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How does 2000+ machines sound?  Transforming a Saturday Night Live recording area into a live commentator section full of workstations and bloggers?  Scoble had a chance to sit down with Eric Schmidt from Microsoft to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes information about the NBCOlympics.com Silverlight experience.  Despite the video quality not being great, the information is very good.  I recently saw a few other partners involved in the NBCOlympics.com project talk about things and kept feeling like they were really missing a great opportunity to talk about one of the key aspects in the implementation.  Eric covers the basics as well as that key aspect…it’s a good video.  Take the 35 minutes to watch it.

I’ve seen a lot of comments on the interwebs both positive and negative about the NBCOlympics.com experience and decisions to choose Silverlight.  I’d like to applaud the NBC team myself as I think this is no small feat regardless of whatever technology was to be decided.  Thousands of hours of live and on-demand Olympic coverage streamed live and encoded for later on-demand instantly, then pushed to the US across the Pacific…add to that all the normal television and data being sent as well.  It’s a technological feat that all partners involved were brave to try.  And for Olympic fans in the US, it’s paying off. 

Angry that it isn’t available in non-US areas?  Well, welcome to media licensing :-).  This isn’t Microsoft’s fault or NBC’s fault or anyone’s ‘fault’ really – it’s economics of business…whether you think it is right or wrong…that’s what it is.  Blackouts happen all the time in sports…all major sports do it.  I hate it too, but it is a reality.  The IOC basically sells the rights to broadcast the Olympics.  Several companies have purchased these rights…NBC was one of them who did it for the US.

Because of the time difference in Beijing, I’ve been able to see some of the amazing finishes some of the teams have been having in medal rounds, not having to worry about setting up TiVo or anything.  Great work to NBC and their partners.


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