QUIBI - Turnstyle technology

Being promoted for 18 - 44 year olds and mobile only. Interesting concept, 10-minute videos with auto-format between portrait and landscape mobile only. Just another short-lived idea?

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Looks exhausting. Their quick pitch is that they allow the user to supposedly enjoy content the fullest regardless of phone orientation. But I watched some of their CES keynote and in practice, it seems like the content dictates when the user should switch between portrait/landscape. To me it looks like they’re trying to “silicon valley-ify” the old “pan-and-scan” method of cramming content onto lesser displays. Some big names behind the company though.

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From a Meg Whitman interview, she explained their intent would be for creators to film/edit their content in both portrait/landscape. Quibi then streams both but the one not being used is compressed based on orientation using the phone’s gyroscope. Claim is, this delivers a seamless experience switching between portrait/landscape.

In their CES keynote some of the demo reels were setup so when the onscreen character was using their phone, the user could change to portrait orientation and they’d see the onscreen character’s phone screen. So sure, the user can decide which orientation they want, but ultimately they’ll probably be missing out on some content.

The technology is interesting though. Could be useful in a more conventional application, like a motor racing broadcast with multiple in-car cameras.

Didn’t we already learn from the angles features of DVDs (which I believe were mostly only dreamt up to support porn to be honest) that people don’t want interaction with content? They want to disable their brain and sit there and absorb the content. Also, unless this new old concept is big with porn, it probably won’t get traction. (Or at least that is the popular belief about what pushes adoption of new formats and technologies.)


Well. It’s out. This NY Times article made me think of this thread, was trying to recall my initial thoughts on it.

Translation: We came up with a dumb idea, spent too much money on it without determining if there was any real interest, and now I need to find a scapegoat… Looking around I see: covid… Blame it on covid!!

When would there be a better time for people to watch content then now, when they’re isolating at home? Although, to be fair, it ceased to be possible to make additional content at the same time (although now is a great opportunity for animators.) Is anyone claiming they liked the service but stopped because of lack of content?

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I watch video on my 34" monitor or on the TV, not interested in a mobile-only video experience, the screen is too small to watch comfortably and you lose too much detail.

It’s not a bad service, but it is a solution looking for a problem that pretty much no one has. There is no shortage of mobile content; portrait videos covered by TikTok and Instgram Stories/Live, landscape videos covered by YouTube/NetFlix/Disney+ etc.

I started a free trial and didn’t mind it at all, but you can’t fix a lack of good content with app & feature updates.