Major League Baseball’s streaming webcasts unfriendly to Mac users

Walt Mossberg answers tech questions for Wall Street Journal reader each week. One such Q&A caught our eye:

Q: I just bought a new Mac and I love it, but I am a die-hard Yankees fan and I find that, with the Mac, I can’t watch Major League Baseball’s streaming Webcasts of games. Is there a way around this?

A: Since I am a huge Red Sox fan, I hesitate to help you … but I will.

It doesn’t work, because MLB.com this year switched to a Microsoft video format that the Mac version of Windows Media Player can’t handle and it doesn’t support the Safari Web browser that Apple includes on every Mac. There is a workaround: download and use Firefox, instead of Safari; and download and install Flip4Mac, a free program that allows QuickTime to handle the newest Windows Media video format. You can get it at: http://flip4mac.com/

But even this solution is seriously flawed. The problem — and the Flip4Mac people are working on it — is that it plays only for a few batters or so, and then you have to restart it by relaunching the TV feed in the Web site. This is a pain, but it does work, sort of.

A better solution is to simply run Windows on your Mac, and then play the MLB videos on that. I do this using a product called Parallels desktop, which runs Windows inside a window on your Mac. It’s available at: http://www.parallels.com

Full article with more questions and answers here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wrong and wrong! The answer isn’t use some half-baked workaround or run some half-baked OS, the answer is for MLB to use a proper cross-platform video delivery method. QuickTime is one answer that springs immediately to mind. The problem here isn’t Macs, the problem is MLB.com and their bad decision to ghettoize Mac users when perfectly reasonable cross-platform answers exist.

Let’s ask MLB.com why they don’t value our business (by the way, you might remind them that Mac users have higher incomes than Windows users on average – you know, to pay for those box seats) and why they have idiotically chosen a video streaming technology that doesn’t support the personal computer users that are actually the most capable of buying MLB products. Contact: http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/help/contact_us.jsp

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Demand QuickTime! Apple’s QuickTime-based iTunes shows massive growth, to pass RealPlayer soon – March 16, 2006

48 Comments

  1. Baseball is a fun game to play that is exceedingly tedious to watch, especially by pumped up steroid babies. How many decades has it been since Baseball mattered very much to anybody but over the hill yuppies like Bob Costas and nerds like George Will?

  2. Jon, that’s not the point.

    The point is, the advice is — at best — hardly a workaround. We shouldn’t have to deal with this because there are many other ways to stream video outside of using proprietary Windows formats.

  3. Who is wrong here? The problem isn’t with MLB or or Macs. The problem is with greedy proprietary technology. There are many different codecs that will allow video streaming , QuickTime, Windows Media Player, Real Player, Adobe Flash, etc. But what MLB is doing is providing a Live stream while needing to manage that with some sort of digital rights management. Through my on research, out of a necessity to do the same thing, I have found that Microsoft Media Player is the only one that has a reliable working solution for providing live-live encoded video with a subscription or pay per view restricted access. The problem is that Microsoft is unwilling to license their DRM technology to any other media players or even allow that technology to be used in their own Media Player for Mac. MS will do everything the can to keep users from migrating to the superior Mac platform.If their actually is another solution for providing live-live streaming with restricted access, then I have not found it. When Apple has developed a reliable DRM for live-live streaming of video I would love to hear about it. MDN, please do your research and use facts before placing the blame on MLB and sending them a flood of emails.

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