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NBCU ups Olympics ante with on-demand streaming

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:21pm
Brian Santo

Comcast and its NBC/Universal (NBCU) unit are going to up the ante on Olympics coverage, by not only live streaming all Olympic events (as NBC and the BBC did during the London Games), but also by making every single event available streaming on demand.

To accomplish this, NBC will use a system that pairs Adobe’s Primetime with Microsoft’s Azure Media Services.

Digital ad insertion (DAI) will be possible for all ad slots in the live and on-demand streams, so that NBC will be able to run one ad during a live stream, and insert a different ad in the on-demand stream of the same video clip.

Furthermore, the Adobe/Microsoft platform that NBC will be using for streaming and DAI is able to accomplish targeted advertising, according to Ashley Still, Adobe director of product marketing, video solutions group.

Though NBC has this option available, the broadcaster has not announced whether or not it will use it.

NBCU will also rely on Adobe for analytics, ad insertion, and authentication. The broadcaster will also use Adobe Primetime Players to enable playback on a range of devices, including desktops (Flash) iOS and Android mobile devices, and Comcast’s Xfinity X1 hybrid set-tops.

In London, Adobe enabled Comcast and Cablevision customers logging in through their Wi-Fi accounts to be automatically authenticated. This year, those two MSOs will be joined by Cox Communications, Midcontinent, and Verizon, which this time around will be able to offer the same option to their subscribers, Still said.

Separately, there was also a spate of releases today from vendors whose equipment NBCU will be using to capture, produce, and deliver Olympics coverage.

NBCU, as part of its streaming network, will also use the Platform’s content management system, Akamai’s CDN services and Akamai’s Sola QoS monitoring.

On the production side, Miranda Technologies was selected to provide an array of Densité modular signal processing, iControl control and monitoring solutions, and Kaleido multiviewers. NBC will use Miranda's solutions to help manage and prepare the signals the Broadcast Operations Center will receive from the various venues.

Using Miranda’s new Streaming Media Encoder (SME) card, NBC will create a closed-circuit IPTV monitoring system to view critical signals from any location equipped with an IP or WiFi connection, giving easier access to more members of the broadcast team.

Harmonic is providing its MediaGrid shared storage and Spectrum MediaDeck integrated media playout server systems. NBCU’s NBC Olympics unit will use the Harmonic solution to support a "highlights factory" in which staff based at the broadcaster's Stamford, Conn., facility will access event footage captured in Russia, create highlights clips, and make them available to mobile devices and computers, the vendor said.

Harmonic MediaDeck video servers will record as many as 25 incoming venue feeds as both XDCAM-HD at 50 Mbps and H.264 low-resolution proxy. The NBC Olympics production staff in the U.S. and Russia will have direct access to content stored on either MediaGrid system through the media asset management (MAM) system, even if the event is still in progress and the files are still being received.

Ericsson was selected to provide its video contribution and distribution systems to NBC Olympics.

Avid will provide products for content creation, media management, and storage, including the company’s Interplay Media Asset Management (MAM) system.

According to stats provided by Harmonic, during the two-week London event, NBC Olympics served up more than two billion page views.

 

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