2008 Olympics brought to you by Silverlight

On 8-8-08 the 2008 Summer Olympic Games will officially kick off in Beijing, China.  This event always amazes me in its unique ability to bring together people from all walks of life across the world.  It is a great opportunity to see some extraordinary feats by amazing athletes.  These Olympic games will be covered more extensively on the web than ever before.


We have signed an agreement to partner with NBC Universal to build a Silverlight 2.0 based web broadcast of the 2008 Summer Olympic games.  This agreement also sets MSN as the official home of the 2008 Summer Olympics.  


As a part of this, we will provide users with exclusive access to over 3000 hours of live and on-demand video content via Silverlight streaming.  This means that viewers can access every minute of every event.  Additionally, the amount of meta-data attached to each of the streams will be extensive and include links to player bios, medal counts, shortcuts to particular events (i.e. athlete x’s third long-jump attempt), maps of the Olympic facilities, pop-up overlays with real-time event alerts, headlines, video search capabilities, etc.  


It is exciting to see Silverlight be the catalyst to turn “NBCOlympics.com on MSN” into a ground breaking site and video experience that will redefine sports content online and in some small way we can be part of this historic event.



Comments (38)

  1. Via the Geek in Disguise , I was turned onto the CES 2008 Video featuring Bill Gates . This is so much

  2. vasudev says:

    That’s great news ! It will be really a very rich content experience. As I had seen last month, in a Twenty-20 Cricket Tournament ICL providing Live feed using Silverlight Streaming.

    Microsoft Silverlight and Cricket


  3. Via the Geek in Disguise , I was turned onto the CES 2008 Video featuring Bill Gates . This is so much

  4. Jon Breen says:

    Why not just use Flash! You guys crease me up. Knobs

  5. Microsoft Silverlight 2.0 will debut on 2008 Olympics

  6. anonymous says:

    Which probably means Silverlight 2.0 will RTM in at least H1 2008! Yay! Btw, so far, I’ve found media streamed using Silverlight to be the worst performer in the industry…no where do my videos stick so much than MSN Video, 10 or Microsoft.com. Also, Silverlight do not seem to cache the already downloaded/streamed part of the video. I even stopped watching Channel 9 when they switched to Silverlight. Also, like Flash it provides no way to download/save the video, view source, doesn’t give as much flexibility as the WMP ActiveX control.

  7. Silverlight at the Olympic games

  8. Gazduita pe MSN, proiectul olimpiadei de vara va fi (poate) cea mai sonora implementare pentru Silverlight

  9. Big deal this technology was around for a long time. I don’t what the fuss is all about?

  10. Big deal! this technology was around for a long time. I don’t what the fuss is all about?

  11. Daniel Greenfeld says:

    I can’t get Silverlight to work on my Mac laptop.  I install it and nothing happens except it tells me to load a missing plugin.

    So sad they aren’t going with Flash.

  12. Andre says:

    Exiting! I love to see Silverlight getting more reach, so this is just fantastic! Hopefully the spread of the plugin reaches far bigger numbers through this, so my new projects based on Silverlight will get more reach 2008 – just awesome!

  13. Shawn says:

    Seems like the site is already using Flash for the existing video content: http://www.nbcolympics.com/video

  14. pb says:

    Slowest 100 meters in History?

  15. Adam Batkin says:

    Wow, that sucks. So you can only use the website if you are running Windows. I suppose since it’s probably only less than 10% of the US population, the advertisers won’t notice. So much for the web being built on open standards. Just when most companies were starting to build cross-platform and standards-based solutions…

  16. Allan says:

    I gotta agree with Adam Batkin on this one. Boo Silverlight.

    Oh, but apparently Intel Macs have a SL plugin . . . like I’d ever install it!

  17. Steven Smith says:

    I missed this last week, but it appears that the 2008 Olympics in China will be made available online

  18. Munan says:

    There is a Mac version of Silverlight being developed. It should be released with plenty of time to space.

    Don’t worry, there are Mac users inside Microsoft and we’re not leaving anyone out of the loop.

    And seriously, stop sweating market share. Do you honestly think Ferrari gives a damn that Toyota has a higher market share?

    Anyway, the slowness in Silverlight now will be addressed in both final version and that lag will be gone.

    To address the fellow that asked, "Why not use Flash?"

    Simple. Flash sucks. It’s also a security breach waiting to happen.

    NBC want something a little more secure. Apparently there are security measures implemented in Silverlight that Flash can’t touch….

  19. Adam Batkin says:

    > Don’t worry, there are Mac users inside Microsoft and we’re not leaving anyone out of the loop.

    I have a PowerPC Mac and I have a Linux box. So yeah, you are leaving me out of the loop.

    The internet was built with open standards. The web only exists because all of its standards and protocols were open from day one, with no threat of patent infringement lawsuits or having to reverse-engineer someone else’s work.

  20. Shawn Ji says:


  21. Hans says:

    Wow, I wonder if NBC thinks many iPhone users will want to view the site? Silverlight will work on the iPhone, right?

