Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Science and Technology » Why You Can’t Watch Videos on ABC.com, CWTV.com, or Fox.com

Why You Can’t Watch Videos on ABC.com, CWTV.com, or Fox.com

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest7Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

It all started when the hubby and I wanted to watch the pilot for Life On Mars.  After realizing that I did not set the TiVo for the pilot (likely due to our excitement over the Supernatural episode that evening), we had no worries, for we could catch it online at our leisure.   

After all, we’ve done it many times before.  Our outmoded DirectTV receiver earlier in the year kept screwing up during ABC broadcasts and ruining our Lost recordings.  We went to ABC.com, selected the full episodes list, clicked on the episode we eagerly wanted to check out and…nothing.  No warnings, no errors, no nothing.   

Given that both the hubby and I are Information Technology professionals, we did what any normal geeks would do.  We sought answers on the Internet.  Surely we weren’t the only people having this problem.  Sadly, we found we weren’t.  After swarming through pages and pages of similar complaints on the ABC.com boards, there were no answers.   

I'm Getting To The Bottom Of This 

Leave it up to me to dig in for the rest of the evening and go into my technical troubleshooting mode.  I built a long and successful career on finding issues with applications as a Software Quality Engineer and I wasn’t about to be deterred.  After all, I’m running the most common setup out there.  Windows Vista with the Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 browser.   

It wasn’t long before I found that the new HD player that ABC.com recently implemented is provided by a company called Move Networks.  Their player needed to be downloaded and for some reason that download wasn’t happening.  I looked on my list of programs and found I already had a Move media player installed.  I guess ABC.com didn’t see that.   

No problem, I know what to do in those situations.  Delete and reinstall.  Using the Windows Vista uninstall programs utility, I removed the media player and went back to ABC.com.  That prompted something!   I was now given the option to install the player, which I did.  I selected the pilot again, the commercial played, it got to the episode and…nothing.  This time it was a white swirly thing that wouldn’t stop.   

One Google search on Move Networks later and I found they also provide the players for The CW and Fox.  I went to those sites to play videos and got the same problem.  This was especially troubling for me since Supernatural on The CW is my favorite show and I need my regular Winchester fix.  Fox is a non-issue though because their stuff is also on the very much working Hulu.com.   

My search then found a set of troubleshooting checklists provided by Move networks and other miscellaneous advice from some techie forums.  I chose to use CWTV.com as my test site since ABC’s is too cumbersome and clunky.  This is where the real fun began (for a weird techie anyway).   

I checked if I had the latest version of Adobe Flash.  Yes I did, but I uninstalled the player and reinstalled to be sure.  That didn’t help.  I then checked if I had the latest version of Java.  Nope, so I downloaded the updated version and installed that.  Same problem.  I cleared all the cache on my IE Browser, irritating me to no end because then I had to retype in all my passwords at the various Web sites I frequent.  Same problem.  I found cookies were being blocked, so I enabled them through my IE security settings for the ABC, CW and Move Network sites.  The blocked cookies message at the bottom went away, but the video still didn’t play.   

I found to link to check if I had the proper high speed bandwidth (since video streaming is not dial-up friendly).  Yep, I had plenty.  I tried the video initialization test on the Move Networks site.  That test didn’t play videos either and didn’t give me any reason why.   I turned off the pop-up blockers.  Nothing.  I even got reckless enough to try their completely implausible suggestion of turning off anti-virus.  Still no video, so I immediately turned that back on.     

I then read a suggestion that my Internet Service Provider could be blocking the transmissions.  By this time, I had also tested this on my old Windows XP laptop (where the videos used to work) and my husband’s PC and got the same results.  That suggestion actually seemed plausible.  So while away one weekend, I tried the sites with a different service provider.  Same problem.   

So, normally that’s when people give up and go to iTunes or BitTorrent.  I gave up on this for a week, until the World Series came on.  I went to the ESPN Gamecast, something I’ve always reliably used, and it wouldn’t run.  I checked the list of sites running this Move Media player and sure enough, ESPN.com was one of them.  Now I was mad.   

