In August 2008 we were proud to be part of sports history and deliver a Summer Olympics online experience for fans everywhere. In partnership with NBC, the Silverlight and MSN teams are once again delivering on our commitment to providing the highest quality online video experience with live and on-demand HD (720p) coverage of the XXI Olympic Winter Games with Silverlight and Live Smooth Streaming. The new, interactive Silverlight player was recently launched on http://www.nbcolympics.com and we encourage you to visit the site and join NBC as they count down 100 days to the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

None of this would be possible without the close cooperation of our partners who are helping Microsoft and NBC push the envelope with the delivery of Olympics content. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how that magic happens:

  • The raw video feeds come from Vancouver through NBC’s facilities in New York City onward to iStreamPlanet’s facilities in Las Vegas. iStreamPlanet helped to develop the content acquisition, encoding and CDN ingest architecture, including the design and development of the workflow automation service to automate video decoding, routing, publishing points creation, encoding and content ingestion into the CDN.clip_image001_thumb
  • Inlet’s Spinnaker technology encodes the feeds into Live Smooth Streaming formats using encoders into 6 different bitrates for each stream.

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  • Akamai servers pick up the encoded Live Smooth Streaming files from Microsoft-hosted Windows Servers, and use the Akamai HD Network to deliver and cache the content around the network.

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  • Viewers watch content through the Silverlight-based media player, designed and developed by Vertigo, which reads and integrates a data feed from Deltatre that contains all of the play-by-play information, schedules, results and other Olympics-related statistical information.

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  • Monitoring software from Conviva ensures an alert is sent to NBC and Microsoft if there are any problems with the streams so the problem can be corrected immediately.

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During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Silverlight enabled viewers to choose what they wanted to watch, when they wanted to watch it. For the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics we’re working with NBC to make the experience even better! In addition to live and on-demand coverage of the events, we’ve added some new interactive features such as:

  • Full PVR-like functionality with fast forward, rewind and slow motion capabilities, as well as the ability to join a live stream after it has started.
  • Enhanced play-by-play functionality to easily jump the video to key moments like a goal being scored in hockey or a world-record breaking split time in skiing.
  • A Microsoft Silverlight Deep Zoom slide show viewing experience that provides a quick and easy way to browse, view, and zoom into entire photo collections, developed by Vertigo.

As you can see, it takes a lot to make this happen! We invite you to experience the new NBC Olympics site today on http://www.nbcolympics.com and look forward to additional enhancements to the player and the opening ceremonies on February 12, 2010.