I’m taking my family to watch Live Earth at Wembley today; whatever their interests, I’ve always encouraged them to watch things “live” rather than on television. So we land up in the strangest of places every now and then.
This time around, we booked a hotel in London to make a weekend of it, and I woke up at the crack of dawn as I am wont to do.Â My wife was reading the paper in bed, and remarked that the concert line-up timings had been published. That triggered something in me, and I decided to try out the Live Earth on MSN coverage.
I guess I wasn’t expecting much. After all, I was on a Mac, on what passes for wireless in a London hotel, about to try and watch something via MSN that was sponsored by Chevy. Shall we say the omens were not good?
This is the site I went to. This is what I saw when I tried, somewhat pessimistically and resigned-to-my-fate-ically :
LIVE EARTH: THE CONCERTS FOR A CLIMATE IN CRISIS
THE CONCERT IS AVAILABLE FOR MOST INTERNET BROWSERS,
BUT FOR THE BEST VIEWING EXPERIENCE, USE INTERNET EXPLORER
We believe you are using a browser other than Internet Explorer. To proceed, choose the single video youâ€™d like to watch:
To watch all concerts in a single player and at the highest quality, close this window, start Internet Explorer and browse to http://liveearth.msn.com.
In Internet Explorer you can:
- Simultaneously view updated status for artists at all venues
- See constantly updated information on all concerts
- Toggle between any concert venue you wish and watch additional â€œgreenâ€ footage
And my heart sang. Some of you may be purists who want a lot more, but I hope and pray this is the shape of things to come.
I was no longer being forced by Microsoft to use Internet Explorer to watch an event live on MSN. I could choose another browser. My choice. Connected not channelled.
Far more importantly, I was no longer being forced by Microsoft to use their OS. I could choose another operating system. My choice. Connected not channelled.
In the past, whenever I didn’t go “native”, I had a serious degradation in quality; do you remember MSN Messenger on a Mac in the early days?Â This time, thankfully, the QuickTime quality was quite acceptable. If I used Firefox and tabbed my way along, I could move from venue to venue, but what I couldn’t do was figure out how to manage the audio sensibly.
This was more like it. Next time around I expect to see other browsers offer more differentiating services, all around the same video content. Connected not channelled.
Anyone at the BBC listening? I cannot believe the decisions they made, especially when they are meant to be a public service.