Tag Archives: compatible

Ads Should Not *Break* Streaming Video

After finishing season one of Leverage on Netflix, we’ve started watching season two on TNT’s website. Netflix’s streaming video has been great, and TNT’s has been decent enough aside from dropping out of full-screen for commercials…until yesterday.

Last night, while watching “The Order 23 Job” on our MacBook, we got to the final commercial break — and TNT popped up an error saying that the content required Windows to play. The episode played fine. Previous commercials played fine. But this one? The DRM wasn’t compatible with the player on the Mac.

Yeah. The DRM for the commercial wasn’t compatible.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if TNT approached it the way Hulu does when a commercial fails to play, which is to blank the screen for the duration of the ad (typically 30 seconds) and admonish you for not watching the commercials. Unfortunately, the episode didn’t pick up again.

As near as I can tell, the player was set up to continue the episode when the ad finished, and didn’t account for the possibility that the ad might not play. To make matters worse, the scene selection thumbnails don’t work right in Safari, so we couldn’t jump straight to the final act.

Because neither of us wanted to spend a lot of time troubleshooting, we just went into another room and brought up the Windows box to finish the episode. I suspect the scene selection would have worked in Firefox on the Mac, but haven’t tested it yet. I did go back later to see where I could report the problem to TNT, but the wording in their FAQ suggests to me that they’ll just ignore any reports of Mac problems.

I don’t mind watching reasonable ads to get a free service, but if the ad breaks, it shouldn’t take the actual service down with it. You don’t kick people out of a movie theater because the previews didn’t play, and you don’t send them home part way through an event because one of the sponsors’ banners fell down.