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 team.silverlight.net blog.

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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.

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A closer look for those visually impaired.

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

http://www.mlbsupport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2257

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

Try updating your Java client
http://www.java.com/en/download/index.jsp

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

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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 MLB.com 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.

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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.

http://www.mlbsupport.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=27&sid=64f1271343889771bcb02938963d8d01

 

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

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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.