    Just imagine being able to view highlights of the Olympic Games on the most popular mobile phone in history. That will be cool.

  22. Akshay says:

    Hans says:

    "Just imagine being able to view highlights of the Olympic Games on the most popular mobile phone in history."

    I so agree! It’ll be extremely cool if someone can get either Silverlight or Flash running on a Nokia 1100, a mobile-phone model that sold 100 times the number of iphones across the world.

  23. Mike Diack says:

    I have to agree with the naysayers, half of the new streaming videos at technet (eg Mark Russinovich glitch or just stop dead at certain points) and these are not one offs – they occur 100% reproducibly and reliably. Why on earth couldn’t Microsoft back and use flash instead.

  24. Mike Diack –

    can you point me to a video on Technet where you are seeing this occur? Feel free to contact me offline at tom.taylor [at] microsoft.com to discuss further.

    Daniel Greenfeld –

    If you’ve restarted your browser and that still doesn’t fix it, you might have a pre-release version of Silverlight on your machine, as well as the released version. Go to your root directory, and open /Library/Internet Plug-ins. Move anything named "Silverlight.plugin" or "WPFE.plugin" to the Trash. Then do the same thing in /Library/Receipts. Restart your browser, install silverlight from silverlight.net, restart the browser, and then try again.

    If that doesn’t work, please contact me offline and I’ll see if I can help you out further. Or you can always try the silverlight.net forums.

  25. Joe says:

    >I have a PowerPC Mac and I have a Linux box. So yeah, you are leaving me out of the loop.

    Actually, silverlight is being developed for Linux, check out moonlight.

  26. Всех женщин с 8-м марта! Ну, и, традиционная открытка: А вот еще одна открытка, с очень красивым видом:

  27. Tim says:

    Why the hell can’t i find the Olympics Silverlight coverage anywhere!  what’s the link to the site?

  28. MegP_MS says:

    Tim – You can find the Silverlight content on http://www.nbcolympics.com and look at the videos section.  You will see videos that you can stream live as well as recorded ones from earlier events.


  29. Lance says:

    Once again Macs get the short end of the stick. I have been a Mac user since the beginning and as yet have seen no reason to change from my fantastic little 12" PB G4 to an Intel Mac. All those like me are being shut out of the NBC Olympics coverage of the obscure sports (like fencing or air pistol), and it’s all thanks to Silverlight 2.0. I wish there was a workable version for powerpc Macs, or a method to download the Olympic videos to some common format, but apparently there is not. And, since those with Intel PC’s and Intel Macs couldn’t care less about this, nothing will happen to fix it. I’m used to that.

  30. C. says:

    Nice optimism that Mac users are supported.  On a PPC Mac and no way to watch live video of the Olympics.  MS/NBC unholy alliance strikes again.  Also, nice article on NYT about how Silverlight brings up same monopolistic practices MSFT was caught for in the past.  Disgusted.

  31. Patrick says:

    It’s nice to see that SilverLight 2.0 and Microsoft have once again shown that they should step out of the way. Hell of a way to make something as global as the Olympics not as available as it should be – as C noted above.

    Flash would have been the better move. This is just another example of Microsoft dumping a ton of money into something only to do it unsuccessfully. True Innovation > Money-Dumping Copycats everytime.

  32. James Onstad says:

    I can not believe that NBC/Microsoft would exclude millions of people from watching the Olympics just to compete with Apple. They are using a great and noble event just to turn a porfit, how shameful. I for one will be boycotting the NBC broadcasts of the Olympics and all Microsoft products from now on.

  33. Morton Chalom says:

    I love Silverlight for the Fencing coverage!

    How can I save the movies for later watching, please?  Fencing is so fast that I want to review it later and see if I can learn some tips.



  34. Annoyed says:

    I’m opposed to this movement.  Requiring that you install a specific piece of software that works on a limited number of operating systems, and on a limited number of browsers severely cuts back on the number of people who can watch the Olympics.  First, if you’re going to require us to install a plugin to view the games, make it available to *all* users.  Yup, Linux users want to see the games, too.  Don’t assume that everyone is going to use a narrow range of browsers.  You’ve got it working on Safari for Mac, but not Safari for Windows?  Not Firefox on Linux?  And if it’s a Firefox plugin, then why aren’t you going through Firefox’s plugin repository?  Instead, I’ve got an odd .exe installer, and I’m not sure what sort of changes it’s going to do to my system before it’s done.  No thanks, I’d rather go without watching the Olympics this year.  I value a free, open web over having to jump through so many hoops and pick from a narrow range of browser/OS solutions just to make Silverlight developers happy.  Don’t try to change the users to fit the software, change the software to fit the user. </rant>

  35. Cole Joplin says:

    There is nothing "groundbreaking" or "redefining" about this except that people are forced into Microsoft proprietary web technology to use it. A big, fat, download. Hardly something to be proud of.

    This is a very big win for Microsoft, and a big big lose for NBC. Nice to see some people being honest enough to say the video performance is awful. It’s got more chops than a packed Benihanna!

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