Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sports Roundup

The BBC did very well with its simulcast of the first Formula1 race of the season. Considering that it was broadcast at 7am (or was it 8am - this daily hours thing has me confused as usual), and most internet TV video watching goes on during work hours, perhaps the pressure wasn't that great, but I was able to view the whole race with little buffering on my paltry 2Mbps connection.

Mind you, the quality of the coverage wasn't as slick as ITVs, but that was made up for by the lack of commercial breaks at key junctures in the race. As I write, the paid for internet TV service from Sky Sports is madly buffering away at medium setting.

Meanwhile, although I'm admittedly not a basketball fan, Google's decision to stream the March Madness games using Silverlight seems as technically strange as MSN's adoption of Flash video. However, many content owners still specify WM DRM, which Silverlight supports.

But what value is there to sports online ?

It has long been used as the backbone of mainstream TV services, but its success has been limited online. MediaZone and Perform's OmniSport.tv are perhaps the stand-out services outside the US, but I've heard mixed reports on their relative success and both parties are in the game of paying large guarantees to the right owners. Other service such as Sportal have long fallen by the wayside.

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