Two years ago, watching the Olympics live via the Internet was limited to a single gold medal game of a popular sport. This year, everything from preliminary table tennis matches to team handball will be available both live and on-demand directly to the PC.
In all, more than 2,000 hours of live content and 3,000 hours of on-demand video will be available from the PC via NBCOlympics.com.
While a huge opportunity for Olympics fans, it is also a big test for both Web video and for the companies behind the site, in particular for NBC Universal and Microsoft, whose Silverlight technology is being used in the video player, and for Limelight Networks, whose network is being used to route all of those streams to Internet service providers.
To be sure, the Web has seen some big live events in recent years, including CBS Sports' streaming of March Madness games, but this could be the biggest test yet.
"It does keep me up at night," said NBC Universal Senior Vice President Perkins Miller, who is heading up the network's Internet efforts.
That this much content will be available over the Internet is a testament to just how much progress has been made in everything from video streaming to online advertising in just the past two years, as well as a change in attitude among consumers, who now slurp up 3.5 billion videos a month from YouTube. … Read more