LAS VEGAS--This summer, NBC plans to show 1,200 hours of video from the Beijing Olympics on five different channels.
But the company also knows that's not nearly enough for many people. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring that video and another 1,000 hours to the Web, available both live and on-demand.
"It's going to be terrific and I am terrified," said Perkins Miller, a senior vice president for digital media for NBC Sports and Olympics. "One hundred fifty days from today we are going to take on the Olympics."
Now, it didn't make me cry, but the demo that Miller showed was pretty amazing. Using Silverlight as the underlying engine, NBC is allowing people to watch events live, pause them, and watch multiple video streams, share streams with friends, and see what the audience sees as the most popular highlights.
It seems like the Olympics is shaping up to be the biggest showcase--and biggest performance test--for what Web video can do.