iOS iDrifta users/buyers beware! iOS6.1 not compatible with iDrifta (currently), works fine with Drifta (wifi)

Posted on February 16, 2013

Users of iDevices who own the iDrifta are on the rampage. Since the release of iOS 6.1 the iDrifta has not been working with the iPad/iPhone and DSTV have no useful response. They apologise and have no timelines for implementation of a solution. I have reached out to a few people I know but have received no response either.

The only bit of info is this “Announcement” on their website :

“Apple recently introduced the new iOS 6.1 version for its devices. In keeping in line with the various operating systems that we service, the Drifta is compatible with the new version and we are in the process of making the iDrifta compatible with iOS 6.1 soon.”

Not sure how that helps those users who can’t watch the test cricket or rugby. Seems unfortunate that DSTVMobile aren’t keeping up with the times and testing their products with those they claim to be compatible with.

Some relevant links :

  • Keep checking the iStore.  Let’s hope this is not a repeat of the Blackberry debacle.
  • You can follow the irate stream of complaints on Hello Peter over here (swearing and ineffectual customer service response involved!)
  • The thread on the DSTVmobile forum with the hapless Thulani saying much of nothing
  • And on facebook where a nameless sap apologizes for “any inconvenience that may have been caused.” indeed. A non-functional product “may have” caused inconvenience? What a lame braindead response. Of course it has caused inconvenience, the darn thing don’t work!

 

More Android love from DSTVmobile. 19 more devices. Well done DSTVmobile!

Posted on June 02, 2012

Another update has been made of the Beta android application for the Drifta. You can get it here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dstvmobile.app.decoder

This application now works on a wide range of Android devices running on Android 2.2, 2.3, 3.x and 4.x (with hardware buttons). So Gingerbread, Honeycomb and IcecreamSandwich are all supported now.

The full list is below. With the extent of changes I have been a bit lazy to pull out only the new devices. On the tweet announcing this @neilinspace indicated that 19 more have been added from the last version of the Beta, I will take his word for it. The list is now quite impressive, most device owners should be happy, including those lucky enough to have picked up the new Galaxy SIII or one of the new HTC One devices.

Well done DSTVmobile!

Now please can we get some Blackberry love? I know the platform is dying but I really would like some support on the Bold 9900.

Click through for the Full list:

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DSTVmobile launch a cute new iDrifta for the iPhone/iPad

Posted on June 01, 2012

Update : DSTV mobile sent me one of these to review. Some of my comments below are inaccurate. Take a look at the “unboxing” post here : Unboxing of iDrifta with lots of pictures and comments. Review can be found here.

 

Today DSTVmobile announced a cute new iDrifta  specifically for the Apple iPhone and iPad devices. The iDrifta is styled to match your iDevice and is diminutive in size compared to the previously available Driftas. The new device seems to be powered directly from the iDevice so no worries about keeping it charged and waiting for when you need it. It comes with an inbuilt Apple dock connector so no cables to fiddle with or lose.

Image “stolen” from the DSTV website

 

Being built specifically for iDevices has both pros and cons. Up to now iPhone/iPad users only had the option of the wi-fi Drifta which didn’t plug directly into the iDevice and required you to connect over wi-fi, losing your internet connection in the process. Since the Drifta client application doesn’t multi task or suspend this wasn’t a big deal. Switching out to check mail or an incoming notification would have killed the client app anyway and you would have to wait 20 to 30 seconds to reload the app and have it pick up signal again, not very practical.

It is doubtful the new iDrifta solves this problem, although you may be able to stay connected to the internet and get your notifications, so switching apps you would have seen a notification and know for sure there is something for your attention.

I often find myself watching sport on the iPad as it has the perfect size screen for DSTVmobile. Any bigger and the picture gets really blocky. Being a bit ADHD I like to do a couple of things at once so after a while I tend to hook the Drifta up to the laptop and surf the net on the iPad. With this new device that flexibility would be lost – you can use it only with the iDevice.

Still, for those who want a Drifta to use on the go with the iPhone or iPad, this looks like a really good option. It will be available in 10 days time from the normal outlets.

As always, officially the device doesn’t support jailbroken iPhone/iPads. It is unclear which version of the Drifta software on the iDevice supports the iDrifta, so the current hacked versions floating around probably won’t work. Buyer beware.

I have sent some questions to Maiyo at DTSVmobile, so hope to provide more information and perhaps do a full review later.

Justin

Press Release below after the jump

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Designed to fail – when things that should work just don’t #dstvmobile #fail #android

Posted on September 21, 2011

In some ways this could be considered a followup post to the one I did last week on “A week with the DStv mobile Android application, the good and the bad” (link here).

Let’s start with the purpose of the DStv service, the Drifta and the supporting applications. At it’s most basic level, the purpose is to let us (the consumer) watch tv, and to let DStv earn revenue from providing us with that service.

