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The New York Times: All the video that doesn't fit

10/29/07

Permalink 05:09:30 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 423 words   English (US)
Categories: News, Video

The New York Times: All the video that doesn't fit

Apparently, the New York Times has not figured out how to deliver video on its web pages. They have some videos by David Pogue, and I tried watching them.

Oh, the obligatory 30-second commercial that you see the first time you watch the video works flawlessly, in all of the browsers I tried (Seamonkey, Firefox and even Internet Explorer).

But when I tried to watch the video, typically I noticed that it would stall, that it would sit for long periods before it would start up again, and in some cases the period it had stalled for was so long I closed the browser and tried reloading it. I typically stay far away from Internet Explorer because of the security problems, but I decided to use it for this particular function: the audio didn't seem to stall but the video couldn't keep up.

Also, it's got a radio button to select a low bandwidth version, only it doesn't work. Also, any sane video displayer typically does some caching of the video to allow for it to continue if there are network drop outs or the internet connection drops off. Apparently the NYT's video display system isn't sane, it never does any precaching of the content which it is about to display.

It also has controls for pause and play. Once you pause, it may or may not start up again. Also, it has deceptive-looking controls to supposedly allow you to change where in the video it was at, i.e. so that you can go back if you missed something. (Since it doesn't cache, you can't go forward, obviously.) This feature doesn't work either. Use it, and you lose it; the video won't work again, and you basically have to reload the page and start over.

I find it interesting that I've watched several dozen videos from You Tube, all of which work flawlessly, and yet the New York Times can't even get a simple video player to work. I checked and they also work on Internet Explorer, too. Even when YouTube stalls - which happens - you can still back up the player and see previous parts, and the few times it does happen, it often causes the stall to release, allowing the video to continue.

They're never going to notice me, but if I could give any advice to the New York Times, if you can't get video to work right, either don't offer it, or maybe pay You Tube or somebody to figure a way for you to properly offer video that works.

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