Saturday, December 16, 2017

Is Team Beachbody On Demand an Epic Fail?

BBonDemand

Literally for YEARS now I’ve been swinging at the fences about getting Team Beachbody programs digitally.  I’ve even asked the CEO in person at Q&A sessions when this was going to happen, and a couple of weeks ago they announced Beachbody On Demand.  At one point I had a blog post talking about ripping DVD’s for personal use so when I traveled I could still stay true to my workouts and was asked to have the blog removed.  I was so excited at a fitness person and technologist when they announced Beachbody on Demand……that is until I really read the details.  There’s a few things I simply don’t like about it.  The video makes it sounds great….but I have some thoughts.

How Do I Watch Beachbody On Demand?

To me as a technologist this is the EPIC part of the fail here.  There is NO ‘Digital Download’, there is only streaming, so no internet….no videos.  Also, how about all those people who will unknowingly max out their mobile data plans using the streaming option?  How well will it work on Free hotel WiFi where in some cases video streaming is limited or even completely disabled!  What about those people on residential internet where you have Fair Access Policies?

What I simply don’t understand is why, like the entire movie industry you don’t simply get a Digital download key when you purchase the DVD’s.  It would seem to me that a purchase and a 1-time use expiring digital download key has been working for years now on movies.  You’d get far better adoption and less issues if the content was downloadable one time for one data stream instead of constant over and over downloading.

If you cannot tell I feel that of everything, this was the least thought out decision.

What Programs Will be Available With Beachbody On Demand?

Well, here is the next part of the fail.  According to the FAQ link about only the following will be available for unlimited streaming with a club membership.

  • P90X
  • P90X2
  • P90X3
  • Insanity
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift,
  • Ten Minute Trainer
  • ChaLEAN Extreme
  • Asylum Vol 1,
  • Tony One-on-One (vol 1)
  • Hip Hop Abs

This is a very limited set of videos compared to what is currently available on DVD.  Refer to the first point I make that you cannot get the new programs digitally via streaming or any content download.  So, anything recent or newer (besides P90X3), your SOL.  I’m curious how they are going to handle the newer programs or if things will only show up for streaming when it’s “getting old”.

Beachbody On Demand via Airplay…

So my wife has been able to beta test the service since she earned a place in success club.  What I can say is at least watching the videos via Apple Airplay works from iOS and from OSX.  That was a nice surprise to see that work, but I will say I’m just disappointed at the approach they are taking here.  Streaming is nice…..but has a lot of technical limitations and they will only play via a browser not through any local app.  I cannot say enough….just offer Digital Content Downloads like every other movie studio AND have streaming as well.  All I am saying is that streaming a workout is a one trick pony, and  the first time the stream freezes, skips, or otherwise gets wonky…you end up ruining your workout.

Beachbody On Demand Final Thoughts

Personally, I’ll stick to ordering DVD’s and ripping them for personal use when I travel or to use via Airplay so I can get the workouts I WANT anytime anywhere.  Sadly I’ve offered tons of support and ideas over the years to them, but because I am not a founding coach, or million dollar earner, it falls on deaf ears.  As an avid user of their programs and a technologist, I would have hoped for more from this launch.  Yes it’s cool, but it’s missing a lot in my opinion.

Let’s see how this plays out in the end and if any of what I’m saying ends up being true or not, or if nobody cares.  Don’t get me wrong I love streaming movies on my TV, every once in a while and now that I have Comcast Business I can do that.  I know when I was in New Hampshire on DSL it would have been impossible, so my frustration is coming from a place of knowledge.  Streaming is awesome….but it’s not always the best to me when doing a workout versus lying in bed watching a TV show or movie.  I just see a bigger option for people with digital downloading instead of streaming.

UPDATED 3/23/15:  Beachbody On Demand

So I was in a hotel last week and tried to give the streaming a shot.  As expected, even with the “Upgraded” hotel high speed the performance and the streaming was less than spectacular.  This is NOT a specific problem with the Beachbody On Demand hosting, but simply with the hotel internet.  In my travel experience, hotel internet is always limited even when trying to use things like Netflix.

