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Funimation.com: Going at a Snail’s Pace on the Lightspeed Internet

August 9, 2012

Buzz Magus returned to his headquarters on Altos 5 after finally defeating the evil Space Emperor Guvava. With the people of the Messier 83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy freed from tyranny Buzz sat down to relax with primitive streaming video from this home planet of Earth as a reward for some heroics well done. BUT WHAT IS THIS! It it taking a ten 10 minutes to load up a page that should clearly be up in a second via the space hypernet. Clearly Space Emperor Guvava is still alive and using a miniature back hole generator to slow down time/space around Buzz Magus’ Space Freedom HQ. That dastardly fiend.

His robot companion R5-X2 informed him that the curvature of the time/space continuum was homogeneous on the planet. He was just trying to watch something on Funimation.com.

That silly pulp serial film story aside there is an important rant to make here. The Funimation site is slow. Not just a little slow. Damaging to business slow.

BTW this took 4 minutes to load at work

Just recently Narutaki, my roommate, and I gathered in my living room to watch our weekly episode of Binbougami-ga. My roommate had enough time to get up, go to the bathroom, and make a small meal in the 10 minutes it took me to open the site, log in, and get to the page to watch the episode. It did not take me 10 minutes to load the video. It took me 10 minutes to get to the page.

And it was not that my computer was slow. We had just watched Kuroko’s Basketball and Natsuyuki Rendezvous on Crunchyroll seconds before and those pages loaded pretty much instantly. It was not a matter of the Internet connection. It is just that whenever we go to the site it is embarrassingly slow. It is like you are transported back to the day of 14.4k modems. But I will go anywhere else at the same time and I have my normal cable modem speeds. There is sometime clearly wrong with the scripting on the site. The funny thing it once the player gets going it streams the video fine. So it is the site around the player that is the problem and not the player itself.

The problem is this is not a new problem. When the video site was in its beta form I did not really think much of it being slow because it was still in beta. But that was over a year ago. The site has either stayed as slow or even gotten worse in some respects. A month or two to work out the kinks makes sense. As a computer science major I realize tinkering with optimization is hardly the  simplest task. But these molasses in winter load times are unacceptable at this point. This is a problem that should have been fixed long ago.

I know several people who had elite video subscriptions but canceled them after a month or two because the site was even slow for paying customers. Narutaki and I still exclusively watch our content on the site despite the speeds because we want to support legal streaming whenever possible. But that is not always the case for everyone. The general rule of thumb is that on average people will support the legal alternative as long as you make it easier or at least as easy as piracy. But whenever piracy is the clearly simpler method people will be drawn to it over any sort of moral prerogative.

Funimation is not only inconveniencing the fans that are supporting them but they are also throwing away money that should rightfully be coming to them. But to get that money they really need to fix the load times on the web page. Poor web design like this  is just not acceptable in this day and age.

I’m not being ungrateful here. I love the fact that Funimation is streaming an amazing amount of anime for the mere pittance of a price of watching some commercials. Years ago that was seemingly a pie in the sky dream. The problem is Funimation is competing not only with all the other anime streaming sites who are doing it better but all the illegal streaming sites who are offering everything they have on the site. It is hard enough to keep up with the Joneses as it is. Handicapping yourself with bad web design is pure foolishness.

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18 comments

  1. I actually have never experienced problems with getting to places on Funi’s site, my problem has always been streaming. I think the real issue is that they place a video ad on the page, so I can only watch things in two-minute bursts before having to buffer again. I tried to put up with it for a while, especially since they mostly had things I didn’t care about, but when they picked up E7AO I got tired of it and just kept downloading fansubs of it. They haven’t streamed anything I want to see other than Binbougami-ga since so it hasn’t been much of an issue, and I have no problem watching their legal streams on Hulu or waiting for the episodes on Crunchyroll to be free.


  2. Yeah. I’m a guilty party. I have mostly stopped watching any videos on the Funimation player at the moment, just having them instead stream with the audio in a separate window while watching the show they licensed elsewhere. That’s just how slow their site is and how much of an inconvenience their players are because they freeze so much they are that I have to give them support in this fashion. The real concern is that the site’s been in beta for it feels like a long time now. When are they going to be off of beta? Overall, Funimation is doing themselves no favors with their fans at the moment, or anyone who does want to support the legal way of watching shows.

    …That all being said, I won’t completely blame them for their streaming woes–after all, most of the streaming was supposed to be taken care of by Nico Nico. Uh, oops :D


    • Note I meant to add “Stream with the audio (or volume) down while in a separate window”


  3. I just watched the first episode of Binbongami-ga on the Funimation site and it loaded up without any problems for me. Took maybe 5-6 seconds to buffer and didn’t have any hiccups after that. What browser are you guys using? I tried it with Firefox 14.0.1


    • I think the better question is, what voodoo magic are YOU using? You are seriously the only person I’ve talked to that hasn’t had problems with the site/player.

