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The Olympic Live Stream: Observations, Recommendations, Predictions

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the hey-guys-not-enough-ads dept.

Media 82

lpress writes "The Tour de France and the Olympics were live streamed on the Web. The BBC streamed 2,500 hours of live coverage of the Olympics and NBC streamed the entire Tour de France and 302 events from all 32 Olympic sports. I watched both events as a fan and as an observer of the online content and the network performance. I blogged detailed descriptions of my experience and summarized it in 12 observations and recommendations. The summary concludes with predictions about the way live events will be covered in the future — coverage of these events was an early step in a major shakeup of the way live events are produced, distributed and viewed."

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82 comments

NBC did a great job (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031303)

I found NBC's coverage to be pretty awesome. I didn't have to watch regionally-popular sports that aren't interesting to me (an American), and basically got to watch America soundly defeat the world in the medal race.

America! Fuck Yeah!

Re:NBC did a great job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031511)

Considering it took the Americans 530/104 = 5.1 athletes for each medal whereas it took China only 396/88 = 4.5 I'd say China won.

Re:NBC did a great job (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031993)

But the Chinese condemned 1500 kids to hard labor camp per Chinese athlete that went to the Olympics. The U.S. Only had 100 losers per athlete.

The above facts are from the AC research group.

Re:NBC did a great job (3, Interesting)

zegota (1105649) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032769)

OP's comment was obviously trolling, but your analysis doesn't make a lot of sense, considering getting atheletes through to the Olympics is an achievement in and of itself. If you're going to try to base who "won" off of anything other than pure medal count, the best way to go is obviously medals per capita, in which case, I believe Grenada soundly defeated the rest of the world (1 gold medal, 100,000 population).

Re:NBC did a great job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41033267)

The analysis makes a lot of sense but you don't like it so your analysis, which doesn't make a lot of sense, is superior.
Using your method there's no way for India or China to ever win, especially since each nation is limited to 2 or 3 (if it's a top nation) athletes in the individual sports.
Regardless, no nation "won". Nobody other than the athlete did.

Re:NBC did a great job (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034487)

I suppose there's a good reason for not having an 'official' medal rank. The usual ranking, based on the amount of gold medals per country, seems to indicate that medals can be bought. You'd want to correct for income and preferably also for 'waste' in the case of countries who can't really afford athletes (North Korea comes to mind).

Re:NBC did a great job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031623)

I found NBC's coverage to be dire, and NBC's streaming video to be mediocre. Where's the front-to-back stream of the closing ceremony? Oh, there isn't one. It's in pieces. The sailing replays aren't as described at all - the "replay" of a race is a few hours of video from the day the race was, with the race I want to see stuck in the middle somewhere, maybe. I don't think all the races are even there. The gymnastics coverage was a little better, but still doesn't appear to have full coverage. This is 2012. The technology exists for me to spend a week watching a continuous stream from a camera pointed at the pommel horse, if that's what I want to see.

But the bottom line is that NBC makes a huge pot of money from selling primetime advertising during the Olympics, a much smaller pot selling advertising on its online streams, and has a big financial interest in keeping people paying those cable subscriptions, so won't offer a way for cord cutters to pay to watch online.

Re:NBC did a great job (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032199)

2 *billion* people worldwide watched Usain Bolt win the Mens 100m gold medal live. But none of them did it via an American TV network.

Re:NBC did a great job (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41033567)

I wanted to watch a broadcast channel's live streaming on the web.

They required that I have a mid-tier cable subscription or they wouldn't stream to me.

So I didn't watch the Olympics on the Internet.

NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031411)

I wanted to stream part of the Olympics, but NBC wouldn't take my money! They demanded that I pay Comcast $65 or more to have "free" access to the streaming. I am a comcast subscriber, but not at that level.

They wouldn't let me pay to stream ... so I found .... "other alternatives."

Damn you NBC! Offer a way to pay $10-$20 to stream the content for non-cable subscribers - please.

BTW, Calling Comcast on Monday to completely drop CATV service. OTA/ATSC provides more channels here than the $30/month plan.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (2)

MacBurn11 (2430370) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031585)

Well here in Germany everyone who owns a TV has to pay around 17€ per month to fund a consortium of public-service broadcasters. They provide regional programs, news and sometimes cover sports events like soccer or tennis. Normally everyone bitches about it, but during the Olympics it was definitely worth it.