Now For The Real Techie Stuff 

Since I know a thing or two about Javascript from my years of testing the Netscape browser, I went back to CWTV.com.  This site was so far the most promising, for it was the only one that actually gave me some sort of error.  I got the source code from the browser and started poring through it.  I found the player links, and tried running this link on my IE browser. http://player.movenetworks.com/pub/BAC0AE93/movenetworks.js.  I got the following error message:

Script:  c:\Users\xxxx\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\xxxxxxxx\movenetworks.js
Line:    177
Char:    1
Error:   'window' is undefined
Code:  800A1391
Source:  Microsoft JScript runtime error 

Eureka!  An error.  Yes, such things excite technical troubleshooters like me because it’s finally a clue.  I went back to Google for more research on that error and got my answer.  ‘Window’ is not a proper trigger for JScript, which is what Internet Explorer uses.  In other words, this video player was not programmed for the Internet Explorer browser. Further digging revealed Microsoft uses the Windows Script Host (WSH) to trigger JScript, while Javascript, used by Mozilla, an open source XML/XHTML browser, uses ECMA to trigger scripts.  ‘Window’ is valid in Mozilla and any browsers powered by Mozilla should work.     

So What’s The Solution? 

I downloaded and installed the Firefox Web browser.  I went back to CWTV.com and was prompted to install Adobe Flash and the Move Network Player again.  I did so, closed Firefox, restarted and voila, a very pretty video of the Winchester brothers came up on my screen.  I went back to ABC.com, and sure enough, I could now finally watch Life On Mars.  Of course I’ve fallen several weeks behind, so now watching this show involves some effort catching up.  Great job ABC on getting me to keep interest in the show and watch it live!   

Sadly, installing Firefox Mozilla seems to be the only solution or finding alternate sites that play the shows with other players like Hulu.com or thewb.com.  ABC shows can be found on Veoh.com, but I found that all that does is redirect to ABC.com and try to use the same Move Media player.   

Naturally the geek in me is looking for other open source and library fixes (short of programming them myself), but so far the well has run dry.  My hubby, always the technical optimist, has hopes that the new Internet Explorer 8 browser will fix some of the Java discrepancies, but for now, many Internet Explorer users are stuck.   

It’s The Architecture, Stupid 

Welcome to the age of open source, where thanks to a flashy interface and savvy marketing even the flakiest architecture will excite four networks into making the bonehead decision.  I’ve seen this happen way too often in the tech world.  A developer comes up with something cool while messing around with all the neat stuff open source can do, bypassing Microsoft in the process since it’s so cumbersome.  A few marketing geniuses see the results and get stars in their eyes (okay dollar signs), thus prompting them to put together the presentation that will sell ice to the Eskimos.   

Not a lot of sound software architecture went into this product and usually executives when making important technology decisions with third party providers often don’t ask questions like, "Will it run in every browser or on every operating system?"  After a few years in the trenches at America Online, we learned many of these lessons the hard way when experimenting with the Gecko browser.  One script isn’t meant for all browsers.  Move Networks needs to run a browser check when their player is accessed and then run the appropriate script for the proper browser.   

The fact that none of these television networks seem to be forcing this fix makes me assume that their strategy for online streaming is to merely say they have it.  Functionality doesn’t seem to be a priority.  This just proves to be another case in which some big media companies are reluctant to embrace the future and are being pulled into it kicking and screaming.   

In the meantime, I’ll catch Life On Mars on DVD and bypass ABC altogether.  Thank heavens NBC and Fox went with Hulu.  I’m off to watch their shows online now. 

Powered by

About Alice Jester

  • Mark Buckingham

    Good experiential piece here. I was kind of surprised to hear someone in IT doesn’t use Firefox on a regular basis already. With the IE Tab plugin, I switched to Firefox and never looked back. All those few stubborn sites that don’t play well with FF open fine in IE Tab.

