Yesterday, I wanted to watch a movie on IrokoTV, a service that makes available online thousands of Nollywood and Ghanaian movies. I found that the service requires Flash. Of course, it works well on PC, but when I attempted to view a movie on mobile, I ran into problems.
“Content not available: this video is not authorized for playback on this device”.
I’m not sure what to make of that. Do webmasters still deliberately impose restrictions on devices? I am not sure that this is a problem from the Playbook’s browser, as I have never had issues watching videos from Youtube, Vimeo and other services on it.
So, I put down the PlayBook and picked up the Google Nexus 7 tablet.
Google Nexus 7
The built-in browser on Nexus 7 is Chrome. The Nexus 7 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which Adobe has announced will not get official support for Flash. Trying to load a movie on IrokoTV gave me a black page with the error:
“The Adobe Flash Player is required to view this content. Please click here to install it.”
Sigh. I had two up-to-date tablets from two different platforms and couldn’t watch a movie. A colleague who owns an iPad2 tells me that she watches IrokoTV on Safari on her iPad. That is surprising, but it is good news. The iPad still rules the tablet market, and it means that a huge number of tablet users will run into no issues with the IrokoTV service.
Yes; I know that there are third party browsers with support for Flash. I did later install Dolphin Browser beta for Android to see the movie and the service worked well with that. My fear is that average users are not likely to go in search of a third party browser. They will more likely try it on the built-in browser, run into these issues and conclude that the service does not work. Hopefully, IrokoTV can address these issues if they are things within their jurisdiction.
Yes; the issues that I ran into may not be IrokoTV’s fault, after all, we all know what a mess the mobile web can be. In which case, we must hope that mobile web browser developers hurry up to clean up the mess and streamline things.