MSNBC.com Needs To Dump MSN’s Lousy Video Platform

MSN Video
I first wrote about this back in March and I am amazed that even since then, MSNBC.com still can’t get it’s live video streaming to work for anyone with a Firefox or Safari browser. And the worst part, they have no problem delivering you a 15 second ad in the player first, BEFORE they tell you that your browser does not currently support live video. So I have to sit through a video ad only to then be told that I can’t see the live stream I clicked on.

MSNBC’s video player has said it is in "beta" ever since it launched, which was at least a year ago. And it’s still in beta? The technology behind MSNBC.com’s video offering is "powered by MSN" which in my eyes is even worse. If MSN can’t provide the video functionality MSNBC.com should have, then MSNBC.com should fire MSN and use a platform that actually works. But of course that won’t happen.

MSN is completely clueless when it comes to its video offering if they think users are going to stay loyal to MSNBC.com as their news source when every other news site does it better. If MSNBC.com was smart, they would dump MSN video immediately and or fire whoever manages their video offering. But they won’t do that as Microsoft wants to push their IE browser on you, except that they don’t make IE for the Mac, so Mac users are basically just screwed as well as PC users who don’t want to use IE and prefer to use Firefox instead.

Last time I posted about this, some readers wrote in to say:

– "It’s not just Mac users. I have a PC as well, and many of MSNBC’s videos won’t play on it either if I’m using Firefox. If I use IE, then I’m okay."

– "I’ve also enjoyed using Firefox on my laptop, but i can NEVER get MSNBC video to work with Firefox on my laptop – it is so frustrating!"

– "Come on MSNBC, get your stuff together. If amateur webmasters can make this stuff work, so can you. You just don’t want to."

2007 marks the 14th year that streaming media technology was first used on the Internet and it’s sites like MSNBC.com that make the technology look like it has barely evolved in that time and gives the entire industry and technology a black eye. As much as MSN says video is an important part of their business, clearly their lack of interest in making their videos work properly says otherwise. It’s as simply as being greedy and wanting to push IE on us, including those platforms they don’t even make IE for.

Microsoft as a company has been late to the game when it comes to all
aspects of the Internet and video is no different. MSN, MSNBC.com,
Soapbox etc… are all behind the times when it comes to their video
offering. You’d think they would want to prove the opposite by having a
quality video offering but they are stuck in the politics and red tape
of a company that can’t get out of it’s own way.

My suggestion to MSN, get out of the video business. You have no
concept of what a good user experience is, you can’t provide basic
functionality that ever other major news outlet has been providing for
years and you’re insulting users by making them sit through ads when
they can’t get to the content they want. You can’t even provide a basic
player check to see if the user has the system requirements that are
needed – which companies were doing back in 1998.

Give up MSN. Throw up your hands and move on. You can’t win in the video game.

  • LM

    My guess is that we’ll be forced to download Silverlight in the not to distant future to watch MSNBC video.

  • jawrat

    yah, silverlight actually works. we’ve been doing dev work with it here and it’s actually quite nice. the only drawback we’ve had so far is that the spec isn’t quite nailed down, so things are bound to change. it sure is nice though.

  • Online video is often frustrating. One of the reasons YouTube did so well may be because they have a video solution that just works. Click play, watch video. Simple.
    What video platform do you think MSN should start using? I can understand they will want to promote Silverlight but will that be the best answer? Outside of self-interest what should it be?

  • John

    did you use http://next.video.msn.com
    It works on IE/Firefox extremely well and has a very smooth ajaxian interface. I guess, this is in incubation.

  • I can’t play MSN video’s on IE for some reason. No problem on all other sites. It’s very frustrating.

  • Ken Klawans

    I’m trying to stream MSN on my mac but having the same issues as others I’ve read. I reviewed Silverlight and love it…but have a probably stupid question. I’m not a developer…I just want to be able to use Silverlight to watch one or more live feeds.
    Is this program for developers only or is there any url that I can use the program to watch live feeds?
    Thanks-
    Ken

  • Eric Larkin

    Does anyone know if MSNBC offer Live Streaming? I live overseas and i want to keep on current events back home.

  • Jay Stevens

    MSNBC video player is not working again. This company is so damned incompetant I’m going to start watching CNN or CBS for my news.

  • Robert

    MSNBC video STINKS!!! I have tried it on PC with IE and Firefox, some work, most don’t. NO OTHER SITE GIVES ME TROUBLE. Come on. What BS is going on here? How can a HUGE site like this not have it together?
    ABSOLUTELY UN_FREAKING_BELIEVABLE! Hate them now.

  • Mike Keck

    It used to play on my Mac at home now it doesn’t in Firefox or Safari…the weird thing is it works on a Mac at my office. I have Comcast cable at home and a T1 line at the office…I wonder if that makes a difference.
    There support system sucks

  • Johnny Johnson

    It’s odd, some days I can stream fine, other days , like today, I can’t watch any of the MSNBC videos-
    One would think the website would have a troubleshooting link to help people having this proble, but no dice…
    My computer can stream fine on other sites, like youtube and sidereel- but MSNBC is very erratic..

  • Lyle Bialk

    Well it’s now 2010 and MSNBC streaming video experience is still the worst on the web. Microsoft should be totally embarrassed, but I guess they’re used to putting out inferior products. I thought better of NBC.

  • John T

    MSNBC videos do not work on either my Vista 64 bit machine nor my XP SP3 machine. I use Internet Explorer 8 on both and all I get is the message “Your video is loading” but it never loads. I think it might be time to give up on MSNBC and just use CNN since this blog shows they have had troubles for quite some time.

  • Louis

    And even today, nearly 10 years later, same issues, lol msn.

  • Barbs68

    Msnbc is not working well at all. The stream sucks.