      -Narutaki


      • Just tried it in Chrome as well and didn’t have any problems, loaded up fine and seeking was nearly instant. Possibly could be a problem with the route it’s taking to stream the data to you guys, so could be a problem with a server between Funi and you. Only thing I can think of for why it would load fine for me but not for you ruling out ISP problems.


      • I always use Firefox, and sometimes it’s painfully slow (iirc one time it took me a half-hour to access a video), and sometimes it works just as well as Crunchyroll. It was particularly bad sometime around the middle of June, but I’ve noticed the problem much less lately. Maybe it’s voodoo magic, or maybe Funi’s servers are a bit unreliable.


    • clearly a funimation blogger


  4. The voodoo that I use to make the sight work is pretty simple. I found the sight does not work at all in Chrome or Firefox. It has the problem they you described as slow as molasses. I found out that the sight is pretty zippy (when compared to Chrome and FF) when used in either the Opera or IE browsers. Other people I talk with have found the same thing to be true. You might want to try it.


    • If Chrome and Firefox were some no name browsers that only high level Linux neck-beards used you might have a point. But just looking at the usage charts for browsers clearly shows that over half the people on the Internet uses those two browsers. Not making things easy for Chrome or Firefox users is upsetting 57.54% of the market. That is not the best idea.

      There might be a workaround by using Opera. But why should I use 1 browser just to watch Funimation shows and only Funimation shows? I don’t have this problem with Viki, Hulu, The Anime Network, or Crunchyroll.

      Also how many people are going to experiment using Opera and how many people are just going to BitTorrent and illegal streaming sites? Funimation REALLY needs to work out the kinks with their system. They don’t need to win me over. I’m already committed to watching their stuff. They need win over the first time users who might never come back after a few attempts to watch thing legally go completely south.

      BTW: I’m not saying I am not appreciative for the advice. It is good advice. I just wanted to make it clear that the important part of this is more to Funimation that they really need to fix this. I should not have to do the Internet equivalent of holding my TV antenna cover in tin foil to watch their content. That is just a good way of pushing people towards piracy. Which is what this while streaming initiative was supposed to curtail.

      Also anything where the answer is use Internet Explorer is inherently an incorrect answer.

      – Hisui


  5. The thing is that we shouldn’t have to change our browser for a site to work, especially if its two major browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.

    I have learned that their site runs much better in Chrome if you basically clear out everything on the browser: cache, cookies, etc. Also turn off plugins (or removing them) works. You have to basically start over from scratch, which is a real pain. Another thought is to try the browser in privacy mode first. That might help as well.

    Anyways, I’ve also have had issues with FUNimation’s site from time to time so I know the frustration.


  6. [...] Their site…is pretty bad. They have a large amount of titles, but I’m almost certain only a special few can actually stream their titles. I originally thought it was just my connection, because my internet has been pretty bad. Apparently, I was proven wrong. It almost makes me wonder if Funi wants anyone to stream their titles. It…truly is a mess on display. I’ll plead with anyone reading this (and resides in the U.S): can you play their videos? Because I don’t believe we’re hallucinating here. [...]


  7. I found you can get smooth playback when I directly go to Hulu.com find the video there and watch the video there rather then going through Funi’s proxy to Hulu. Something Funi is doing on their site (likely the bottom bar advertisement) seems to be stealing enough resources to disrupt the playback.


    • YES! -ALL that advertisement-insanely fast graphics, while trying to stream a video on the same page is just absurd. I’m ALL for Funi and love them dearly. but making a page for content, and keeping it completely clear from Raging adverts is a MUST …otherwise, as we all know graphics are inherently cpu hungry, will obviously curtail any attempt at successful streaming of content you are paying them to watch. I did a side by side w Netflix and it was night and day.. – In the same window even!
      Please…. Fix the damn player! (hugs)


  8. mm i do love this but the fact half the time i cant load the website or get errors saying the website is down. i have this issue with both at home and at work. i know i have the speed for this so it has nothing to do with my speed and as you had stated it some time hard to optomize websites but this is more then whats going on. come one funiamtion you can do better. i would pay for it if they can get there act togather on getting the website working better.


  9. I subbed to funimations EVS the day it came out, and instantly regretted it. It had me tabbing over to speedtest.net to make sure I wasnt having some strange downspeed issues. After confirming I was still at 50Mbps or HIGHER I was like …wat?

    so here I am over a year later, decided “man its been so long, surely they’ve fixed this stuff!”

    nope!


  10. it lags on my home computer, and my iphone. when i watch it at work it doesnt lagg. very weird. they use enternet explorer. i paid for the elite and bought the app. its anpain i cant watch it at home);


  11. I think it’s the fact that their site is not optimized properly. The way things load, the way the pages are coded are not only outdated, but improperly formatted. Everything from network utilization (leveraging browser caching, parallelizable requests, etc.), to web page performance (optimized order of styles and scripts, CSS in document head, unused CSS rules) are throwing up flags based on simple site audits. If they put some effort in optimization, that would go a long way (for customer satisfaction, and their bottom-line).



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