There has to be another way – oh, wait, it’s the BBC iplayer…

4OD, Channel 4’s TV-on-demand service has to be a corking example of a service which makes life maximally difficult for its users.  I can only think that Channel 4 actually doesn’t want anyone to use it – the whole process of joining up was a bit like Tesco shopping in 1999.

So: to make 4OD work I had to …

  • download software (well, yes)
  • which failed to install and gave me a little Windows cryptic error message
  • so then I checked whether I had all the right versions of all the software that I needed, and updated a couple of those just to be on the safe side, and re-ran it
  • the download still didn’t work so I made my way to the help section (located under ‘Feedback’)
  • searched this section a few times and eventually found an online form for technical help, filled it in (the form was nice) and pressed Submit
  • got an error message and the request to correct some of the information using the Back button and then re-submit the page
  • What back button? (It was disabled)
  • Filled the form in again and re-submitted
  • Got an automated response saying that IF my query was part of their FAQs, then they wouldn’t reply, hahahaha loser.
  • Searched FAQs and  finally tracked down the answer
  • *cough* Followed the minimal instructions to edit my registry using command language, dredging up all my knowledge of DOS in the process
  • Which …worked!!
  • YAY *little dance of achievement*
  • Started up 4OD and then immediately had to fill a deeply detailed application form, including thinking of a screen name when I don’t want to comment, ever, (oh wait! except to COMPLAIN) and then of course the first name I thought of was taken
  • Eventually found the bloody programme (surprisingly hard)
  • Played it and endured a really very heavy duty set of ads before my beloved programme eventually rolled.

I repeat: to make this work, I had to use DOS.  It took me about an hour and a half to wade through all this nonsense, and if I were under 35 I’d be entirely stuffed.   Absolutely unbelievable. 

C4 did send me a helpful email this morning with the command prompts included.  They seem like nice people, but…sort it out, guys.

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