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TNT doesn’t like Mac users

I was sitting on the couch the other day and relaxing when my wife yelled to me from the other room: David! My Mac’s not working! I love those highly specific descriptions of a problem. I asked for a little more clarity. I’m trying to watch a video and it’s…

tnt_logo2I was sitting on the couch the other day and relaxing when my wife yelled to me from the other room:

David! My Mac's not working!

I love those highly specific descriptions of a problem. I asked for a little more clarity.

I'm trying to watch a video and it's not working!

I dragged myself off the couch and over to my wife's MacBook. She was on the TNT site and trying to watch an episode of Raising the Bar. She would click on "watch a full episode" and a blank screen would appear where the viewer normally would be.

It was not immediately apparent what the problem was. A poorly installed codec? A broken web page? I rummaged around for a little while and found that the TNT support site stated that they didn't support Macs for viewing their shows. Why? Here's what the support site says:

 
TNT.tv would like to apologize for not being able to accommodate Mac users.
The issue is related to the Windows Media Player, specifically video with Digital Rights Management (DRM). This is because the WMP for the Mac is not supported directly by Microsoft . Our agreement with the studios that produce the shows stipulates that their content be protected (full episodes) from piracy with DRM software.
Additionally, WMP is more universal than other platforms like QuickTime and Flash Video for distributing protected content.
 
What they should have said was "We're really sorry that we didn't put a little Javascript up front to detect a Mac and indicate to you that we don't support your platform. No, we'd rather that you waste your time trying to figure out what the problem is first, then search through our support site to learn this little gem."
 
I also love the statement that WMP is more universal than other platforms "like QuickTime and Flash". WMP is more universal than Flash Video?!? Um, no, it's not. According to Stat Owl, Flash content reaches 94.66% of internet viewers and Windows Media Player has a 73.9% market share (June '09 stats).
 
That leaves over 21% of the population that can watch Flash based video unable to view TNT's content. That's over 65 million people in North America. Apparently TNT is all full up on market share and doesn't need access to that demographic.
 
I didn't share all of this with my wife of course. I simply told her that she couldn't watch any TNT shows because their web site was broken. Sure, I could have loaded up Windows in a VM, fired up Internet Explorer and watched the video or maybe even found some solution to this little problem from a technical standpoint. In the end though I'd rather just mark TNT as a fail, write a rant about it and tell my wife to find something else to watch.

 

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By David Alison

I bought my first Mac almost 24 years ago when DOS ruled the world. I didn't keep it too long though. I was just kicking off my career as a software engineer and needed to go with PCs. I bought my 2nd Mac in February of 2008. I didn't expect that I would find myself using the machine as much as I have. It's not that I hate Windows (well, I pretty much hate Vista but XP is a fine OS), it's just that I find myself constantly playing with this machine.

I'll share with you here my experiences of making the move from Windows to Macintosh. I still have a foot in both worlds, hence the name of my section.