Streaming Olympic Broadcast: hype or huzzah!

I think the last time I was really excited about the Olympics was when it here is Los Angeles in 1984. Maybe it was because I got to go the Women's Individual qualifying round (Round of 64) with my dad. Ever since that time, I got more an more frustrated with the news coverage because they continued to only show popular events like gymnastics, track & field, swimming, diving, etc. and not the stuff that the US teams were particularly good at like archery or fencing (though fencing we got all 3 medal in Women's Saber...SWEET!). You end up NBC video feed-delays because they want to maximize viewership yet the Associated Press and other news organizations are posting results in real-time so why bother waiting for NBC to broadcast?

I've heard and read that a lot of people are complaining that the Silverlight video streaming hasn't been very good. That either it wouldn't work their machine or that the install takes to long and the video is unwatchable.

Personally, I have been watching the video streaming on three (3) laptops: two Windows Vista machines (Toshiba Tecra M7 and Lenovo T60P) and a Gen1 Dell XPS Laptop running WinXP SP2 (installed and configured long before I joined Microsoft). All machines are accessing the Internet wirelessly and all have been able to stream video just fine. I'll admit the WinXP box took a bit longer to install the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 player than the Vista boxes, but it works just fine. So much so, I couldn't pull my dad away from it long enough to gather around the dinner table with the rest of the family to sing happy birthday to my mom and mother-in-law because he was focused on watching the replay of China v. Korea in the Women's Team Archery finals.

Granted, the only commentary you hear is what is being broadcasted over the loud speaker at the event. No Bob Costa or other NBC newscaster trying to explain the event and what you're seeing, but if you were there in-person, you wouldn't get that anyway. The fact that I get to see events live or on the replay is extremely cool! It's made me excited about the Olympics again! No matter how much NBC broadcasts on the main NBC channel or on their other cable/satellite channels, you'll never get to see every event or events YOU want to see.

So is the streaming broadcast all hype or huzzah? I'd say it's both. Its definitely a great companion to the NBC broadcast and yes, it's hype to show of Microsoft's Silverlight technology. Was the buffering annoying? Yes, but not any more annoying than buffering from YouTube, QuickTime, or Real. Is it perfect? Considering this is a beta of Silverlight, I would say it was a great showcase of the technology and I believe the technology is only as good as the source of the content. There are areas to improve upon, but like I said before, I'm excited about the Olympics again and the feeds make me want to watch the games more than any NBC broadcast has made me want to watch it in the past.

I'm interested to hear what you think about the Silverlight broadcast, your experience with using it, and the Olympics in general.


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