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Why can't I fullscreen the NBC Olympics Silverlight Player?

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  • User profile image
    Michael Griffiths

    NBC's Enhanced Silverlight video player for the Olympics, developed by Schematic, happens to be very nice (whereas the ordinary one is simply ordinary).

    The Picture-in-Picture is cool, and allows you to keep an eye on "live" events while watching older videos. The video browser - by popularity, sport, etc - is also well done.

    However, I am unable to fullscreen the video player. This rather reduces the quality of the experience for me.

    I can only imagine that this limitation is built-in, as every other Silverlight video player I have ever encountered allowed easy fullscreening. Is there some reason for this?

  • User profile image
    wisemx

    I'm guessing with the 4 canvases if you are allowed to rescale they would have to re-sync each time.

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    wisemx said:
    I'm guessing with the 4 canvases if you are allowed to rescale they would have to re-sync each time.
    Silverlight does transforms on the fly, doubt it would have to re-anything. I'm guessing it's a "feature" not to have full screen since they actually want you to watch the television where they make more money in advertising.

  • User profile image
    Alan Cobb

    Harlequin said:
    wisemx said:
    *snip*
    Silverlight does transforms on the fly, doubt it would have to re-anything. I'm guessing it's a "feature" not to have full screen since they actually want you to watch the television where they make more money in advertising.
    The most popular workaround to force the Olympics video player to go full screen is to download Firefox 3 and use its "zoom in" mode. IE7 has an issue which makes its "zoom in" mode inadequate. For more details please see my blog article at http://www.alancobb.com/blog  I also describe a CSS tweak you can use on IE7 to make the player go full screen.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Alan Cobb said:
    Harlequin said:
    *snip*
    The most popular workaround to force the Olympics video player to go full screen is to download Firefox 3 and use its "zoom in" mode. IE7 has an issue which makes its "zoom in" mode inadequate. For more details please see my blog article at http://www.alancobb.com/blog  I also describe a CSS tweak you can use on IE7 to make the player go full screen.
    I actually got the videos to work outside of the browser completely (in VLC and Windows Media Player), but instead of being all open and writing a blog post about how to do it, I'll just keep it to myself Smiley

    Yes, I know, I'm mean.

  • User profile image
    stevo_

    Bass said:
    Alan Cobb said:
    *snip*
    I actually got the videos to work outside of the browser completely (in VLC and Windows Media Player), but instead of being all open and writing a blog post about how to do it, I'll just keep it to myself Smiley

    Yes, I know, I'm mean.
    Could it be you watched the http traffic and intercepted a playlist? Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    wisemx

    http://silverlight.net/forums/t/22318.aspx

    As for an explanation of why there is no true "full screen" mode:
    I think it's important for people to understand that this is an extremely large and complex project, and we are delivering an incredible amount of content to end users. The Olympics have very broad appeal across a wide range of people and computers, and therefore it's critical that the experience is accessible to as broad of an audience as possible. That means understanding the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband quality, etc. We didn't optimize for the lowest common denominator (e.g. you need to have at least 512k of bandwidth for a good experience on the site), but we did try to focus on targeting as many users as possible. The logisitics of streaming live video from Beijing to New York are substantial - doing this for up to thirty-three live streams at once + commentary is incredible and there are many, many tradeoffs tht must be made along the way.

    If I were you, I would be thinking, "'the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband' includes people like me with a new-ish computer and a larger monitor." Yep, you're absolutely right. We had to make a decision on which to optimize for first, and that was for as many users as possible to be able to access the site. Some folks aren't able to see the site due to bandwidth restrictions or because they have older machines. That sucks, but it was a tradeoff that we had to make. We also had to make a tradeoff at the high end, since we spent most of our time focusing on the broad consumer experience first.

    Again, if I were you, I would also be thinking, "yes, but it's not really that hard to do full screen video in Silverlight. Why didn't you just make a simple full screen mode?" Again, this was a judgement call based on the fact that once you add in browser chrome and the rest of the page, most people can't actually view a video size beyond the current enhanced mode, which is 848x480. Most people have 1024x768 monitors or less. There's also a quality issue for stretching video that far - the live feeds are 650k, which look incredible for most people, but not if you scale it up to a 30" monitor. The encore and highlight content peaks at 1.5mb, which does look much better if stretched that far, but again, we're trying to provide a good experience for all users.

    I heard from a few folks that there's a rumor floating around right now: that we (Microsoft) or they (NBC) made a decision to do this because we didn't want the end product to look "too good". I can guarantee you that this is absolutely false. We all want to be able to push above and beyond anything that's ever been accomplished before - this was simply a decision that we made due to the different tradeoffs that must be made for a project like this. Yes, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be even better in terms of online video delivery, and London in 2012 will absolutely blow everybody's minds. The internet video and media industries are innovating rapidly and we intend to help push things forward as much and as fast as we can.

    So that's the explanation. If you aren't satisfied and you think I'm an idiot or that we didn't care about fulfilling any promises that were made, that's OK. I'm really not offended, because I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Feel free to send me a private message and I'd be absolutely happy to hear your concerns.

    In the meantime, try the Firefox 3 zoom approach described above - this actually worked really well for me on my Mac. It's not true full-screen mode, but I was able to get most of the browser chrome removed, resize the window to fill the screen, and then press [command]+ to zoom up to the point where the video filled most of the screen. I think that Firefox 3 on the PC has a F11 full screen mode as well, which would allow you to remove almost all of the chrome and zoom even larger. This will look best with Encore and Highlight content because it's higher-quality content.

    thanks for listening so far,

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

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