April 25, 2008 9:34 AM PDT

Silverlight to shine in NBC's Olympics coverage

Silverlight to shine in NBC's Olympics coverage
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NBC's senior vice president of digital media for Sports and Olympics has been saddled with the task of making NBCOlympics.com a success. And he gets no second chances--once the Olympics launches, the site's live Webcast coverage of the event will be watched by millions.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Miller's eye on the timeline was apparent. "We have 106 days to go," he said Wednesday.

NBC intends to broadcast and archive 17 days of the Olympics on the site, resulting in 2,200 hours of video which users may watch live and call up on-demand for free.

Miller sees this as a complementary repository to what the broadcaster will air on TV. "We're talking about doing 25 sports online that we aren't really doing on broadcast. There will be significantly more content online than on air," said Miller, adding that he has observed strong demand from fans for on-demand content.

The site's Web video player is built on Microsoft's Web application framework, Silverlight. According to Miller, the broadcaster has been planning the project over the last nine months, with more intensive coding work done on the backend with Microsoft over the last four months or so.

Miller said the team had a working prototype in February this year, which has since gone through "various iterations." The project will face another round of testing midyear, which will coincide with the Olympic qualifying rounds, allowing the team to test the player's live streaming functions.

Since the prototype, the team has focused on tweaking the user experience of the player, including the navigation interface, MBR (managed bit rate)--which matches the quality of the video to the user's connection speed--and metadata tagging of video streams to make searching and archiving easier.

"My biggest concern is that the users will have a great experience, and that they will be able to navigate through all the content, and to make sure they'll come back and keep consuming on our platforms," said Miller.

This user experience is affected by the advertising that viewers are exposed to. Working with DoubleClick as the serving engine, Miller said the Silverlight player will display "dynamic ads" to viewers.

"Timing and how we deliver ads will matter to the user experience," Miller noted.

Miller said he is also concerned with piracy of the broadcast streams. To that end, NBC is "engaged closely with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to fingerprint content to protect its rights-holders (and is) having conversations with user-generated content sites such as YouTube to ensure they work with (NBC)," he said.

On NBC's choice of Silverlight as a platform over competitors, Miller noted NBC's existing partnership with Microsoft in MSNBC, but added that Microsoft is a "holistic partner", being able to offer its services as a "media and technology company, not just a technology partner".

NBC is also working with a Los Angeles-based digital media agency, Schematic, to develop the user interface. Schematic CTO Matthew Rechs told CIO magazine last month that some 25 people were working on the project at the agency.

Victoria Ho of ZDNet Asia reported from Singapore.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Silverlight, Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee, live streaming, digital media


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Upfront - Content Cover-up?
I still don't get why I had to first download Silverlight in order to
then download VS Studio "Express" Engineering tools, which btw
are now expired - not Silverlight though.

It's ironic the only reason I wished to download the VS tools was
to look at LEGO Robotics Samples such as MS versions. And
then, of all things, come to find out that the Olympic Committee
has DISQUALIFIED what COULD BE around the same time!

"Amputee Sprinter Denied Olympic Entry, Shifts Focus - January
14, 2008"

Go figure!
Posted by dascha1 (638 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More Current News that Rock
Then again Silverlight could've saved this Olympic OR Ironman-
hopeful if he had the watch on:

"Triathlete swimmer dies at San Diego beach - severe(d) leg
injuries April 25, 2008"

More figuring to do for New Media guys...
Posted by dascha1 (638 comments )
Link Flag
This is why I object to silverlight...
- Mickeysawft has to ram it down everyone's throat, just like they did with IE. At least with IE I can tell the firewall to deny it access to the internet, then use Firefox. How long before SL is "an integral part of the operating system?" and the POS interface won't work without it?
- It's pathetic that they continue to pull these shenanigans and the retarded masses continue to eat it like fine chocolate, even pay M$ handsomely for the privilege. And I reap what they sow.
Posted by i_am_ragnorok (11 comments )
Link Flag
Dumb move
Risking a high use application on new, unproven, and shaky tech is foolish, at best.

No amount of money that MS used to bribe NBC could be worth the risks.
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You would rather use proven
technologies like QuickTime? It has more holes then almost any other software out there.
Flash? Apple may have been first to fall in PWN2OWN, but it took Flash to topple Vista (and could have been used to topple any of them)

Ya, real 'solid', proven technology.
SilverLight at least has hope
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
You are an idiot !
Making statements on absolute no facts and just for the sake of your hate against MS does not make it true. Just that you are a idiot !

Flash would have been a good option, but Silverlight looks very good and promising. So what better way to expand it that this. You are most welcome to stay away which is actually better for others.
Posted by csg7 (81 comments )
Link Flag
Wake up
over 10,000 sites with Silverlight deployed. It's hardly shakey. This was a business deal. NBC is PAYING Microsoft not the other way around my friend.
Posted by streamOG (134 comments )
Link Flag
Silverlight not doing so well
Silverlight has had a very slow uptake. It seems like MS is having to make some deals in order to solve the chicken/egg problem. No one seems to be developing with it outside of MS. If that's the case, users won't be installing it any time soon. This was a wise move by MS but who knows if it will encourage developers to actually use it.
Posted by jeromatron (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
right because 1.5M Downloads a day
is "not doing so well."
Posted by streamOG (134 comments )
Link Flag
and I was hopong to see the olympics online
The use of silverlight counts me out, but since it is unproven MS software I will probably not be alone.
Posted by J H F (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
and your keyboard doesn't work either. Give me a break there are over 10,000 sites with Silverlight on them and the Silverlight player is doing 1.5M downloads a day.
Posted by streamOG (134 comments )
Link Flag
Isn't ms in bed with nbc oh wait thats msnbc
I don't think this is a technology discussion at all. Its all about
partnerships and going into bed with the money. Happens all the
time. But with the this, I think there will be very little exposure for
it after the olympics. And most will simply ignore it after.
Posted by mpitogo (270 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you wish
This event will be the biggest draw in the history of the Internet. You will be watching it so don't hate.
Posted by streamOG (134 comments )
Link Flag
Silverlight is the best product to come out of MS in awhile....
I accept peoples disagreement with this statement BUT.

I have developed flash apps and graphics and recently tried Silverlight. The honest truth is this is alot simpler.

If you are developing in MS Visual Studio you will have 1000x easier time integrating Silverlight into whatever app you are developing.


The benefit is GREATLY reduced. But at the end of the day I have never developed a simple animated button and had the code instantly integrate into my button.


I know full well that once MS Visual Studio developers and designers get used to it it will help speed development time by at least half the time it takes to deploy the same utilities based in flash.

I STRONGLY recommend any developers using visual studio give it a try by downloading Expression Blend:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://silverlight.net/GetStarted/" target="_newWindow">http://silverlight.net/GetStarted/</a>

And listen. I dislike MS for the same reasons everyone else down but if their is one thing MS has done well in all the history it was Visual Studio. And any additional tools they can give/sell us that benefit my job, I will buy. This is worth it.

I want to develop in 1 language not several.

I personally think non designers or developers have any right to comment about silverlight without researching how much easier it makes our job.

This is not Microsoft VS ADOBE argument.

It is a development environment argument.

Their is ZERO benefit of silverlight of flash for end users. This is for developers and about saving money through saving time.

Please understand this.

I defend silverlight because I am lazy and want to work less...
Posted by debuggingthis (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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