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If the sites look for the user agent you might be able to circumvent these problems by "correctly" setting it to IE or whatever, if there's some other black magic involved, all you can do is to poke them and try to convince them that internet is not a franchise of MS and Adobe.
I watch fox videos all the time using firefox with the adobe flash player. Works fine here.
There was a time not long ago when they did an "upgrade" and I was no longer able to view their videos, with symptoms as you describe. So I sent them an email and got back a canned reply after several days - something about technology upgrades that required windows blah blah blah.
So I stopped visiting the site.
After a couple of months, just for grins, I visited it again. This time, I was able to watch videos again. For awhile, the videos were choppy; seems the flash player was taking 100% (and more) of my cpu, but within the last few weeks, this has settled down and I now can see the videos without incident again.
What is going on? I don't know. Did Fox make another upgrade? I don't know. Did some routine upgrade to my system fix the problem? No idea. What I can say is that I am able to watch the videos with Firefox 3 on Mandriva 2008.1 and the 184.108.40.206 kernel.
I run privoxy. I also have the script defender plugin running in firefox, as well as the Greasemonkey plugin which uses the Foxnews Friendly Video plugin (kills the commercials).