    I honestly don’t know when the last time I opened IE was. The distro of Ubuntu Linux I played around with briefly installed Firefox as the default browser even. No IE to be found anywhere (not that I’m surprised; it’s Linux).

  • Jim

    Thanks for writing such an interesting article on your personal experience watching video online.

    While I appreciate this was your personal experience, mine was dramatically different. I am not a “techie,” but I have not had a single issue watching my favorite episodes on ABC.com. I don’t know what your setup is, but I am pretty sure it isn’t the most common setup out there. I absolutely love watching episodes on ABC.com and have since the site launched the new player about two years ago (I think). My current setup is Vista Ultimate and IE7.

    Personally, I was delighted to find online video that looked and felt like a real television broadcast and didn’t continually pause and buffer. Again, I didn’t have any issues whatsoever. No need to debug javascript or use Firefox. My guess is that your setup is somewhat unique or that you have a personal preference most of us don’t have, since you experienced this issue on more than one computer.

    While I know this represents your experience, I find it hard to believe more information wasn’t readily available if this is such a common issue for the millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) of people who watch ABC.com, CWTV, FOX, ESPN, and other sites that stream video using this player.

    I just did a few searches and noticed the player was used for the Democratic National Convention, which received rave reviews and for some production earlier this year for Oprah’s Harpo Productions.

    I am glad you were able to get this resolved through a workaround, and I can feel through your frustration that this experience was very painful for you. I only doubt that this issue is as common as you make it sound.

    Thanks again for a great read. It has made me grateful that my favorite videos “just play” for me, since I could never pursue the process you describe to make it work. Nor would I have the patience.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Welcome to the age of open source, where thanks to a flashy interface and savvy marketing even the flakiest architecture will excite four networks into making the bonehead decision.

    Well, I wouldn’t call FireFox a “bonehead” decision.
    Mozilla’s browser v3.03 is far from flaky & kicks the sh!t out of IE7. Hell, Google spanked Microsoft into submission with their “open source”/free software. Why else would MS rush such a crappy OS like Vista onto the market(and now they have abandoned that for Windows 7).

    As a professional information “techie” I’m surprised at how uninformed you come across in this article. People are tired of paying big bucks for buggy/crappy software built by people who only have their wallets in mind. The only time I ever have to use IE7(IE Tab plugin) is to “watch instantly” on Netflix. Beyond that I can only hope that Microsoft goes bankrupt & the Internet Explorer series dies with it. Maybe I will get the courage to use Linux(open source)

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *Sorry*

    My point was that I believe these networks are going with FireFox because your “set-up” isn’t as commonplace as you make it out to be. Vista is being dumped for Win XP “Downgrades” in the computer marketplace. IE8 will be behind the ball because Mozilla & Google have already confronted the majority of the issues with their browsers.
    Again, I think these Networks realize the crucial changes that are happening online and don’t want to be behind the curve.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Brian, could you please either enter a complete URL in the wee box above where you write in your comments OR delete the http:// that you have in there now?

    Ta.

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Is that better??

  • Amy

    And I, on the other hand, the least technically savvy person I know, get up on ABC.com and watch my favorite shows every week without a blip. Gorgeous video — HDTV quality, starts immediately, never starts or buffers. Perfect full screen picture. Love it!

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Yes, that’s great, thanks.

  • Amy

    That is….never stops or buffers…

  • DP

    Alice, maybe you should try a Mac?

  • bliffle

    The internet was designed as an OPEN and NON_PROPRIETARY network. It was designed for the benefit of users, not commercial enterprises.

    Microsoft and other commercial enterprises have been attempting to dominate the internet with their proprietary software since the beginning. To that end, they distribute pernicious programs to users to be used on the users own machines. That way they control both ends of the communication experience and can control what you see and what advertising you get and they can even pervert your software.