Also a friend of mine posted about how SnapChat is killing mobile data plans in the background, so I do expect to see people killing their data with this if they forget it is using it.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think the IDEA of accessing Beachbody programs digitally is awesome.  They even announced purchased content access is going to start up, I just think the delivery mechanism is limited based on your connection capabilities.

I’m off my soap box now.  What are your thoughts on Beachbody On Demand Streaming?  Comment below by all means

About Chris Colotti

Chris is currently a Field CTO for Tintri. In his role he spends the majority of his time talking to customers and partners alike helping develop use case architectures for the Tintri platform and software. He also acts as an active interface between the field and engineering/product management. Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years. Now he spreads both the word of technology and fitness along with the Team Beachbody Business through his blogs.

90 comments

  1. I have spent 3 weeks trying to get a new program (21 day extreme) I purchaed added to the purchased library. Still no luck. They have the worst customer service I have ever dealt with which says a lot considering all the cable co out there.

    • I have not checked my wife’s account for the added purchased items come to think of it. I have to ask her if they are there already. As a coach myself i have not had that bad a time with customer service, but I do have customers of mine I have had to help get things resolved that general customer service could not manage to fix. I do find it funny we compare customer service issues to cable companies in general! LOL that’s just pretty sad 🙂

  2. you missed the fact that videos are NOT being streamed via HTML 5, so whoever doesnt have flash player is OUT!, and yes, because you are not a million dollar earner they don’t care about your suggestion // on another note the team that created the site did not provide a compatibility chart with the most popular devices, i guess they were the “less expensive” solution

    • They are not FLASH only since you can and I have been able to stream on an iOS device. If they were flash only iOS would not work, so HTML5 or not they have worked on all devices for me.

  3. Streaming is extremely laggy for me. I have tried multiple browsers and all the tips they give in their FAQ’s. I have all minimum requirements. I will probably be cancelling my streaming account before the 30 days is up.

    • My guess is an overload of demand at the launch…I’ve not tried it again from home as of late. I have business class Cable Internet so if it hangs for me here…something’s wrong on the other end!

  4. I am extremely disappointed in BBoD, it freezes, kicks me off, doesn’t allow me to log in etc… I had about 2 weeks worth of decent access and then it all went down hill. I thought it may be my devices and service provider, after troubleshooting these areas I came to realize it was BBoD’s technology issue and not mine. Huge let down. In addition trying to reach anyone at BB was next to impossible when I was trying to cancel my 30 day free trial.

    • I’m curious where the back end is running, my guess is AWS and like any online streaming as the demand grows they will need to add capacity to the system like Netflix, Vudu, and all the others have figured out already. IMO should have been something they knew going into it.

      • I’ve checked. It’s an Akamai backend, with a Conviva player on the front end. Conviva is a ComCast product.

        So, I don’t get why it’s so buggy, and goes back to SD when I have a great connection. But yeah, it sucks.

  5. Hello. I’m to very disappointed in BBoD. At first I thought it was my laptop that was causing the videos to freeze and skip. I tried another laptop and had the same problem. The videos work fine on my phone but who wants to look at a tiny screen trying to work out? Thank you for your blog. I thought it was just me having issues.

    • I’m a technolgist at heart, and I don’t know the backend they are using but I do know that any streaming is dependant on multiple variables end user connection being one and the back end connection’s ability to handle all the outgoing traffic.

  6. I signed up for BBoD to go along with my 21 Day Extreme package because i don’t a access to a DVD. I’ve now been waiting for 2 weeks for my “purchased program” to be added to my account. I could not possibly be more angry…I suspect they don’t actually have the capability to do it. I feel like I’ve been cheated because I purchased the program and BBoD but I can’t access the workouts! Has anyone had success?

    • I’m not sure how long purchased programs are supposed to take to show up TBH, most all our purchased programs are on my wife’s login, so I’ll have to see if they are all there.

