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Thread: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

  1. #1
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    Exclamation NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    I was prowling NBC's sizable Olympic Web site when I got the dreaded notice: while Firefox is supported in Mac and Windoze, Linux versions weren't supported.

    This means the considerable amount of online video available to other users is out of reach of the Linux crowd.

    Any ideas for circumventing this? (I'm running the latest Ubuntu and Firefox).



    Oops. Prior search missed this - another thread on the same subject in the cafe. Note the fact they didn't find a workaround either...

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...&highlight=NBC

    UPDATE: Partial Solution Found

    Thanks to the work of several members, we now have a partial solution; a Python script that searches out the Windows Media Player video on the NBC-Olympics Web site:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php...5&postcount=54

    Many still report sound-related issues, but at least the videos are playing. I've made as many overtures as possible to NBC and MS in the hopes they'll make changes and offer Linux users the exact same access to videos given Windows users who don't wish to install the Silverlight plugin.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: This Seems to Work For Most

    Progress has been made to the point that I sent my wife's Windows laptop back to her workplace: This post seems to have found the most reliable method for watching streaming video on Ubuntu Linux:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php...8&postcount=84

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Olympics Over, I'm calling this a win

    The Olympics officially ended last night, but I'm still watching video (3,000 meter women's steeplechase going now - a race I highly recommend). It wasn't perhaps the easiest video stream to get, but I really appreciate everyone's help in arriving at a couple useful solutions.

    Great stuff, and a good example of the power of community.

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed.
    Last edited by TCWriter; August 25th, 2008 at 05:01 PM. Reason: We're Winning the Battle Against MS & NBC

  2. #2
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    FF add-on User Agent Switcher set to 'IE' gets me past the notice screen, but still won't play.

    I'm downloading Safari for windows right now...gonna try it on wine, maybe it will work.

  3. #3
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    I was wondering this as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    I had no trouble playing video from NBC's "regular" Web site, so there's damned few excuses why they shouldn't support Linux on the Olympic site.

    Interestingly, when you register for the site, NBC's Terms of Service specifically allow them to:

    ii. restricting the availability and/or scope of the Service or restricting the availability of certain content to certain platforms (i.e., computer types and operating systems), or to certain users (i.e. streaming live and rewind video coverage may only be accessed by users who are customers of NBCOlympics cable and satellite distribution partners);

    Why would you even bother to spell that out? Anyway, they'll get the whiny complaint email from me (which they'll ignore). Still, you wonder why they'd want to kiss off 2%-3% of the desktops...

  5. #5
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    The streaming uses Silverlight. All of the articles I've seen on the online coverage also say that once the Olympics begin (i.e., a few hours from now), streaming will be limited to Vista users. Microsoft apparently has a partnership with NBC.

  6. #6
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    This whole issue does center around Microsoft's Silverlight, which I believe is available for Macs.

    Amusingly, the MS Web site ignores the reality of the situation with a lot of corporatespeak:

    Microsoft® Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.
    "Cross platform" - as long as it isn't Linux (or a non-Intel Mac).



    There is a Linux version in the works by Novell (Moonlight), though it appears to be far from ready.

    Interestingly, it's not all love for Silverlight on the MLB site:

    http://www.crn.com/software/209903322

    Thanks Microsoft (again). I've largely given up on your junky software anyway, but rest assured I'll never buy anything from you kids again.
    Last edited by TCWriter; August 18th, 2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Details, details

  7. #7
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    I'm seeing what I can dig up w/ Sopcast. http://www.myp2pforum.eu/watch-beijing-2008-live/

  8. #8
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    Looks like this stream is live - not sure what language it is

    http://www.justin.tv/live24_2

  9. #9
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    Ok, I dunno what sopcast is going to give you but what I did was just watch it on XP in Virtual Box. Right now I'm watching women's basketball Mali vs New Zealand. I know that's not native but it uses Msoft's blasted Silverlight and looks pretty nice. I'm sure you can try sopcast as well as streaming channels on ustream, mogulus, or justin.tv, but a VM seems to provide the best solution with the option to choose which event you want to watch. And there's no commentary so I don't have to hear Bob Costas ruin anything.

  10. #10
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    Re: NBC's Olympic Videos Won't Play on Linux

    Once again NBC will ruin and is ruining the olympics broadcast. Right now there are interesting competitions happening, and NBC is playing the Today Show. What a load of crap.

    There is no way I'm' putting the Silverlight - DRM laced - spyware crap on my computer (read the Privacy statement - the program constantly sends your computer info to microsoft and to the streaming web site - you can turn off updates, but the instructions DO NOT SAY if that will turn off sending your computer info. Plus it updates your system with fresh DRM **** = bad).

    Screw Microsft and even more screw NBC for cutting off a large population of non-microshit users.
    You have to ask yourself:
    Why would they use this software?
    Becasue they can manipulate, track, and get somewhat personal information about you. There is no other reason.

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