    I wise person never installs Flash, which is one of the worst offenders, and certainly not Active-X. Both have builtin facilities for hacking your computer.

    Use only open software for internet communications, and for anything proprietary run it in some sort of virtual macine.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Thanks everyone for the feedback! It should be noted, it’s not a question of whether I was able to figure out the issue. I’m all for open source, but from my experience, Internet Explorer is the gold standard. Most people use it. When companies develop something like this, they cannot ignore Microsoft when marketing to the masses. When marketing to only techies, Mozilla is best.

    There are plenty of non-technical people out there (like my parents) who buy pre-configured machines at a big box retailer and because of the setup (Windows Script Host) they can’t play these videos and don’t know why. ABC isn’t telling them either, or is Move Networks. Judging by the compliants I saw on the forums, there are many out there that are frustrated and aren’t getting answers, so they are abandoning watching videos online.

  • Richard Holden

    I have personal knowledge that every version of the Move Networks player is tested with Vista and IE7, so I’m not sure why it would have made it to ABC, CW, Fox and ESPN with breakage like that.

  • bliffle

    It’s been a long time since IE was considered the Gold Standard by internet engineering professionals for the simple reason that it is loaded with proprietary code that is in direct conflict with IETF standards.

    It doesn’t matter whether you or anyone else approves of open software or not: the internet is open architecture. When there is a conflict between MS and the internet it is MS that is out of bounds.

    But that doesn’t stop them from doing it. They have open contempt for the rules, whether internet engineering rules or business/legal rules.

    Anyone who downloads a proprietary video player is leaving the open architecture internet and opening their system to viruses and other malware. Don’t do it if you value your system security and your personal information.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Richard – As someone who has done software testing for 17 years, I know that test environments are imperfect. My entire household has bought computers from Dell, where Windows (both XP and Vista) is configured to run Windows Script Host for launching java scripts. There is no way from looking at the code that I can see how this player can work running this setup. There is also no way I can tell to turn this off.

    This is why hulu.com and thewb.com have run lengthy beta cycles, so issues with various setups and security holes can be discovered and addressed before being released to the masses. We often ran beta programs at AOL. I do not know of any of these networks or the Move Media player going through such a rigorous or lengthy beta test. If it was just me having this problem, I’d accept it as a personal setup issue. However, there are many frustrated people out there not getting answers.

    Biffle – I agree with you 100 percent. Microsoft is awful with their engineering, especially Vista, but that doesn’t change the fact most people use it. Most average users like my parents and in-laws don’t understand issues about proprietary code and Malware. They just want to play videos, and these networks are advertising during their programs to just go to their websites and watch them.

    Errors are happening and these networks and Move Networks aren’t giving sound advice like “run Firefox”. The troubleshooting page is actually telling people to turn off their pop up blockers and anti-virus! That’s far more reckless in my opinion.

  • cygnl7

    The JavaScript error you are seeing is caused by the fact that you tried to access the .js file directly. What IE does in this case is ask you if you’d like to run the file. When you tell it to do so it runs the js file outside of the browser environment in the JScript VM directly. This means there is no DOM to interact with. If there’s no DOM then there’s no ‘window’ or ‘document’ variables to use. So the script will fail.

    In short, since this movenetworks.js file is meant to run in a browser it won’t work when run outside of a browser.

  • cygnl7

    I’m also guessing that your IE security settings are more strict than what is provided “out of the box.” When I set my Internet security zone to the “high” setting I also see no video. When I relax them back to the default the video plays fine.

    Maybe this would help?

  • bliffle

    Alice,

    Just because “…most people use it. Most average users like my parents and in-laws don’t understand issues about proprietary code and Malware.” doesn’t make it right to submit. Users have to push back against MS and others like them.

    Your in-laws will grow discontent soon enough when they tire of inserted commercials and popups and, finally, viruses that steal their stuff. Hackers are just as capable as MS at using the hooks that MS has embedded in their players.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    cyngl7 – Thanks for the info. I ran the script within the IE browser and got an error. What I did fail to mention is I ran the same script in the Mozilla browser and the code displayed. That’s the result I was looking for. I managed to find info that the ‘window’ trigger doesn’t work with Jscript.