  7. I am a newer coach and have done the 21 day fix extreme workouts with my dvd player. My dvd player broke, so I have to use the Beachbody on demand. When I first tried BOD when it came out, I thought it worked great. I was using a samsung tab. But now I am using an RCA android tablet and also a samsung galxy 3 phone. When I use BOD on either device both are laggy. If I don’t pause then play real quick, the workout will start from the beginning. And now it is saying when I login to update my flash player. So I don’t know what to do. Both my android devices aren’t capable for flash. I even contacted customer support and they really weren’t to much help. They only said you need flash to stream the workouts. So if they aren’t updated on their technology they are going to lose customers. Sorry for the rant.

    • I only have iOS devices which don’t support flash so those must be using HTML5. Also I have no idea if they have dynamic capacity to stream more during peak hours and if they are tracking any of that like Netflix. They have ventured into a new area with BBOD and I’m not convinced they have all the bugs worked out even though many other companies have figured it out like Amazon and Netflix.

      • Use puffin browser, it streams flash. Also, couldn’t you just screencast a workout and download to your device for travel? Seems to me that would overcome the hotel internet issues. I hope they eork out the bugs, seems like an awesome idea.

  8. I wish this was an option. I only have Internet on my phone, bc in rural areas, Internet is not only expensive, it’s also capped. Would be nice to have a digital download key; I’d be more inclined to purchase more DVDs.

  9. TravelswithaGourmet

    Just bought CIZE and would love to rip it so I can use it on my iPad when I travel. How can I do this?

  10. I’m in the free thirty days of streaming. And I can’t get AirPlay to work to see it on my tv. Also my recent purchase of Cize has not shown up. I like how you can try some of the ones that you don’t have. But I’m not sure I’m going to keep it up.

  11. I signed up BBOD last month and was ready to cancel it until I tried it on my android device. It works fine there but on my laptop and everywhere else, serious freeze and lagging issues. It’s very frustrating because the android device(Midnight g box) isn’t always available so then I have to stick with the issues. I wish there was an app or they would just fix the issues. I also think it sucks that 21 day fix isn’t on there to stream and only all of the older programs.

    • If you purchased the 21 day fix it is available under purchased programs.

      • Kevy Nathalie Alcindor Rangel

        how does that work? so if your BB username shows that you purchased X program under that login, if gives you access to it? Thank you

        • Yes you should have access to your purchased programs as log as you ordered it with the same login ID…we always order under the Team Beachbody site since we are coaches and use the same login. Not sure how it works if you ordered from the TV, or beachbody.com sites though. There is multiple places to order from but the on demand is a separate site and not sure which logins other than TeamBeacbody.com logins it’s tied to. Like I’ve said their IT structure is horrible.

  12. Alice @ The Owl's Skull

    I do love the Du Jour workouts. I tend to get bored really easily, and this content keeps the workouts I am doing fresh. I’m typically excited to see what the daily selection is.

  13. Kevy Nathalie Alcindor Rangel

    Hello Chris. This post was EXTREMELY helpful in the sense that, it seems that BOD is limited on the offer.
    I will rethink on whether subscribing to it and i will really appreciate if you can direct my on how to rip the DVDs as i am a frequent traveler…. Thanks

    • I’ve used a couple programs tat work but it’s a “crapshoot” do to speak. Mac DVDRipper sometimes does, but you have to pay for a couple that have good reviews and give them a try. The free tools generally don’t work well.

  14. ya, it’s annoying that even after I pay for my 21 day fix DVD set, I still have to pay $13 a month if I want to watch them on my computer vs. my dvd player (which is collecting dust somewhere). I hope they get their act together soon.

  15. The real problem lately is the total number of 503 service unavailable errors. You pay for a subscription, then you try to use it and you get a Maintenance page when you go to start your workout. You might be traveling with no DVD’s taken your BB Pre-workout drink and then Poof…..no way to access your workout for the day. I have to say the lack of Service Level on the streaming is crap. It again puts a huge exclamation point on the fact that streaming alone is garbage especially when you cannot keep the service available 99.999 percent of the time for paying customers. I’m so annoyed it’s dow yet again and I have to find something else to do like post about how poor the service is.

  16. None of this streaming, web browser silliness. BoD will not take off until they have a dedicated app (iOS and Android) that allows you to store digital content locally like DropBox or Google Drive does. It’s simple enough. Now the tech gurus at Beachbody just have to get it done.

