NBC Sports Streams Wimbledon With Silverlight
Written by Ryan Lawler
Monday, June 15. 2009 at 02:00 PM EDT
When the 2009 Wimbledon tennis tournament begins next week, NBC Universal will stream matches live online using Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Silverlight's Smooth Streaming technology.
Tennis fans in the U.S. will have access to live coverage online from NBCSports.com, including one high-definition (HD) stream and four other standard-definition streams of matches during the tournament.
The Wimbledon Live service will be powered by Microsoft Silverlight and its "Smooth Streaming" adaptive bit rate technology. Smooth Streaming allows publishers to encode various quality versions of a video file.
When the file is requested, the streaming server determines the highest-quality version to send based on an end user's broadband connection, and updates the bits that are sent as conditions change, ensuring the highest-quality bit rate that is available.
The Wimbledon coverage will be a bit of a testing ground for NBC, which has already committed to using Silverlight Smooth Streaming for its 2010 Olympics coverage at NBCOlympics.com. While Smooth Streaming has been available and in use for on-demand video for Canadian broadcaster CTV and Italian public broadcaster RAI, Wimbledon will be the first major live event in which the technology is used.
Also in on the Wimbledon live streaming project is iStreamPlanet Co. , which will handle content acquisition and encoding for the event. iStreamPlanet also built the video player and will provide management of live and on-demand video assets through its iStream Director product.
iStreamPlanet will use encoding equipment from Inlet Technologies Inc. for the event, and Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) has been chosen to deliver the video streams through its content delivery network (CDN).