As the NBA kicked off the 2016/2017 season last night so did the league’s digital department with an update to the NBA app for iOS and Android mobile devices. The new update for both platforms has enhanced mobile viewing on smaller screens by zooming-in to the video feeds for bigger images, which helps considerably as there doesn’t seem to be a way to rotate videos on phones into the broadcast’s native horizontal format. (On tablets this isn’t an issue.)
The app has also added TNT Overtime where you can watch “enhanced live coverage” of NBA games on TNT at no charge.
And, for Apple iOS devices the NBA app has integrated CarPlay allowing voice control through Siri in your car.
But the new app design is overrun with advertisements. I accidentally clicked on one of the 15 second ads that play before highlight videos and ended up on some “Unicorn Moments Ice Breakers” screen that didn’t do anything (not that I wanted it to). Clicking out of that ad triggered yet another video ad that lasted 10 seconds. (See some ad screenshots below.)
15 second ads are rampant throughout the app, and occasionally you have to sit through a 30-second video. In fact, you can’t watch a single video without an advertisement. Luckily, there is a big “X” button to get out of video play. If you have data limits, be sure to turn of cellular use for this app otherwise you’ll be paying hefty overage just to watch advertisements.
On top of the video ads there are image adverts weaved into the schedule and news posts. These are easy to click around but because of delayed load times may cause an annoying refresh to the stream.
Load time for the app has also increased, at least in our testing. Luckily, there’s a cute little basketball that rotates while waiting.