Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I do NOT believe they wanted to be doing that!

As Harry Enfield's "It's only meee!" character used to say. I'm talking about Demand Five, Channel 5 TV's on-line "watch television on demand" service.

Up until last Friday, I was watching Neighbours using Firefox 3. Yes, I know that's really sad! On Monday, I went to watch Neighbours and was greeted by a new Media Player window displaying:
"Your flash plug-in is out of date
Please download the latest version here"
No problemo, thought I. I updated my flash plug-in and went back to watch Neighbours, to be greeted by the new Media Player window displaying:
"Your flash plug-in is out of date
Please download the latest version here"
Uh-oh! I contacted the Demand Five Support Team informing them of my problem. I got the following reply:

"Greetings,
Thank you for contacting the Demand Five Support Team.
Please try to access with Internet Explorer..."

I stopped reading at that point as I don't use Internet Explorer. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

"Greetings,
We apologize for the inconvenience, since our contents are related with DRM therefore our service is only compatible with Internet Explorer. All other browsers (e.g., Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc...) are not compatible at this time..."

They left out Google Chrome! So basically, Demand Five just alienated a large number of their users by making their site incompatible with every browser except Internet Explorer. Thanks a bunch! (That's an ironic thank you, for the benefit of foreign readers).
As I really wanted to watch Neighbours, I ran Internet Explorer, updated my flash plug-in and off I went. Monday's episode played O.K. but Tuesday's episode stopped after the 15 second Weight-Watcher's intro'. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

"Greetings,
Please upgrade your DRM security at the following site:
http://go.microsoft.com/FWLink?LinkID=34506

The Demand Five Support Team
downloadsupport@five.tv
AM"

I clicked the link and pressed the Upgrade button. It didn't work. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

"Greetings,
Thank you for contacting the Demand Five Support Team.
Please follow the instructions given below:

Please open Windows Media Player (WMP)
In the menu area at the top of the WMP window, click "Tools"
If "Tools" is not visible, Right-click on the upper bar area on WMP and a Menu-list will appear
In the list that appears, choose "Options"
In the window that opens, the "Player" tab will be the first tab displayed
Please ensure that both "Download codecs automatically" and "Connect to the Internet" are selected
Please select the "File Types" tab
Click "Select All", located below and to the right of the list
Click "Apply", located at the bottom of the "Options" window
Please select the "Network" tab
In the "Protocols for MMS URLs" section, un-check "RTSP/UDP" and "RTSP/TCP"
Now, re-check "RTSP/UDP" and "RTSP/TCP"
All three protocols should now be selected
Click "OK" at the bottom of the "Options" Window
Please close Windows Media Player."

It worked. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact and also asked them why Demand Five couldn't be as easy to use as BBC iPlayer. I didn't get a reply. I have posted the above information so that you too can watch Neighbours....everybody needs good Neighbours....

UPDATE: The Demand Five media player now works with Firefox 3 and Safari. This may mean that it now also works with Opera & Chrome.
According to the support page, it's still not compatible with Firefox 3, so don't tell Demand Five in case they mess it up again!

3 comments:

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The world should light candles in homage to the pathologically obsessed first adopters, for they lead the way. But where are they going?
Does Demand five define their audience as those who still use IE or Netscape? And that is totally incompatible with the chinese puzzle box instructions for DRM update.
Keep leading (you are certainly on the path less travelled) and some of us will follow.

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

I have no idea what went through the minds at Demand Five. I'm sure that Firefox and the other browsers work with Media Players that use Digital Rights Management. I don't know why Demand Five uses Adobe Flash Player 10 but still needs Windows Media Player for DRM.

BBC's iPlayer uses Adobe Flash Player 10 and it works with Firefox - even Mac users can use it and it remembers where in the playback it was if it's interrupted. God Bless Auntie Beeb!

ITV Catch Up uses Microsoft Silverlight, the only Media Player I've seen where the video and sound can sometimes drift out of synch!

Channel 4 uses Windows Media Player 11, which works fine.

Do you watch much TV on-line, if at all?

Rosso said...

Blimey last time I saw Neighbours it was on BBC 1.

Have you heard of an American show called Fringe? Its the new X files, you'll love it.

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