    • Their tech is sub-par. Look at the Team Beachbody Website….it’s archaic, not even mobile friendly and it’s awful to navigate. I’d say they spend more money on infomercials and they could be spending some money on decent technology…..coming from the tech guy that writes a tech blog 🙂

    • Their tech is sub-par. Look at the Team Beachbody Website….it’s archaic, not even mobile friendly and it’s awful to navigate. I’d say they spend more money on infomercials and they could be spending some money on decent technology…..coming from the tech guy that writes a tech blog 🙂

  17. Would you be willing to create a subsciption-based streaming product that allows you to download content, thereby allowing people to get all of their products for free? If you could download them, many people would spend the one month trial period downloading all of the workouts, then opting out before they have to pay.

  18. I was just going to buy CIZE to have the on demand option but if it’s not even offered , and there are problems with the streaming, there’s no point. Thanks for the article and information.

  19. BIG ISSUE: Free isn’t Free (And I’m not talking about Freedom). Wanted to try the 30-day Free Trial. Entered my info with my cc, received my acceptance e-mail, clicked to sign-in, got punched in the gut with “You must upgrade your membership to enter on demand” So the “Free Trial” only come with a paid premium membership. So the not so Free Trial ain’t happening.

    • If memory serves they do not charge it until after the first 30 days. It’s standard practice actually on free trials. You see it with Spotify, Rhapsody and other streaming services so that’s not that big a deal IMO. As with all of those it’s on you to cancel before the day after the first 30. I’ve done many of those for other music services. Sometimes you catch it….sometimes you don’t

  20. Thanks for this site, as I was going to order this, it looked like a really good idea then I saw that I would have to pay quarterly. That’s a lot of money for something that may or may not work from day to day. Now I find out that some of the program’s I wanted to access I have to pay extra? That’s crazy, I’m so glad that I saw this website before I ordered, thank you for the information. There is another on demand site I’m going to look into. Thank you again, I would have been so disappointed among other things.

    • Don’t get me wrong it’s “Okay” but you just need to be aware of the pitfalls. I will say one advantage I am utilizing is the fact you have access to your purchased programs within 24 hours so you can start a new program while the DVD’s are in transit. I am using that myself this week as I start 22 Minute Hard Corps tomorrow while the DVD’s are still not here yet. I am working out at home though where my Internet is great.

  21. Why do you purchase programs when it’s a near 40 bucks every 3 months

    • Not sure your comment makes any sense. The basic CLub access to the streaming does not include all programs but does have a large library. If you buy a program and you have the CLub Membership you also get streaming access to your purchased ones. I would agree that if I BUY a program I should just get it on demand BY DEFAULT not requiring the club access for the rest of the library. My point all along is purchasing a program should give you digital copy access to THAT program since you paid for it. As I have always said the implementation of On Demand needs work. It’s pretty simple, you buy a program you get digital access to it via digital download and/or streaming for the purchase price. If you want the REST of the On Demand Library access….then charge the quarterly membership but in effect you are paying multiple times for online access to a program you already paid for. If that is your point then I have always said the distribution model is broken, yet easily fixable.

      • Thank you for your reply. Sorry my question is a little jumbled, I was over tired when I asked it. I would just assume that since after the trial period, there is a cost for the membership of nearly $40 every quarter (3 months). So I was trying to understand why some of the programs would have to be purchased if one is paying for the membership.

        • Because the library included with the $40 / quarter does not include every program only a select few. If you purchased a program then that also shows up in your personal library under “Purchased Programs”. You could never buy a program only have BOD and still have access to many titles, but maybe not the one you specifically want hence you buy it. I agree that you end up paying twice though…for the DVD’s then for streaming access to the very same program (but also the others you get included with the club). It’s a very grey area, but if they just did digitial download with your purchase you would buy your DVD, also download it to your iPad and never need the monthly subscription it is still a 1-time purchase. The trend is for many things to go subscription though.

  22. Been doing focust25 for two weeks . Now it keeps coming up there’s a problem with there web site. Just wondering if any one else is having the same problem. Dont know if its a trick by beach body to get you interested the cuts you off , so youend up buying the fitness program .