    My security settings are default. I relaxed them on low on the XP machine and got the same issue. I’ll admit, messing with security settings makes me nervous, especially with IE. That opens up all sorts of vulnerabilities for attacks.

    Bliffle mentioned in a comment something that rings very true. It’s not wise to be forced to download a player, plus flash, plus a Java upgrade all so I can watch a TV program online. Hulu.com and TheWB.com doesn’t require that and I can watch programs there without incident. The HD quality on TheWB.com is fantastic too.

    I’m going to start examining the architecture and technology used with Hulu.com and TheWB.com and see if using them opens up the same risks the Move Media player seems to be asking for by encouraging me to lower my security settings and download other programs. What ABC.com is asking of me seems irresponsible, but I need further analysis before I make that assumption.

    All in all, this has been a great lesson learned.

  • Natalie

    I don’t know why anyone would even use Explorer anyway. The only reason I keep it around is because it’s part of Windows, so you can’t get rid of it. And using another browser to see if that fixes the problem is such an obvious solution, I don’t know why you didn’t think of that first.

    But I do have a question. A lot of thse sites are blocked if you don’t live in the US, which I find really annoying. I can’t really see a reason for it. Would you happen to know why they do this?

  • bliffle

    With the tremendous number of multimedia players and easy accessibility to codecs for every platform, you have to ask yourself “why do they insist on using a proprietary player?”

    The answer, of course, is so that they can control the playback experience. To what purpose? To inject commercials that you can’t avoid, and to steal your personal data from the computer.

    Is that what you want?

  • Poweruser

    First off, when you can’t even get the name right- It’s Mozilla Firefox, NOT the other way around – it doesn’t appear that you would be smart enough to even try anything other than IE. Your RUDE and condescending approach to any browser other than IE is appalling! Like open source has never come up with anything good? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] Firefox has approximately 30% market share (a lot more than that in some places). It’s not some backyard initiative. It neither has a ‘flashy’ interface nor ‘savvy marketing’- Care to tell us which part of the interface you found flashy? Marketing? What marketing? The Firefox users’ word of mouth is what has made Firefox what it is today. And it works because it is BETTER.

    And as far as your problem goes- There’s no problem with IE or those sites. IE works as well. Perhaps you should try reinstalling Windows and then eat your words? The problem here is clearly between the keyboard and the computer. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • malleus74

    Move Media only works with Windows and Mac, so anyone using Ubuntu or any other linux distribution is out of luck, unless they use Wine to emulate a Windows-compatible browser.

  • cygnl7

    @Alice

    I believe there’s a misunderstanding here regarding what “running in the browser” means. When you put the js URL directly in the browser URL input field the browser does not run the js. In Firefox it displays it (as you saw) and in IE it runs it locally, outside of the browser, in the JScript engine. That won’t work with a script that’s meant to be run in the context of a web page.

  • Tanya

    and I can’t get the ABC player to run for me.

    Sigh.

  • NickD

    I still can’t view ABC programs in FF either. I too am in IT and I tried other browsers as well and they are not supported. I still can’t figure out why. My other computers on my home network can view the episodes but not mine. I’m still looking for an answer.

  • Angie

    I ran into the same problems with the ABC player not working in IE when I tried to watch online a couple shows that I missed the other night. I was able to find one at surfthechannel.com. After an unsuccessful internet search for the other show being offered online at another player other than ABC, I did a search for ‘why can’t I watch the ABC player?’ and came across your article. I just want to say thanks for an informative article that even a ‘non-techie’ like me could understand. It answered my questions and it is a shame that it seems like ABC and Fox don’t care to fix the players so they’ll run in IE. Now where can I download firefox?

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Firefox can be downloaded here.

