It may be a groundbreaking high-tech piece of TV entertainment, but the interactive Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch is off limits if you happen to be using the highest-rated high-tech TV setup.
Bandersnatch is also unavailable on Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick. Try to watch it on these platforms and what you’ll get instead of the two-plus hour storyline is a 2-minute supercut of Black Mirror characters from other episodes saying “sorry.” And if you thought you could stream it from other devices to these set-top boxes: Sorry, that won’t work either.
But you’re not necessarily banished to watching/playing it on your laptop, tablet, or phone. Bandersnatch will work if you have a Roku, a relatively new smart TV, or a games console with Netflix. The company says it’s confident most users will be able to see the story somehow, and lists Apple TV and Chromecast alongside “some legacy [ie. super old] devices” on which it will not work. Ouch.
Netflix is playing a little coy as to the exact reason why its interactive story technology works on Roku (which, if anything, is more of a legacy device than the more popular Apple TV and Chromecast) but not its rivals. The company told Mashable the problem had something to do with “support”, but has not yet explained further. (We’ll update you if they do.)
Other interactive services, such as HBO’s Mosaic app, work fine on Apple TV. Perhaps Netflix hasn’t got around to updating its Apple TV and Chromecast apps to support Twine, the open-source programming language in which Bandersnatch was written.
Maybe it only had the resources to support a limited number of platforms and chose which ones it would service first almost at random — or maybe CEO Reed Hastings has some behind-the-scenes beef with Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and the Google guys.
At least Netflix was able to confirm that the problem had nothing to do with the Apple TV remote, which incorporates a trackpad rather than regular left or right buttons (you play Bandersnatch by choosing between options on the left and right of the screen). After all, you also use a trackpad on your laptop, and the game works fine there.
Regardless of the reason, Apple TV and Chromecast users took to Twitter to vent their frustration.
Oh. “Bandersnatch” won’t even play on AppleTV? Never you mind, then.
— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) December 28, 2018
When you wanna watch Bandersnatch but you’re using chromecast to stream 🙃
— Crystal Moss 💎 (@crystalnmoss) December 28, 2018
So the interactive component of Bandersnatch is inoperable via AppleTV, the mechanism many (most?) people would use to watch. Lovely.
— John Oursler (@JMOursler) December 28, 2018
Got both children in bed and asleep before 8pm. Got chilled Prosecco. Got chocolate. Bloody #Bandersnatch won’t play on Chromecast or on my Huawei phone. Ok I’m putting my pyjamas on and going to bed. Wake me when it’s available to play on my devices.
— Katharine Charles (@kc__2011) December 28, 2018