Sports can be competitive. Who knew! :)

Steve just did a great post on how well we’re doing in the sporting scene, and it’s worth checking out over at the blog.


It does provide some basic common sense rebuttals to what MLB.Tv folks stated today in the CNET article. If you’ve not read it, then I’ll save you the trouble, basically Microsoft aren’t doing the MLB thing this year and now the MLB.TV CEO’s throwing down some comments regarding Microsoft and Silverlight.

To me, it’s one of those situations you just cringe, roll your eyes and wonder what all the hype is about – as well, there’s always two sides to a story right?

Ok, Let me look for myself

None the less, being an Aussie living in the US, I was curious as to what all the greatness associated with this whole thing was really about (I didn’t watch the Silverlight version of MLB.TV so for me it was always a “US thing”). 

I asked one of the guys in our team to fire up his browser. We went to the site and this is what we saw on one of the events.


A closer look for those visually impaired.


I was looking at this asking what the hell is NexDef? So I dug a little deeper via online and found this:

I’ve read a lot of users having issues, so upon closer inspection I think it’s Java?

Try updating your Java client

Also run the nexdef installation file as admin by right clicking it and choosing run as admin.

MLB.TV Support Admin

Ubiquity seems to be not relevant here


Ok, so despite the ubiquity of Flash 9 and above, turns out you need extras to have HD video via Flash? Well in the MLB.TV’s case it does anyway.

I’m confused. What is all the hype about Flash in this? (open question).

It’s also interesting that the admin rights are required to install NexDef, given the quote from the CNET article states:

First, baseball wanted Microsoft to make it possible for users to download Silverlight without having to possess administrative rights. When people are at work, it's often the company that possesses those rights and employees would need authorization to download the player. That frustrated plenty of subscribers, according to the source

Well, I guess that hasn’t changed then. Admin rights still required and anyone who has ever sat in a company with a SOE (Set Operating Environment) will tell you – bypassing IT is rarely ever achieved and watching baseball at work is also rarely ever embraced. None the less, why let the facts get in the way of a good story.

I’m losing faith in online journalism more and more

In the end, it seems an awful lot of free PR for MLB to raise awareness of the new season for baseball, we just so happen to be a great brand to drag into this mess.

What’s our rebuttal to this madness?

I like Steve’s comments about this whole thing in the second paragraph of the teams blog post:

While Flash 9 may have high penetration, the Swarmcast NexDef plug-in that helps power MLB's HD experience has virtually no adoption. Ubiquity here is a red herring – what customers really want are high quality solutions.   Silverlight has been doing that since its inception and already supports the ability to deliver true HD using IIS Smooth Streaming with no additional plug-in required.

That’s the main point here (for me anyway) for all, brands will come and go when it comes to using a platform, the fact there is choice is a positive step and ultimately the press can feed off this either way they can to fuel page views, but ultimately people are installing plug-ins.


Yes, NexDef has zero ubiquity, yet there you have it, installing not only 1 plug-in but 2!

Guess Ubiquity is somewhat over-rated?

Where is the real success vs. failure then?

Two years ago, the choices were limited to either SD on Flash or maybe HQ via Windows Media Player / Quicktime? Today… more choice in HQ/HD. In part, the first success story in all of this is the fact choice is now available!

Secondly, now comes the real metric that sites are unlikely to ever publish, just how many folks abandoned the experience?

As ubiquity maybe the flavor of the month in certain Adobe’s staffers eyes, but at the end of the day abandonment rates are where success begins and ends.

In my case, I bailed – well for two reasons, Baseball utterly bores me and the above experience just annoyed me. I’m not alone in having a bad experience as well.


Plug-ins don’t make bad experiences, you can though?