    The problem seems to be related to any variety of other programs that have Active X controls on your computer. I got the player to work finally, but it affected other stuff that was working. It could be anything. Since Active X is not a problem on Firefox, that is still the desired solution.

  • Terry in Seattle

    Thanks alot. I had the problem where the player would play the ads then nothing else. I stumbled around the web yesterday for hours looking for a fix before coming across this. This was a perfect recap for a novice like me who still likes to try to understand things. Using firefox took care of the problem.

  • ABC’s Full Episode Player is a Joke!

    I’m using the latest version of Firefox, and can’t get the Player to work to save my life. I get success indicated by the install, and can see and hear the test video, but when I try to view an actual episode, get the GSOD (Grey Screen of Death). Why ABC couldn’t just use an existing format or offer the video directly on Hulu, I don’t know. Idiotic management, I would assume.

  • I want to watch my shows

    Thank you! Thank you! I didn’t understand why I was getting the GSOD (Grey Screen of Death) until I read your very informative blog post.
    Great job figuring out the problem for all of us!

  • ZK

    Still unable to watch videos using firefox. I went through all the steps and I am able to view the commercials, but not the actual shows on cw or abc. Any ideas?

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    ZK – As a matter of fact, a new problem has popped up since I wrote this. It seems that the videos are having a problem on Java version 6 update 11. I was running version 6 update 10 and that seems to work fine.

    I know from experience everytime Java puts out a new version, many interfaces stop working. It’s amazing companies don’t check for this, but I’m not sure Sun (who does Java) is very cooperative either. If this isn’t your problem let me know, but if the commericals run and not the video, the Move Player did not install properly.

  • ZK

    Thank you for the quick reply.

    I am going to try to uninstall the current version of java and install 6 update 10. Following that, I will uninstall move player and reinstall. I will let you know if that works. I sure hope so, because after that, I am at a lost.

  • ZK

    Cannot find java 6 update 10. Therefore, I am at not sure what to do. Please help if anyone knows what the problem maybe.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    ZK – I went and got adventurous and updated my Java to update 11. Try this. In your Firefox browser, go to Tools, Add-ons. Find the Move Media Player and then uninstall it. Go to http://www.cwtv.com (I find their installation process to be more painless than abc). Click on the video tab and play any full episode. You will be prompted to install the player. Do the install and see if that helps. If that doesn’t work, what add-ons do you have installed? There could be a conflict.

    Please let me know if this works, but I did get the videos to play when doing this.

  • ZK

    No working. Updated Java, and still no go.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    ZK – I’ve been working with a couple of other people via email offering suggestions. My question is do you have the problem on abc.com, cwtv.com, and fox.com or just one of the sites? If it’s all three, the move media player didn’t install properly. If it’s just ABC (which I’m finding is often the case), there are a number of things to check, starting with upgrading the flash player to Flash 10r2.

    If none of this helps, click on the url next to my name. On the jesterz.net site is a contact us page. That’ll send me an email and we can go through some suggestions offline.

  • ZK

    Alice,

    Thank you for the reply. I am having trouble with all three players. I went to the move player site and tried to install from there, and it didn’t work. Then I uninstalled and tried from cw’s site, and still no luck.

  • Meglet

    Oh my GOSH I can’t believe I’ve found this. I’ve been trying for months now to get the stupid thing to work. I too can’t get FOX or ABC to work on my computer for anything. I tried Firefox AND IE, tried my IE tab in Firefox, I have uninstalled and reinstalled just about everything possible. NOTHING WORKS. I have a friend who was regularly watching Lost the day after on her computer and suddenly two weeks ago she began having errors too. Mine says something about player:null. HELP HELP HELP!! I want to watch my shows online when I miss them!!! I just tried your idea of using CWTV to install the player but I still get nothing.

