"Silverlight to shine in NBC's Olympic's coverage" on News.com

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News.com has a nice article by Victoria Ho up today about how Silverlight is going to be used for NBC's Olympic's coverage. It's based on an interview with Johnathan D. Miller, NBC's Senior Vice President, Sports Programming.

Some bits indicating the scope of what we're working on here:

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.

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.

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.

It's great stuff, and certainly the biggest, coolest project I've ever been involved with (not that I'm doing that much of the heavy lifting personally at this point). It's amazing how far things have come since the 1998 World Cup when I was struggling to get 320x240 web video clips to look good enough for Nike's web site for the event while still offering decent buffering times on 56K modems.

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