  23. So I am very much not a technology person, but I would rather use on demand than the DVDs since I have a smart TV. Granted I didn’t do my research before I bought a 90 day trial with a challenge pack.. no app on my Samsung TV for on-demand and when I use the Web browser the site comes up as a privacy issue and an unsecured site. I’m assuming it wouldn’t be wise to log in?

    • I would say you can try to play it but I have not personally seen if the samsung browser will play BOD. The fact they don’t even have a native iPad app when they released the iOS app is pretty sad. All I can say is see if it plays on the TV. The warnings are probably because the TV’s browser is not one they tested with.

  24. Hi, thanks for starting this string. I’ve had BOD for almost a year. It’s working fine in my home. I haven’t taken it anywhere. I was under the impression that it would add some of the newer programs. I think I have too much to choose from so I keep switching off and they’re not the ones that everyone’s doing now like 21 day Fix, Cize and T-25. I’m debating on either quitting BOD and purchasing DVDs or adding the programs I want. I’m torn as to which option. Any input?

  25. Hi Chris. I’m glad I found this. I am thinking about ordering Shaun T’s CIZE I’ve seen advertised. Debating buy DVD’s or join club. I don’t think my TV can connect to the internet, but I think you can buy something where my TV can connect to my home WiFi. What would that be? Also, I would like to workout sometimes in my backyard, so that would mean taking my laptop outside. No worries there, except you are saying the streaming is sometimes a problem. I am not a techie by any means, rather technologically challenged to be honest, but I was just thinking yesterday that if I paid for the DVD’s, why can’t I have a one time download? Just what, I now see, you have mentioned above. Also, would like to have it when travelling. I have limited internet usage and I think streaming uses up a lot of data. Is this true? My laptop doesn’t have a DVD or CD slot, but I guess I could borrow or buy one, just to rip the DVD, which I also don’t know how to do. I have a PS3, which may be able to allow my TV to connect to WiFi. What would you recommend?
    Thank-you for this helpful information before I spend money.
    Lynda

    • First thing is you cannot get access to new programs like Cize just by getting club. The club has some programs included but new ones you still have to purchase them (On DVD) to have it added to your club login. It will be added automatically.

      Now you can download 7 workouts locally onto a device. When I wrote this they did not have download, so now you can download to the device locally for use later.

      Just be sure you download on wifi so you can save data.

      • It’s worth noting that purchasing programs to stream through on demand is considerably discounted from the DVD price. Also their starting to add new programs. I believe they’re adding one or two a month (not sure about the frequency) they added two in June Master’s Hammer and Chisel and T25 Focus.

        They’re also adding a Yoga program and a couple programs that aren’t worouts but are directly related to beachbody fitness.

        I came into the beachbody scene recently. I got my BOD in May but I’ve been really happy with it. I’ve used it in a Hotel a few times and it wasn’t quite as good as at home but it was totally usable.

        • Oh it has gotten “better” and remember this was originally written from the perspective of a 20 year Information Technology professional. I will say don’t even get me started on the website and back office technology……that’s a whole different ball of wax. The main challenge I have had is the mobile data usage, and poor wifi on the road. My contention is still that digital download to laptop with DVD purchase is the best of both worlds that you can sync to your phone. Yes you can download 7 videos to your device, BUT you best remember to do it BEFORE you leave for travel…..otherwise you will be forced to try to stream or download on mobile data/bad wifi. I just think from a purely technical perspective there was and is still better ways to push the content so you can actually work out and not fight with the technology in the process.

  26. Thanks for the info. Came across your blog in a search about 21 day fix downloads. Getting ready to go camping next week and want to keep up some exercise schedule. Currently downloadong some free-with-my-Prime videos to my tablet, not, of course, Beachbody ones.

  27. sarosh arunkumar

    I have a roku player, works fine. I use it on my Nexus 6, kind of wonky using chrome, close out the outdated flash player warning and your good to go. Streaming on chrome on desktop works great.

    Use wifi when traveling where possible.