  • Cynthia

    I am not a techie and am having the same problems as everyone else-seems like add-on loads,I get the commercial and then the forever swirlie.I’m usually on Mozilla but tried Explorer just in case.Didn’t work on either. I tried the last suggestion of uninstalling, going to CW-reinstalling-I was told it was a temporary install-which wouldn’t have helped me get that episode of Lost we missed-but tried anyway-got an inner swirlie-no program. I can watch other stuff on Hulu and if someone downloads the episode onto MegaVideo this week I’ll be okay, that’s how my husband watched it last week, but so far no one has. Any other suggestions appreciated.

  • Eric Thompson

    THANK YOU! This has been driving me batty. I also have noticed that ABC and ESPN don’t work on my laptop but do work on my desktop and ABC’s customer support has been completely unhelpful so far (suggesting I might have slow hardware while I have a brand new professional laptop).

    You have saved my sanity! If only the networks and software vendor would see your article and understand how folks like you and I are so upset.

  • Eric Thompson

    Another note…I tried installing Firefox and the latest from Adobe’s flash player. I still have the choppy video problem on ESPN and ABC (didn’t check the other networks you had troubles with). Looks like that doesn’t solve the issue.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Eric – no problem, choppy video problem can be fixed. There have been a number of new issues uncovered since I wrote this. This is a follow up article I did.

    If this doesn’t help, let me know through the comments here, and I’ll give more suggestions! Also, a new one just came to me within the last week. Check these two things:

    1. Go to Tools, Add Ons, on the Firefox Browser and check to see if Adblock Plus is enabled. If so, disable it.

    2. Go to Tools, Options, Content, Advanced, and make sure Move and Resize Windows is checked.

    Restart Firefox and try playing again.

  • Bill

    I’d been trying everything to get past the grey screen of death, and you’re the first one to tell me I need to allow JavaScript to move and resize windows. Who knew? Especially since I don’t see it obviously resizing its popup or anything. Thanks!

  • Melissa

    Here’s REALLY how to fix the problem. Under Tools, Internet Options, Advanced tab, Security section, make sure the box “Check for Server Certificate Revocation” is deselected and restart your computer. Nothing else worked for me.

  • http://www.kpdirection.com Kat

    Here it is… 1:15am and I’m ready to throw this computer out the window! I rarely get to see videos online. It’s hit and miss with IE and Firefox.

    Tonight, all I wanted to do was watch some raptors at allaboutbirds.org. No go.

    I tried installing Flash 10 again, included the Flash Player 10 ActiveX control content debugger (for IE), disabled adblock plus, flashblock, deselected the box “Check for Server Certificate Revocation”, allowed JavaScript to move and resize windows, disabled quicktime task, stopped all Apple services, rebooted a hundred times or so and…

    NOTHING! I cannot figure this thing out. Argh!

    Any other ideas?

    I use Vista, btw.

  • CKO

    Anyone have pointers for Windows 7 RC? I cannot get ABC.COM to play in either browser. TNT.com will play if added to IE8 compatibility mode but it’s choppy and I have consistent 8MB download speeds so it’s not the network. Any help would be appreciated…

  • Buzzby

    I also had trouble viewing TV shows on ABC. After searching, it seems to be Explorer 8. So I downloaded Safari. Still no success. Then I downloaded Mozilla and I can now use the ABC video player.

  • Troy

    I read your article hoping for a solution, I am having the same problem but since Fox and ABC are on Hulu the only issue is with the CW and since I have no TV this has to be solved. I am having the problem on both Firefox 3.0 and IE 8 and I think the issue is that I update my browsers and the brilliant people at Move Media do not update their video player.

  • http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/why-you-cant-watch-videos-on/ Ralph

    If you are using Firefox or IE go to Fancast, then as you begin to watch for example Smallville- right click youre mouse which opens a window showing settings for flash player increase to 1mb storage or more-now you can see whatever you want.

