Letter to cbc.ca about archive format

I just sent the following note to cbc.ca regarding the file format of their archive material. Maybe this is a pointless rant but it would be nice not to have to funnel their WMV content through some other tool before being able to watch it. The "At Issue" segments tend to be worth catching if you want to stay on top of what's what in Canadian politics.

I noticed this awhile ago but I've never thought to mention it until now. I am gradually moving to a Microsoft-free computing life at home and all the video at www.cbc.ca/national/archive is only playable on Microsoft Media Player.

What would prevent the CBC from using a user-platform independent format for this archive footage? I would really appreciate it if it were some technology (flash? like youtube and google video) that didn't require me to use a particular supplier's software in order to view it. I do have MS-machines in the house. I would just rather not have to use them for this if I didn't have to.



David Grant said...

Yeah, their choice of format sucks... The mplayer mozilla plugin works for me though (I can fish out version numbers and stuff if you want). It looks like the mplayer plugin has two components now, mplayerplug-in-wmp.so (windows codecs) and mplayerplug-in.so. I had to disable the totem plugin that was taking precedence.

It's been a while since I watched the National. Are they always in-studio now?

Their feed isn't recognized by Firefox as valid RSS feed either.

Arthur said...

Thanks for your comment.

I resolved things for myself by installing VLC on my Linux box. It adds a manual step but it works. I'll look at the mplayer thing more closely though. If google can't get me there, I'll get back to you. Thanks.

At Issue is almost never in studio but always a lot of fun. After I watched this last episode with my wife she suggested it was becoming like a Canadian version of the McLaughlin Group -- only better: more polite, less polarized and more interested in staying on fact than on message. They and Rex (whether I agree with him or not) are my two favourite non-hockey parts of the CBC.

Too bad about the RSS feed. I haven't begun depending on RSS-everywhere so this hasn't bothered me yet. I cc-d the CBC that I was posting my letter here. Maybe they'll track it back, find your comment and improve the site in more than one way. Hope springs eternal...

Arthur said...

Apparently the CBC had already figured out there was a problem:

Thank you for your email. CBC.ca is in the process of creating a new video player. We are looking into a Flash-based player that will accommodate many different operating systems.

We hope to have that new player up and running in the early summer.

We appreciate your taking the time to write to us.

one step at a time...