  28. I came across this post and didn’t see anyone state that YES, you CAN download for Offline use. I do this frequently since we take RV trips. It even asks you what size you want so it doesn’t take up all your hard drive device space. On the settings tab, click ALLOW CELLULAR STREAMING and ALLOW CELLULAR DOWNLOADS. I have been in plenty of places where they don’t have cellular service or wifi. I download mine prior and take them with me. It works great. They stay for 7 days so it’s perfect. I’m a coach as well and it was available on the first time I downloaded it.

    • I’ve had issues with trying to download the 7 allowed. I get to 5 and it says i’ve reached my limit and the 7 day retention is sometimes not enough for a long trip over 7 days. Their technology has always been sub par on the IT side of things.

  29. Does anyone know of a way to download to a laptop? I have the first generation ipad, so no downloading there. I don’t have enough space on my phone. I have a MacBook and would like to download there to use for working out at lunchtime.

    • You cannot using the on Demand app as it is only for mobile devices. There is no “App” for the laptop and the ONLY way to get on a laptop is to rip your DVD’s to electronic format. I did that for years on DVD’s I bought. Many people load them to a PLEX server for their own personal access and frankly I may go back to doing that since internet hiccups at my house this week have even made on demand unusable. The FireTV app does not allow downloading I think either, I need to check on that actually. I know iOS does so the AppleTV version might.

  30. back when Microsoft came out with Zune music they had the perfect answer. You can download all the music you wanted but you had to connect to the internet once a month to verify that your subscription was up to date and not canceled. It worked flawlessly. I know everyone beat up the Zune but if you ever had it you had to love it. Zune players are still sold on the secondary market at about 4-5 times the new price was. Microsoft’s first big music mistake was ending Zune music. The download would save Beach Body on demand. Connect once a month or a message will pop up stating that you haven’t in the passed 30 days and the programs won’t work until you do. Even then it’s only to check your subscription code no big download.

  31. Grateful for this article. I will be canceling my on demand. I’m so bummed because it really was nice to have all of these greats workouts all combined into one area and easily accessible (or so I thought!). Le sigh.

    • Per my comment above I am going back to ripping my DVD’s again and just loading them to my PLEX Media Server which allows me do download any number of videos to the PLEX app on my phone and it’s not limited to the 7 workouts for 7 days in the BOD app.

  32. I was thinking of signing up to try, but I absolutely hate subscription services that you cannot cancel online yourself. You have to call their customer service number. I have dealt with them before–not impressed. Hard pass

  33. I thought BOD had great customer service. They refunded my automatic charge when I broke my foot and ended up giving me an extra 30 days free during my rehab. I like that I can buy the DVD and stream it when I am traveling so I can leave my discs at home. I use my personal hotspot if the hotel internet is too slow and the streaming workouts use very little on my data plan. I turn my hotspot off when I am done. Of course, I am a little old fashioned and still carry a laptop when I travel. I like being able to stream a variety of workouts so I don’t get bored without having to purchase them all. I am pretty new to BOD since shortly after I started I broke my foot. But for the three months I did have it I loved it and I am loving the opportunity to use a variety of workouts for my rehab that I wouldn’t otherwise purchase until I get back to my more intense workouts in a couple months.
    The other benefit to the BOD that I don’t think you mentioned is the record it keeps of your workouts. I like setting goals and having it track my progress. My membership also gets me discounts on the purchase of the DVDs and Shakeology as well as gives me access to my online beach body coach for no additional charge.
    So far I love it!

  34. Hey!! When I download to my new ipad the workouts that you can download.. up to 7 for 7 days.. I download while on wifi.. but when I go to try to play them/use them in the offline mode.. they won’t play.. it seems like the only way I can get them to play from the saved files/offline mode is when it’s actually connected to wifi… do you know why this is or what am I doing wrong?? help!!

  35. Dumb question… does BBOD work via just a regular old Samsung (not smart) tv with Comcast cable (metro area)? Or maybe I could do via Hulu on my TiVo…

  36. I am also a technologist at heart and this app, while great content and idea, is simply not good. Problems after problems. This is the classic example of a company not investing enough into their customers and also the technology and people that supports them. Someone else will get this correct and BBOD will fail.

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