  • Mark

    Interestingly enough I’ve been able to use IE to watch nearly every episode of LOST on abc.com several times over. Yet, occasionally, it has opened with an error. And to those who do not think it is a common problem go check out the comments currently on the page with the “Pilot, part 1″ episode right now. I received an error message, thought I fixed it through a combo of whitelisting and disabling my banner ad blocker, and the video played…until the last commercial came up. Then it caused a failure in IE and closed the window. (Oh and biffle…ABC controls the content and inserts commercials because IT’S TV YOU FOOL. If you have ever watched TV before, then you know they sell commercial slots to pay the bills…TV online is no different since the network owns the show you want to watch).

    But i digest…(family guy reference for those who know)…now I keep getting the same error as before. Frankly I think it has something to do with ABC’s website itself, and not the player or browser used. But I’m not a programmer. Maybe the problem will be fixed when someone at ABC feedback reads all the messages I (and surely many others) have sent instead of just sending the ol’ auto-reply out.

  • Jim

    I think it’s a conspiracy. ABC.com knows people are skipping or silencing the commercials so they intentionally make the video playback difficult and/or choppy so people will watch on normal television for the commerial and advertisers stisfaction.

  • Jack

    I rhink your right Jim. I’ve watched lost online last season and this one. I never had a problem playing the episodes till two weeks ago. The playback started to be choppy and stall and skip. Seems their latest updates to move and adobe were failures. People, it is not you or your computers. I thought it was at first and tried everything on earth to fix it. It is noy us or our pc’s. It is ABC, Move, and Adobe. Their tech people are idiots. Now that they have entered into contracts and spent big money, they can’t correct it. Maybe they want to boost their TV ratings for their shows for the advertisers so instead of cancelling the full episode playback (which there would be an outcry against) they undercut it and make it to difficult to watch. Viewers are left no choice but to watch TV broadcasts.

  • http://jdpfu.com/ TheFu

    I’ve been trying to migrate 100% to Linux and have been stopped by short sighted corporate decisions like this. In my day job, I work for a VERY LARGE internet company – we’re probably the ISP for your ISP if you’re in the USA. In our corp-to-corp interactions, we prefer *NIX solutions, but with our residential clients, Windows is it. I think that team is just being lazy. No love for our Mac friends either.

    I fear that since you wrote this article a few years ago, things haven’t gotten any better. I missed the last few weeks of _Life Unexpected_ (CW) and went to catch it. Not only is the player Windows specific, but it requires an EXE download FROM CW. I’m not about to load a program from GOD KNOWS WHERE on my only Windows system that I use for work. The rest of my systems and VMs are all Linux-based.

    Hulu works nicely with Linux, btw. They even have a Hulu-Desktop app. It isn’t mandatory, Flash still works perfectly too. I’m willing to load an app for Hulu, since they provide many network shows and movies.

  • phil

    wow, abc and fox both work now on ubuntu :)

    unfortunately the-cw still doesn’t

  • Ausrine

    You saved me- thanx a lot :)

  • Blue

    I use Firefox and it doesn’t work for me either… yes, did the install. Still, no joy. I know this is a dead horse, but just for those who may have problems with Mozilla Firefox… you’re not alone.

  • 34-Sara

    ABC.Com hasn’t worked this week, what is the problem? I am not able to watch my shows, I get a black screen when I try full episodes and I can only hear and see ads :( :( any idea what to do? How can they be notified to improve or fix the situation.

  • Jas

    Guess again folks. I have used nothing but Firefox for many years. I am constantly updating & run Win 7 Pro. The abc site is no longer usuable, and feeds an unending loop of MS ie commercials when you try to watch any episodes. The failure began around 2-28-13. Good luck. My wife and I used this several times each week. We are done, and wont waste anymore time trying.

  • Andrei

    I’m using Chrome, tried watching Whose Line Is It Anyway on CWTV, nothing would happen, clicked o the “Playback Issues?” button, and guess what? Page unavailable. I would have expected more from a popular TV channel’s website.

  • reyna

    My program is doing the same only I have a surface n it doesn’t allow to load Firefox or chrome on here..