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Red card for Mac and Linux users on World Cup clips site

Offsite rule upsets Apple footy fans

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Updated Mac or Linux users will be unable to use a service that allows football fans to catch up with highlights from World Cup games.

The video highlights (around four minutes long per match), make up one portion of FIFAworldcup.com's premium subscription service, which costs $19.95.

The decision to omit live feeds of matches (a service offered by many Premiership clubs this season) has disappointed many fans, but the technology used to deliver the service is set to spur even greater controversy.

Vulture eyed Reg reader Thomas Shen flagged up the system requirements for the service which clearly state "Mac, Unix and Real media player" are not supported and that the service is only available for fans using Windows Media Player 6.0 or above.

A clip from the 1982 World Cup is available free of charge from the site, but when the Swede tried to play them on his Mac (which runs Mac OS X (version 10.4) and Internet Explorer 5.1) he got a message that his machine couldn't open the file.

We were able to run the highlights clip on a Windows box (it's 90 seconds long and not particularly interesting, we trust the premium content will be better) but unable to run it on our office Mac.

Since we published the story, Mac-using readers have written to tell us that by downloading and installing Windows Media Player 7 for OS X or OS9 it ispossible to view the free clip on a Mac. However, a number of you have reported problems getting any commentary, a key aspect of the premium service. There's also a lot of odd error messages about unsupported codecs.

So Mac users are still at a disadvantage and FIFA and technology provider Yahoo! seem bent on forcing us all to use Microsoft's streaming media technology.

It's unclear if technology provider Yahoo! intends to introduce support for Real Player before the highlights service goes live on Friday, but the indications aren't good. ®

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