First to fall, the BT Sport app is fantastic. I have little to complain about other than the following.
The BT proprietry keyboard to log in is quite honestly, awful. I will provide several reasons. This at least applies to the Android TV and Fire TV apps:
1) For unknown reasons, you cannot use the device built in keyboard. This would enable use of the device's remote keyboard and make it far easier to enter email address and password. It would simply be a case of copy/pasting by using the Android TV remote up from a phone for example, or the Fire TV remote app for Fire TV. This makes it extremely convenient to log in, compared to the lengthy process of manually entering each character in the BT keyboard.
2) The keyboard navigation is very slow and the need to have to flick back and fourth to another screen for capital letters is poor.
3) The proprietry BT keyboard only encourages people to use weak passwords, which is a security concern. Example: I use a password manager for most of my things. My BT password was way more than 30 characters, therefore it was extremely secure. This proprietry keyboard requires the password to be entered manually each time, which only encourages users to enter less secure, shorter passwords for convenience.
4) I use a VPN for other regional content purposes. Sometimes I forget to disconnect the VPN. When this happens, the BT app insists that I have to log in again. Even if I disconnect from the VPN, I still have to log back in again using the ridiculously annoying and pointless proprietry keyboard. So connecting/disconnecting from a VPN affectively logs you out of the app entirely.
My email address is quite long and isn't one of the preset ones at the bottom of the keyboard. My password is also quite long, though I had to shorten 30+ characters because it was far too time consuming. I have several Fire TVs and an Android TV device and it seems like I am having to log in to at least one of them on a weekly basis for whatever reason. It is very frustrating and needless, because it could easily be avoided or made significantly quicker. Of all the streaming and other login apps I have, BT Sport is the only one that insists I use their proprietry keyboard, which is almost certainly less secure than the built in one (onwatchers could see you entering your password as you type it in. It encourages users to enter less secure passwords to save time).
Allow users to use the built in relative device keyboard.
Stop the app from logging out each time you connect/disconnect from a VPN
Ability to use a QR code and scan with a logged in mobile device.
Log in to a website and enter a generated, unique code. This is how pretty much ever other streaming app does it including Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer etc.
Thanks for the feedback @sputnik1nest
The code you see there is shared between a large number of platforms, so the keyboard is common between them all. On platforms that have better remotes (e.g. with colour buttons), we offer shortcuts to speed it up.
Using native per platform introduces more complexity and makes it harder to support, which is why it wasn't originally chosen. Given that most users only ever need to log in once, it was considered acceptable.
There are big changes coming in the next few months - one of which is how users authenticate. We've already trialled using unique codes to log in, and it may be the solution we end up with. I also like the QR code idea - people have become much more used to using them in the last 18 months, so it could be more viable now.
I'm surprised at the VPN issue. Whilst it's known that you need to reauthenticate after changing VPN, you shouldn't need to do so manually - just restarting the app should sort it. I'll ask the dev guys whether we can fix that. Could you please send me a DM with the BT ID you log in with, so that I can provide logs of your exact experience.
Thanks for the reply @DarrenDev
I would have thought using the native keyboard in any of the platforms was less complex considering a proprietry keyboard doesn't need to be added. No other app I have requires this. Have I got this wrong?
It's great to hear there are big changes coming, especially with regards to authentication. The unique code login or the QR code method would certainly be the most convenient login options. I'd be happy with either one.
Regarding the VPN issue, if this happens again, this time I will try force closing the app and trying again. It could well be the case that the app was still open in the background. I will check this again and get back to you if it still doesn't work.
Every time the shared code needs to call up to the native device, it means a custom integration. Different OS versions can mean changes to that integration - e.g. for one of the platforms we have to write new code every year to handle that year different to previous as they change the way the player works (very frustrating). On Android, you also have the ability to change the default OS keyboard, so we could get into complications with people trying to insert GIFs, emojis, etc
On most platforms, the safest way to exit the app is press the back key multiple times until the app has quit. This is definitely true on Android TV and Fire TV, as doing this will cause the app to completely unload (meaning fresh login on next launch).
Let me know how you get on.