Whoops: Lightbox suffers outage after major upgrade

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

Lightbox's marquee TV series – Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale – was one of the victims of its outage.

Lightbox crashed last night, following its major upgrade yesterday.

The Spark-owned video streaming site was still offline for at least some users this morning, going by social media chatter.

Lightbox posted this morning to social media:

Yesterday's upgrade saw a replatforming from Xstream to Brightcove.

In the immediate term, the move was coupled with the addition of movies and kids' options to Lightbox.

But as Simon Moutter noted at Spark's annual result, Brightcove offers two World Cup-friendly capabilities: the ability to live stream events, and support for pay-per-view (he didn't include it, but Brightcove also lets an online broadcaster inject ads into live content).

Yesterday, Spark told NBR that although Brightcove has livestreaming capability for events, it has yet to be enabled.

The telco has yet to decide which platform to use for the September/October 2019 Rugby World Cup.

I won't throw stones at Spark, by any means. Glitches happen with big upgrades. It's a fact of tech life.

Still, the telco is under more heat than most.

It could reasonably expect in access of 1 million to try and livestream the World Cup final at once.

No pressure.

Spark's deal with World Rugby also included the World Cup Sevens in July, but the telco has bought itself time by giving full coverage to its free-to-air partner TVNZ, which will screen all games on its Duke channel and stream them via tvnz.co.nz.

UPDATE: Spark responds:

Lightbox implemented a platform technology upgrade yesterday morning. The upgrade overall went smoothly and throughout the afternoon and evening, the majority of Lightbox customers were able to log in to the new platform and access their favourite TV shows and movies. However, the new platform did experience a technical issue for a couple of hours yesterday evening. While the majority of viewers would not have noticed any impact, a number of people were unable to access Lightbox or experienced degraded quality when watching content.

The Lightbox team deployed a fix at around 11.30pm last night and are closely monitoring the performance of the platform. The Lightbox platform is running smoothly this morning.

We apologise for the frustration that Lightbox customers experienced who were keen to watch The Handmaid’s Tale last night.


9 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

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9 Comments & Questions

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I used the updated version of Lightbox last night on my Apple TV; definitely looked better and easier to use (especially easier to switch between profiles) than the previous version.

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S**t happens.

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It is quite interesting that the Spark does not experience the same level of vitriol as Sky TV for what was a significant release issue. If this was a Sky product it would have been front page news with Sky frenemies baying for blood across social media.

Let's face it, Lightbox has not been tested in the same way as SKY Go in terms of concurrent logins or live streaming. The RWC is going to be an interesting test.

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Hear here.

Sky would have been blasted, slaughtered and comments would abound.

At least they have not had a major outage

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Maybe just because it has far fewer users?

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Hopefully the new update will make lightbox less of a bandwidth hog. I can run netflix on multiple TV's, have kids watching youtube and the other kid gaming with no issue. But if anyone tries lightbox it steals every bit of bandwidth so nobody else can do anything.

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Lightbox is free for Spark customers and for those who are not, and pay for for their subscription, it's only $12.99.

Sky on the other hand starts at $50 and then add on sports for an additional $30 and movies etc.

Thats why sky gets hammered on social media.

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Sky has been gorging on its subscribers for far too long.

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I have been trying to watch suits and outlander the last few nights and have given up. It takes a bit to load on and then cuts out frequently throughout the show - a circle appears and moves round and round in the screen. Why isn’t it playing smoothly

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