March Madness coming to Silverlight via CBS

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It’s always nice to be able to reveal a project I’ve been working on for a while.

The Sports Business Journal just revealed that we’re teaming up with CBSSports.com to do the NCAA March Madness in Silverlight!

Some key quotes from the article:

CBSSports.com has signed a deal with Microsoft to use the software giant’s Silverlight video player for March Madness on Demand, becoming the latest entity to embrace the software.

CBSSports.com is aiming to improve the video quality of MMOD after last year’s record turnout of 4.8 million unique users for the free offering. Silverlight will nearly triple the peak video resolution available, to 1.5 megabits per second from 550 kilobits per second last year.

CBSSports.com had been using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player for its MMOD coverage and will continue to use that in a standard-level offering that will be available along with the higher-quality, Silverlight-powered experience.

“This is simply about our running down the checklist and trying to address each thing the fans have said they want,” said Jason Kint, CBSSports.com senior vice president and general manager. “Last year, it was foremost about eliminating registration and blackouts, which we did. And this year, it’s about improving the video experience itself as much as we can.”

I’m pretty excited with the live video quality we’re  getting at 1.5 Mbps. Basketball is some of the most complex content to encode, due to all those fast horizontal pans with high detail crowds in the background. The combination of codec improvements plus tripling the bitrate should really pay off in terms of the final experience.

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