Our obligation is to pay the initial fee for the device, and to pay the monthly service fee. DStv’s obligation is to provide a working service that allows us to watch the broadcast when we choose to do so, in the advertised areas of coverage, on the advertised devices.

This morning, that service failed me. How? Well, I have my paid for Drifta, have paid my monthly subs, and have the DStv mobile application loaded on a legitimate (non rooted, supported) device.

I turned on the Drifta, it connected to the DVB-H signal. I turned on my HTC Desire, connected to the Internet, loaded up the application. Up came the “authenticating” message, which then stayed on screen for a while before a message came up to the effect that the authentication server was unavailable, please try again later.

I tried many times over the next few minutes, each time with the same result. All the while the game I was wanting to watch was carrying on, without me watching. In frustration I tweeted out “Aargh. Drifta has DVB-H signal and is connected. HTC desire says Unable to reach authentication server try in few minutes. #norugby #fail“.

A colleague has an iPhone, which also has the application loaded on it. He came over to my desk and we tried to connect it to my Drifta. It first tried to connect to the last Drifta it had been used with, when that didn’t work it did a re-scan and connected to mine. It worked. First time, no problem, and the game came up. I got to see around five minutes for the second half before he needed to leave, and sent out a second tweet “Any Android users managing to watch Drifta? Authentication server wl.dstvmobile.com seems to be down. Working fine on colleagues iphone :(“

I received a reply shortly after “@jjza The Android Auth server ISP is experiencing connectivity issues. Techs working on the problem. Will keep you updated. #Drifta. Replied “thanks Neil. Not happy but appreciate the feedback.” and two hours later received the update “@jjza #Drifta #Android Auth server connection should be back up. Please try again.” An hour later I tried again, it worked, and I replied to that effect.

Fine, it was working again, but I had missed the game. DStv had failed to deliver the service I was paying for. #fail

I am unhappy with this situation. Not because DStv messed up and didn’t provide the service. We all mess up from time to time and nobody can expect 100% perfect service. However, why should it work on one device and not another. There is no mention of this in any of the advertising or product documentation.

In introducing the Android application, DStv mobile have, by design, introduced an added level of complexity, and an additional point of failure, which can (and does) seem to fail often. Why is it that an iPhone can use the service without needing to authenticate (every time) to the DStv servers yet Android cannot have this same luxury. What possible reason is there for punishing Android users in this manner?

The only reason given is that the application is authorised (by DStv mobile) to work on certain Android devices (and not others – the logic behind that we will leave for another time). So whenever we load the application it checks to see whether it is “allowed” to use the application. This seems like a reasonable step, but is it really?

The idea behind this was to allow DStv to control the Android devices on which the application will work, and allow additional devices to be added without needing to release a new version of the application each time. The authentication information is anonymous, so of course it is not being collected and being used for any purposed other than authentication (such as usage statistics, device usage patterns etc) as that would be unethical, and quite possibly in terms of the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act would be illegal too.

One can safely assume also that if a device is added to the “white list” of supported devices that it would then be allowed to used on that device and that privilege would not be revoked.

Surely then this authentication could be a one-off process. You download the app from the store, it is a “virgin app”. It phones home, sends through the device (not user, network, location and other) details, confirms it is allowed to work, and then is permanently activated. If the device is not on the white list, and error message can be displayed and the software remain inactive. The user can then try again in a week or two. If the application was really smart, it could then even do a push notification when the device was finally whitelisted, but let us not over complicate the situation.

So what would the benefits of this be?

  • Activation would be one-off
  • No internet connection would be needed every time you wanted to load the application
  • No dependency would be created on an ISP to make sure the authentication server is up
  • No dependency would be created on the cellular service provider to make sure their service is working
  • You would not have to check both the DStv and Cell provider websites for coverage to see whether you can use your device
  • No nagging suspicion would  be created that just maybe DStv are collecting more information than they say, more often than they say
  • I would have been able to watch the game

Let me repeat that last line, I would have been able to watch the game that I paid to watch.

So the ISP let DStv down. What was their Business Continuity Plan to make sure that this newly introduced (just for Android users) point of failure had redundant controls? There are so many more questions that could be asked here, the answers of which could affect whether their product offering complies with the Consumer Protection Act. Instead let us just ask, what is the solution.

In my mind, it is quite simple. Fix the application. Allow the authentication to be one-off (monthly if you must). And while you are at it, remove the Drifta BIOS update from the application, we don’t have to carry that around on the phone with us all the time, space is precious, and a bloated application double the necessary size is not welcome.

DStv, I really like the idea of the service, I recommend it to lots of people, in person and on twitter. I am an evangelist for your product, but I am also honest and a realist. Your Android application sucks, but is easily fixable. I can no longer recommend to anyone that they purchase your service to use on an Android device, you have designed it to fail. Please fix that so I can enjoy the product as it should work, and let your customers get the service they pay for (or would pay for).

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