Open Source Reporting::The Whitelist: Video Services That Play Nice

    by Mark Glaser
    March 9, 2006

    i-097c3f7c74a7f9d4ade5a455966f1c45-Reuters logo.JPG
    Since last week, I’ve spent a lot of time ferreting out online video sites that don’t play nice with a huge number of web users. These sites don’t let you view videos with the popular Firefox browser, or on Macintosh computers. First, I wondered why the new AP Online Video Network shut out Firefox and the Mac. Then I started a list of all the other services that shut out Firefox and the Mac — and you all joined in with gusto.

    In fact, that “blacklist” of sites that require Windows, the Internet Explorer browser and Windows Media Player has grown to 16 sites and services, thanks to contributions from six MediaShift readers/participants. I’d say this was a smashing success in the nascent attempt at Open Source Reporting, and I will of course keep updating the blacklist.

    However, I figured, if we’re going to call out the bad guys, why not also give a shout out to the services that have been thoughtful enough to support the growing millions of Firefox and Macintosh users? So I’ve started a “whitelist” below of online video services that do support Windows and Macintosh, as well as Internet Explorer and Firefox. Bonus points for supporting the Linux operating system and Safari or Opera browser.


    It’s possible that this list could become huge, so let’s limit it to national services (not just a local TV station’s site, for instance), and ones that market to a broad audience (not just a small niche site). The list will be frequently updated, so if the services change their support, we can add or subtract them from the list.

    Again, I ask you to suggest your favorite cross-platform video sites by using the comments below or the MediaShift Feedback form. Let’s give the cross-platform, open services the respect and attention they deserve.

    Online Video Services That Run on Windows, Mac, IE, Firefox


    ABCNews Free Video — Free video service works with IE, Firefox, and Navigator on Windows or on Mac. Note that the premium ABCNews video service requires Windows.

    Archive.org — Non-profit project to archive all digital content lets you see videos and movies either by downloading them or watching streaming video via a Real Player or Quicktime, both of which run on various browsers and Macs. (Thanks to A Cook.)

    Atom Films — The popular portal for shorts and animations has clips available in Real, Flash, Windows Media and Quicktime for Windows and Mac, and works with IE, Firefox and Safari browsers. (Thanks Bertram at Gugle Productions.)

    BBC News Video — Works with Netscape, IE, Firefox and Opera on Windows, and with Safari on a Mac (with RealPlayer). Note that users outside the UK must pay for this video service.

    CBSNews Video — Works with IE, Firefox or Netscape on Windows, or Firefox, Netscape or Safari on a Mac.

    CNN.com Pipeline — Pay service works with IE or Firefox on Windows, and on Safari or Firefox on a Mac.

    CNN.com Free Video — Works with IE, Navigator, Firefox or Opera on Windows, or with Safari, Firefox or Opera on a Mac.

    iFilm — Film clip site works with Windows or Mac as long as you have Windows Media Player, QuickTime or RealPlayer. Also works with Opera. (Thanks to Chaimav.)

    iTunes Video — Downloadable video store requires iTunes software, but it runs on Windows or Macintosh.

    ESPN Video (click on video for pop-up) — Works with IE and Firefox on Windows, and on Firefox or Safari on Mac. Note that the special ESPN Motion application only works with IE on Windows. ESPN says that Mac or non-IE browser users will still see almost all video on the site without Motion.

    FoxNews Video (click on Video link) — Works with IE, Firefox or Navigator on Windows, and on Safari, Navigator or Firefox on a Mac.

    Google Video — Video store works with Windows, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Macintosh, but paid video does require Windows.

    Reuters Video — Works with Windows, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Macintosh, and Safari.

    WebMD Health Video Library — Flash video works with Windows and Macintosh computers on various browsers.

    YouTube — Popular user-generated video service works on Windows or Mac on any browser as long as you have Macromedia Flash.

    UPDATE: Perry from the St. Petersburg Times writes in the comments:

    “More for the whitelist: Washington Post, New York Times, Martha Stewart, National Geographic all use Flash and it works on both Mac and PC for Safari and Firefox. NASA and Apple’s movie trailers use QuickTime. Disney, Warner Bros. Movies, and Focus Features let the viewer choose Flash, QuickTime or Windows Media.”

    When I get time, I’ll try to check all these and add them formally to the list. I realize that this list could get HUGE!

    • I think Atom Films is missing. A popular portal for shorts and animations. Most clips are available in Real, Flash, Windows Media and Quicktime for Windows and Mac (works with IE, Firefox and Safari).

    • chaimav

      Ifilm also works with Opera. (I use it with Opera and Quicktime)

    • perry

      More for the White list: Washington Post, New York Times, Martha Stewart, National Geographic all use Flash and it works on both Mac and PC for Safari and Fire Fox. NASA and Apple’s Movie Trailers use QuickTime. Disney, Warner Bros. Movies, and Focus Features let the viewer choose Flash, QuickTime or Windows Media.

    • Although in beta until next month, Open Media Network’s client is also available on IE, Firefox and Mac platforms. –Dennis

    • Jem Musick

      The video broadcast on http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/thisweek.html
      works well on Firefox

    • i run an after school program that teaches students skills in video journalism and theories in media literacy. we produce news stories and post them to our website. For now we are using Quick Time compression h.264 but not everybody has QT 6.3. what compression would you recommend for best cross platform compatibility. I was thinking flash but wordpress doesnt seem to like it…yet.

    • A Cook

      Add archive.org, which hosts an array of content covered by the Creative Commons license agreement.

    • Grrrr…this really angers me to hateful venom. To think that an online video “service” would not have cross browser compatibility is disgusting. What a dumb ass way to run a “business”.

      It’s like making highways that only Ford vehicles can drive on.


    • Al Forster

      That Yahoo & AP Management would allow Microsoft to provide a solution that requires Windows/ Intel PC based systems to view their video content is pathetic. Overt the past 30 years, I have seen Microsoft use monopolistic methods to gain unfair advantages over the competition. This is just another example of those methods. It is sad that Yahoo and AP Management are so Technically Inept. I have seen hundreds of better programs loose market share to Microsoft and the public has suffered by getting poorer apps and less responsive behavior from Microsoft when a problem is discovered. The minor fines that the court system issue against Microsoft proved that the legal system did not comprehend the magnitude of Microsoft’s Monopoly. The fact that the Yahoo and AP Management blindly let Microsoft develop a MS only solution only demonstrates their stupidity.

    • Mark Borg

      I have noticed that the NASA multimedia site, from which at one time you could download .ram files (for example launch footage) to view later, now will only seem to work with “windows” plugins. I feel this is a step backwards in open access to what is a government (read public access) site. Am I wrong in this assessment?

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