XBox 360 Teases with Temporary MSNBC iVoD in Canada

I recently read Brent Evans’ ZNF post on Vista Media Center’s (‘MC’) new MSNBC video on demand service. As with virtually every-other Internet-related video distribution announcement these days, I fully expected this service not to be available in Canada.

Here’s a typical message I get when I try to access this type of MC functionality from Canada:

windows media center - sorry, there is no internet tv content available for canadaVirtually none of the movie, TV, or other media-related services our American friends take for granted in MC are available in the Great White North.

Much to my surprise, as I was testing out the Xbox 360 media-extended piece of the latest MC upgrade (the upgrade got my MC working again for the first time in over a year), I saw the item (circled below) on the 360’s MC screen.

news item on media center screen

Fully expecting the usual ‘Not Available in Canada’ notice, I clicked on it anyway. To my surprise, however it worked. video on demand service actually working on 360 in canadaFor the next half hour I played around with the content. Watching the various clips, making them full screen, pausing, fast forwarding etc. Given we Canadians get very little of this functionality, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I happily set about to write this post (originally with a title proclaiming that media-center-based  iVoD functionality worked in Canada). I fired up the Vista version of Media Center to get some screen shots. Since it worked on the 360, I expected it to work on the Vista version of Media Center.

I was wrong. Instead of Chris Matthews, Keith Oberman and Rachel Maddow,  I got this, more typical, Canadian message: windows media service message in canada - sorry, the clip you requested is not available

I went back to the 360, t0 double check it was still working there. As you can see, it still was: working in canada through media center on xbox 360 - for now

Ah, the vagaries of Canadian online media! What Microsoft accidently giveth, it purposefully taketh away. No doubt Microsoft will soon patch whatever hole exists in WMC that allows this to work on my 360. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. But I should have known it was too good to be true!


  1. // Reply

    Hi Dale,

    MSNBC VOD does work on my Vista Media Center from Canada. My problem is that it does not work on my HP MediaSmart TV extender and for that reason I can’t be bothered with it. Vista Media Center is just a getway to content for me and not being able to view content on my HDTV is a no go, the fact that I can see it on my PC is inconsequential. I haven’t tried my xbox360 yet but I’ll have to give that a try.

  2. // Reply

    Thanks Nicholas. The mystery widens. Odd that you can access it on your PC but I can’t. In any event, I still expect it to be pulled from us at any moment.


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