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Ben Nadel at the New York ColdFusion User Group (May. 2008) with: Clark Valberg and Michael Dinowitz
Ben Nadel at the New York ColdFusion User Group (May. 2008) with: Clark Valberg ( @clarkvalberg ) Michael Dinowitz ( @mdinowitz )

Ewwww - Watching Olympics On Requires Microsoft Silverlight

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A friend of mine just told me that 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 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 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


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.

Brentholio in Denver


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



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 :)


@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: Cheers.



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.


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.


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


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



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.


"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$.



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!


(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.


@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.


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


@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.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel