Cisco easing NBC’s Olympics coverage

Thu, 08/07/2008 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

Cisco said it is the provider of the IP video network infrastructure and video encoding technology that NBC is using to transmit its coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which start Friday.

Cisco said the trans-ocean network powered by Cisco will enable the transfer of gigabyte-sized files between Beijing, New York and Los Angeles. NBC personnel in New York and Los Angeles will use Cisco equipment to edit video from Beijing and deliver it to TVs, PCs and smartphones.

In previous Olympics, NBC staff had to work from videotapes to add graphics and captions to event shots, Cisco explained. With the current set-up, using a file-based workflow for shot selection, the network can select shots and distribute them to affiliates even before an event is finished.

"With the Cisco network solution, we've achieved the Holy Grail of digital video, which is the ability to perform shot selections on low-resolution files and extract high-resolution material from those files even as they are being recorded. That is a huge accomplishment," said Craig Lau, vice president for Information Technology with NBC Olympics.

Viewers of NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games will be able to use their PCs and laptops to access 2,200 hours of video that they can playback on-demand, as well as 3,000 hours of highlights, rewinds, encores and scoring results. Individuals will also be able to watch video and view results on their smartphones.

"We are making broadcast history, executing the creation, management and distribution of digital video in a way that's never been achieved before," said Tony Bates, senior vice president and general manager of the Cisco Service Provider Group. "We are entering the visual-networking era where video changes everything, especially the way people connect with the Olympic Games. The Olympics is all about the experience. The next best thing to being in Beijing is to be able to see the event coverage. This year, not only are thousands of hours of Olympic coverage being transmitted in real time, but Cisco's IP video network and encoding technologies are also giving people the ability to access hundreds of event videos on-demand using their PCs, laptops and mobile devices for an unprecedented Olympic experience anywhere, anyplace, anytime."

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