CBS’ decision to make Star Trek: Discovery a streaming-only series, forcing anyone who wants to see it to to sign up for CBS All Access, has caused strife among Trekkies for months. Last night’s episode of Discovery, “Lethe,” proved to be the tipping point for aggravated consumers, who noted that it took hours to watch the episode as they dealt with major buffering issues and site loading problems.
Up until last night, All Access has been relatively smooth. It was the sixth episode, however, that was met with complaints from fans who claimed they couldn’t watch the episode at all. Reports of serious lagging or the inability to watch plagued Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. Recommendations for VPNs, which would allow people to stream Discovery through international Netflix servers, flooded Twitter, as did requests for the show to be broadcast via standard cable.
Damn you, CBS. How am I supposed to watch Star Trek Discovery with it glitching every ten second. My inner nerd needs this.— Josh Webb-Thomson (@FightOnTwist) October 23, 2017
Ugh, not really. Horrible streaming issues today. @CBS All Access is turning into a big waste of money...— Atul Butte (@atulbutte) October 23, 2017
i'm pretty sure discovery tonight was pretty good but it was hard to tell because @CBS's awful streaming service kept disconnecting— Lee Scheinbeim (@Arrqh) October 23, 2017
CBS didn’t address the problems on Twitter last night, but Polygon has reached out for comment about the situation. Other reports suggested that problems with All Access had been occurring throughout the day, with users claiming they couldn’t get videos to load prior to 8:30 p.m. ET, when the new episode of Discovery goes live.
“It's been like this all day,” one fan wrote on Reddit. “I tried to watch an earlier episode and it's in an endless loading loop. Playing for five seconds then load screen again. CBS get your shit together [sic] it's bad enough you're making us pay for this, now it doesn't even work.”
It’s not just fans of the series who have concerns about Discovery not being available to watch through traditional network services. Producer Heather Kadin told Polygon she understands the frustration that people are dealing with having to watch Discovery on All Access.
“I totally get why people are upset,” Kadin said. “I grew up middle-class and my parents are confused that they have to pay to watch our show. But there is something amazing about being able to launch a new network and become a place that people may find stories they wouldn’t be able to find on traditional network.”
The problem, as people have pointed out on Twitter, is that they can’t watch the series and are resorting to less than favorable ways to watch Discovery. Subscription rates for All Access are still high, with CBS reporting double the number of subscribers following Discovery’s premiere than before, but it’s evident CBS’ audience isn’t pleased with the streaming method.
Star Trek: Discovery streams at 8:30 p.m. ET on All Access.
Update: CBS told Polygon that only 5 percent of subscribers dealt with streaming issues last night. The network’s full statement reads:
A small number of CBS All Access users, only about 5%, experienced problems with buffering last night due to technical issues with one of our delivery partners. We worked closely with them to resolve the issue.