I think it’s fair to say both Adobe & Microsoft ship the plug-ins, what you do with it and how you scale/implement is entirely up to you. If it fails, then is it the plug-in or implementation of the said plug-in experience? It’s easy to throw the plug-in under the bus as being faulty but thankfully with the power of the internet, that’s a short lived accusation. Bless the alpha geeks with blogging power! 🙂

Case and point. A while ago, a journalist echoed Adobe AIR + Flash and security breach regarding Amazon + Flash Media server.  Adobe responds in kind,

this statement is inaccurate. All information transferred between client and server is encrypted when using RTMPe, not only the commands to start and stop play. No compromise has been made in the server software to boost speeds or security as claimed by the article – Flash Media Blog

It appears according to Adobe that Reuters got it wrong, and there’s quite a lengthy rebuttal from Adobe staffers. Which is fair, as if your product gets dragged through he mainstream press and you don’t get a chance to respond, it’s someone poor form.

Too long didn’t read, give me the short and skinny of it all.

Last summer NBC held the most widely viewed sporting event in the history of the internet with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.   For Beijing, NBC delivered 1.3 billion page views, 70 million video streams, and 600 million minutes of content (WOW!)  -- making it possible for fans to view every minute of every event from their computer.  Users spent on average of 27 minutes watching video on the site (vs 3 minutes on other Olympics experiences) which is unprecedented for Internet video.

Enough said. Silverlight proved itself with the Summer Olympics and will continue to do so for the Winter Olympics. Don’t believe us? watch the Winter Olympics, CBS March Madness on Demand (MMOD), later this week Masters Golf tournament and more to come..

Judge for yourself as that’s all we ask.

Comments (7)

  1. Funny…I twittered about this today after seeing the MLB.TV stuff.  The person with the HD membership (you have to pay 30-40 bucks more for it) finally got it working it looked pretty good.

    They  still have some funny glitches where it will pop up  the scoring summary of the game you are watching when the score changes and it is several seconds before anything happens on the HD stream.  So you get a warning something is about to happen…they need to get that in sync better.

    The FUNNIEST thing here is that MLB.TV has commericals in it and people are paying over 110 / season to watch.  Why are there commercials if you are paying to watch???

    I think the Netflix video quality looks better from what I saw than MLB.TV, but then again its not live 🙂

  2. Well done for efforts of trying to dig yourself out of the hole that the MLB CEO has dugg.

    There are so many points in your post that are inaccurate that I can’t be bothered to pick them all apart (NexDef was implemented to support WMV, not Flash) and I trust that you are right on that last point at least: people will indeed judge for themselves and see right through this cloud of smoke you’re trying to create.

  3. Garry Trinder says:


    There’s no whole to dig from?, the only persons that are smiling and pointing are the usual Adobe fans whom are waiting to see signs of “Silverlight failing”. Most folks in the industry just rolled their eyes yesterday and went about their day. Typically these episodes get amplified the most by folks from your community and less from elsewhere?

    As for NexDef you’re also missing the point. Despite all the prowess of Flash having “HD” streaming capabilities, a major customer still couldn’t use it effectively and solicited users to go the NexDef route.

    I get that you feel threatened by our existence, since you seem to have devoted a blog to Flash and Video, but to assume that we’re all a fraud is somewhat naive don’t you think?

    I had you pegged at higher maturity level and love how you push back at us where you feel Flash is misinterpreted but i didn’t attack Flash here, I simply outlined that it’s a situation where despite Flash’s potential, it went ignored and ubiquity wasn’t important either.

    So what is it that offended you by this post?

  4. Bob Mitchell says:

    Surely Scott, regardless of the suitability of Flash, NexDef or whatever, the only sure fact here is that Silverlight was not up the job and got ditched by a client for an alternative technology.

    Does this not raise doubt over the suitability of Silverlight’s suitability as a flash alternative?

  5. Garry Trinder says:


    Not true. I can’t comment on the specifics here, but plug-in choice had little to do with the direction taken. I will say it’s somewhat interesting to see at Adobe’s MAX 2008 this year all of the keynote material were the same ones found at Microsoft’s MIX2007. One would even say a big coincidence huh? 🙂

  6. Bob Mitchell says:

    @Scott – but surely is Silverlight the best choice it would still be in use?  Is it anymore complicated than that?

  7. Garry Trinder says:


    Not really. I’d love to disclose further but it’s not appropriate to do so via forums like this. Suffice to say, MLB.TV appears to be plagued with more issues now than they had with Silverlight? so to be fair, what is the best solution is still an open question is it not?

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