download our app)    Since the iOS app is in beta, we’ll need to add you to the beta group if you’d like to try it before it’s published in the App Store (it’s so much better than streaming via Safari because you can Chromecast and the player remembers where you were on AirPlay). Here are instructions on how to get VidAngel on your device:

  1. Send your Apple ID (It is an email address) to support@vidangel.com so that we can add you as a beta participant.
  2. Download Apple’s TestFlight app to your mobile device from the App Store.
  3. You will receive an email from Apple with a link to download the VidAngel app once you are added as a beta participant.
  4. Once you receive the beta invitation in email, click on the link provided by Apple and the TestFlight app will open with a button to download the VidAngel beta app.

Enjoy!

UPDATE:  Subtitles are fixed on all devices

Known issue: while subtitles are working with Chromecast, we’re working on a solution for Apple TV. We look forward to other feedback.

500x500bb-80 (4)

American Sniper took down our servers tonight

504 Error: The demand for American Sniper has overloaded our systems momentarily. We are working to keep our servers up, but it is far more traffic than we have had for any previous New Release and way more than we expected for this weekend while still in Private Beta. Thank you for your patience as we work to keep things running and upgrade the servers for next week. If you are having problems viewing let us know and we can get you a credit so you can watch your movie later.

American Sniper and Bug Fixes

american_sniper_fanart_1920x1080_by_mathiasus-d8bt7b7

We have had more requests for American Sniper than any other movie. We had it tagged in advance for the May 19th DVD/Blu-Ray release but the content publishing process for VidAngel is surprisingly time-consuming (took 12 hours for the first pass, which had mistakes).

We test the movies on Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and desktop before allowing them to go live.

Because yesterday our hosting provider moved us to faster server infrastructure, but also changed our version of PHP without letting us know. These changes introduced bugs into our system.

We ended up having to make three passes to get it right (we found an issue on Chromecast, one missed profanity and a handful of partial profanities). We have a high standard of quality for new movies published on VidAngel. If we find a single missed profanity, we do not publish the movie.

As you can tell by the publish time of this post (2am), we worked around the clock to get this blockbuster to you properly reviewed and bug free.

There is a silver lining in the slightly tardy publishing of American Sniper. We also discovered through the process a bug that has been plaguing many users recently. It is the bug where only the VidAngel bumper shows up, but the movie never plays. We fixed the elusive bug.

Watch American Sniper in HD for $2 (with sell-back) now.

VidAngel Browser Player and Chromecast Player Updated

HDTVsWe have spent the last year teaching all our customers to use the Chrome browser and the VidAngel extension to filter their movies. We also incessantly taught people, wanting to watch VidAngel filtered movies on their HD televisions, to use the Chromecast “tab cast” feature instead of using the YouTube cast button. But with the launch of Angel HD, we opened up more options for getting filtered movies on the big screen — Roku, Apple TV, and a desktop player that was “Cast-Ready,” utilizing Chromecast’s native playback functionality instead of simply mirroring a Chrome tab.

Since this launch, there have been certain bugs that our beta invitees have continually reported: A) the browser player for Angel HD often stalls and never recovers, and B) Chromecast playback has sometimes been really choppy. We’ve discovered that problem B is actually an extension of problem A, as our users, trained to click on the tab cast button, were inadvertently bypassing our dedicated Chromecast player and ended up mirroring an already stalling desktop player to their Chromecast devices.

This hasn’t been a great experience, especially for a device designed to be drop-dead simple like the Chromecast. We’ve finally solved both these problems, leading to a much simpler and much more reliable experience for you on both your browser and your Chromecast. No more incessant stalls on your desktop, as we’ve rolled out a new player to ensure that when you choose to watch your movies on your PC or Mac you’ll get close to the same smooth, consistent playback you see on Roku, AppleTV, iPads, iPhones, and Android. What’s more, you can connect your browser playback to your Chromecast through both the Cast icon on the player as well as through directly clicking the extension icon — in other words, you won’t accidentally start a tab casting session, but will be able to launch the Chromecast direct player no matter where you click.

While we’ve lost lots of lost sleep solving these problems, we’re eager to get the new players out to you so both are available starting now. We hope that, whether you’re watching on your computer screen or leaning back on the couch, you enjoy the better playback experience.

 

VidAngel Roku App now has Search and PIN

set_top_boxesVidAngel private beta launched on Roku two weeks ago and it is already the favorite device for VidAngel users! In response to customer requests, we just added two new features to the app:

PIN for purchases – this means that if someone grabs the remote they will not be able to purchase a movie unless they know your passcode. Set up your PIN at vidangel.com/roku

Search – You can now search for your movies. This was an important update because our library of HD movies is growing rapidly.

The VidAngel Roku update will show up within 24 hours. To access the VidAngel update now, refresh your channels on your Roku by visiting:

Settings > System update or Settings > Player info and checking for an update.

Report on Fixes to VidAngel Private BETA

smartphones   Time for an update on our progress with the new VidAngel. The team has been furiously solving problems, and while it seems way too slow to us, we look at the issues we’ve solved over the past month and we are thrilled with how much ground we’ve covered!

If a problem you faced isn’t noted in here please comment below and ask us about it, there is a good chance we got it fixed, but forgot to put it in the this report:

set_top_boxesROKU 2, 3, AND STICK

  • VidAngel now works on Roku 2, 3, AND STICK
  • We fixed the stalling problem.
  • Sell-back no longer shows an error.
  • Roku 1 is not supported yet.
  • We are working on a parental password (expected next week)
  • We are also working on search for next week.

tabletsAPPLE TV, iPHONE, iPAD, iPOD

  • Moved from mirroring to airplay in HD using iPhone, iPad or iPod.
  • Created a quick how to video for Apple TV.
  • Purchased titles were not showing up in library on iPhone and iPad for up to 10 mins has been resolved.

CHROMECAST + NEXUS PLAYERHDTVs

  • We solved the white screen “brainfreeze” issue.
  • We created a how to video for Chromecast.
  • We have tested Nexus Player on VidAngel and it works! You can use it with Chromecast.

LAPTOP AND DESKTOP

We still haven’t got these running perfect but we made a few fixes.

  • We added an alternate player to use until we find out why our main player is freezing.
  • We solved the stalling problem in the alternate player

Thanks again for all of your patience and reporting these bugs to us! This has been a good start.