So I went to check out the replay of last night’s phenomenal 4×100 Men’s relay only to find an annoyingly disturbing message: the NBC Olympics vidoes don’t “support” Linux. First of all, what kind of ludicrous claim is that? They’re freakin’ videos. If I’ve got the correct codecs installed, then I’ll be able to watch them. If I don’t, then I won’t. And what is this? 1998? Who still designs a website for only a select few browsers? I know I reported that the FAFSA website does, but at least theirs turned out to be just a warning, and it lets you continue anyways. Shouldn’t something like coverage of the Olympics be accessible to anyone, especially since broadcast coverage seems so locked down? They currently support 4 browsers: IE (Win), Firefox (Win), Safari (Mac), and Firefox (Mac). Sorry Opera fans, you’re not privileged enough to see the Olympics online.The bigger issue here is that the videos appear to be in Windows Media format. In fact, from the looks of the NBC Olympics website, the entire show is being run by Microsoft. Now my problem is that I can probably play their WMVs on my linux operating system, but their silly browser detection is preventing me. Things like this should not be happening to such an international public event.
Sorry to say NBC, but there are a lot of web browsers out there that are capable of displaying your videos. No one’s asking you to go out of your way to “support” them all, just don’t preemptively block them. Plus, is anyone else concerned that they’ll start doing this to Hulu and other network’s sites? Well I am, and I’m not one bit happy about it!