Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
Meanwhile on Twitter
Loading latest tweet...
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (Munich) with: Christian Etbauer

Ewwww - Watching Olympics On NBC.com Requires Microsoft Silverlight

Posted by Ben Nadel

A friend of mine just told me that NBC.com said that his computer was not good enough to watch the Beijing Olympics on their web site. That's crazy, I said, and proceeded to the site to see for myself. Then, when I clicked on the video link, I was prompted with this:


 
 
 

 
Watching Beijing Olympics On NBC.com Requires Microsoft Silverlight  
 
 
 

Ewwww! What is going on? Did someone forget to tell NBC that Adobe Flash is on like 99% of all computers world-wide? Who the heck was able to sell them on Silverlight? Had they [NBC] even heard of Silverlight when they were contacted?

Now, here's the kicker - my friend tried to install Silverlight and it alerted him that it could only be installed on Intel based computers. He, as a graphic designer, has a Mac that came out before the Intel chip was integrated. So, now, he can't use NBC.com to watch the olympics. Awesome NBC - way to use an inferior product to alienate viewers. And, congratulations to Microsoft for bringing back browser compatibility issues (er, um, computer compatibility issues).



Reader Comments

_MS_NBC - I don't think the powers that be cared about how many people would actually watch the olympics, I think the goal was to get more Shilverlight installs.

I mean the Vista / Mojave promo uses flash - why? Because they actually want people to watch that ;)

My AUD$0.02

Reply to this Comment

The Mojave site used flash because it's for marketing purposes and they wanted the lowest barrier to gather/track audience.

On the other hand, clearly MS is using the NBC Olympics site to generate Silverlight installs. The difference? I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that MS is footing the bill for all of the technology to distribute this content. To me it actually sounds like a good deal for both parties.

Cheers,
Brentholio in Denver

Reply to this Comment

There always seems to be a bias against MS in the developer community. I was taken aback myself when I saw that I needed to install silverlight. But the install was painless, and the online Olympic experience is actually very good.

Nothing that couldn't have been done in Flash. But if I were NBC and had the choice of MS Gazillion Dollars vs Adobe Bupkus Dollars for providing the platform for the online Olympics, it would be a no brainer!

And as for your friend running on an older Mac... that's always going to be the case.. Do you provide a lesser experience that anyone can use, or a richer experience that may leave some legacy systems out?

For better or worse, the Olympics is a high tech showcase, so if you want to enjoy it online you may need to upgrade from Windows for Workgroups 3.1

Gus

Reply to this Comment

Color me nutty, but isn't the point of a broadcast company supposed to be to broadcast to as many people as possible? Especially with something like the Olympic games which are supposed to be an all-the-world-included type event?

I am not saying it wasn't beneficial for the companies to make their deals . I just personally find it funny that those deals, and the reasons you've listed as positives, don't take the viewers into account - just all the wonderful benefits to MSNBC and MS. You don't find that funny?

It's their toys so they make the rules, but I just find the lack of thought about the end user a bit... well... typical actually :-D

Sorry to hijack and troll the post - I wont say any more :)

Reply to this Comment

@Gus - OK but what about the Linux users who have the (non-Microsoft) Silverlight plugin? We're banned from viewing the site because we're not using Windows. Doesn't that smell bad to you? I posted a screen shot at my blog: http://blog.olivermerk.ca/index.cfm/2008/8/19/NBC-Alienates-Users. Cheers.

Reply to this Comment

@Gus,

I don't really have anything against Microsoft. I use and love many of their products on a daily basis.

I am questioning the choice to not use the most widely distributed technology to showcase world-wide games.

Reply to this Comment

It didn't make a difference to me, since I'm already boycotting NBC, lol.

For the record, I haven't seen a single Olympic event and I could not care less. I stopped watching NBC when they pulled their content off of iTunes.

Reply to this Comment

meh, what kind of lamer wants to watch the olymics on the internet now tv, i guess they get what they deserve :)

Reply to this Comment

i especially liked how NBC makes you install silverlight then tells you're too foreign to watch. ripped it out immediately. sheesh.

Reply to this Comment

@Meh,

Even for people who watch on TV, its impossible to watch all the events (unless you are unemployed ;)). Sometimes, you simply have to catch something on the Net.

Reply to this Comment

@rob
"Color me nutty, but isn't the point of a broadcast company supposed to be to broadcast to as many people as possible?"

I think that NBC's idea is to make as much money as possible.

Broadcast t as many people as possible. What do you think NBC is? PBS?

I imagine that NBC thought they'd be able to squeeze a few more bucks from the event by getting a kickback from M$.

larry

Reply to this Comment

I was pretty annoyed when I saw it as well and protested for about a day by not installing it before giving in. Ah well, my love of the Olympics is greater than my distaste of MS I guess!

Reply to this Comment

(Sorry I had to)

"I think that NBC's idea is to make as much money as possible."

So you think NBC's mission statement is: "NBC, make as much money as possible." m'kay.

On a side note, you've just described the attitude that, in my very humble and arm chair opinion, is eroding Microsoft's mind share btw. Who can get excited about something that is only out to make the maker money? Of course companies have to make money, but when it become their only goal they become lame and desperate. No passion. It's sad.

They wont be poor anytime soon, but I do not envy them.

Reply to this Comment

@robi Except for MS's Mac business unit, I have seen nothing resembling any passion for either M$ or NBC for the last 10 years or so. When the accoutants are making the creative decisions, it seems to me that the company is about to tank. Maybe not immediately, but unless there is an intellectual and creative turnaround, that company is headed for irrelevancy.

Reply to this Comment

I love supporting my country,because I love my country.I have served my country for 23 years; But when i watch the olympics and watch mostly figure skating it makes me upset.OUT of four hours I have to watch two hours of figure skating.......come on!

Semperfi , Cribbs

Reply to this Comment

@B Cribbs,

Ha ha, I feel your pain. I happen to enjoy the summer olympics much more than the winter. People flip over the figure skating. I liked the movie - Blades of Glory - but other than that, I don't find it that interesting.

I'm looking forward to the women's speed skating events - something about those absurdly large thighs piques my curiosity.

While we're at it though, my other points of confusion are: Curling and Boardcross. These just seem like strange events.... Luge is also one of those odd events, but at least it's dangerous, which makes it fascinating.

Reply to this Comment

Post A Comment

?
You — Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Comments
Live in the Now
Oops!
Comment Etiquette: Please do not post spam. Please keep the comments on-topic. Please do not post unrelated questions or large chunks of code. And, above all, please be nice to each other - we're trying to have a good conversation here.