Apart from the normal TV program, which covered the more famous types of sports (tennis, swimming, etc.), you could watch each and every event via livestream in reasonable quality on their websites. Some streams featuring less famous sports or late at night had no commentary, but sometimes that can be a bonus. I was really pleased with their coverage of the events and hope they will do the same thing with the Winter Olympics in two years.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031841)

NBC had Universal Sports, US, which was both a broadcast TV station and web site. It carried the less popular sports like soccer, bicycle racing, and hundreds of others - these barely get any airplay in the states.

There was some FCC ruling when Comcast bought NBC that forced NBC to take Universal Sports off broadcast TV and make it a pay only channel on cable and satellite systems. No more broadcast. The US website started working like the OP NBC login for the Olympics - tell us your cable userid/password to gain access. There was/is no way to provide a directd payment to gain access to their coverage. What's even worse is they deployed using Silverlight for a few years. How many video companies were suckered into that joke?

In the US, we don't get taxed directly for TV, but our taxes do fund small parts of PBS - public broadcasting system. It has news, information, arts and children centric programming. I can't recall ever seeing any sports. Other funding for PBS shows come from corporate sponsors AND "viewers like you" during their bi-annual donation drives. Of the people who donate, I'd guess most spend about $10-$20 per month. If you've ever seen "Sesame Street" - that originated from our PBS channels.

Most homes in the USA also have paid TV providers. These "packages" cost from $35-$200+ per month. I had a $158/month package for about 10 yrs.

More and more people in their 20s aren't getting any paid TV at all, so all the TV companies are worried about losing subscribers as the current "consumers" die off. Large businesses don't call their customers, "customers", we are "consumers." I find that term offensive.

If you are near a major metro area (65 miles or less), it is possible to setup a an antenna systems to receive OTA/ATSC hidef video broadcasts for free. These are paid by the commercials. If you are a little further away, a little more care can be taken with an antenna for up to about 90 miles. The antenna will need to be more focused and higher, but it can work ("Antennas Direct 91XG" for example). My home-built antenna receives channels from 20-50 miles away just fine.

Anyway, back to my point. Most Americans are paying much more than $30/month for TV. Most of the people I know pay between $50 and $100 per month to a provider to have access to 70-300+ channels of crap when they only want about 20 channels.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

MacBurn11 (2430370) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032325)

Wow, those rates sound insanely high. Then again, here you also have to pay ca. 18€ per month just for the cable connection, which then gets you all the channels you can watch via a satellite dish (a one time investment). Those are the aforementioned public broadcast channels, plus a range of private channels, which are financed by commercials. The public channels broadcast in FullHD, but to watch the private channels in a better quality you have to pay around 70€ per year.

There are also some cable providers that offer sports, movie and tv series packages. I think the most expensive package, including all the channels, costs 50€. You then get access to more recent movies and series, and every weekend you can watch all soccer matches of the german major league live. I think this is the most bought package, because it's exclusive to one provider and soccer is kind of a big deal around here (33€).

So I guess all in all you could also end up with a 100€ bill per month. For me, that is just to much money for watching TV. I'd rather have something like netflix or hulu, but we don't have anything like that over here. If it was possible to stream recent movies and series in acceptable quality and with an english audio stream, I would gladly pay 30-50 bucks per month, but certainly not anything near a hundred bucks.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41032499)

Hulu, Hulu-Plus and Netflix sound better than they really are. Amazon also has a TV/Movie streaming service. If Amazon gets a TV show, then Netflix does not and vice versa.

Together, they probably get 50% of the popular TV shows about 9-12 months after they've aired - when the DVDs are released. It is possible that some shows are carried a week after the TV broadcast on hulu but those are usually also available directly from the station's streaming website. Netflix "HD" claims 720, but I think it quickly drops to more like 480p (about DVD quality) to save bandwidth. I have no proof.

The 300+ channel cable packages have about 40 premium movie channels - like 8 feeds from HBO and 6 from Showtime ... all with different programming. I've seen ads for the popular sports packages and ESPN (1, 2, 3, college, .... ), but I only **love** 1 sport that seems to only be televised every 4 yrs during the Olympics. About 2 hours a year of ad-hoc coverage for my sport happens here. It is really sad. I miss Universal Sports, but not enough to pay $65/month for cable to get live feeds for fewer than (10) 3 hr events every year.

Those cable TV prices usually bundle internet and maybe phone service together. Phone is usually $30/month and internet is $50/month, but CableTV is $65 for about 70 channels - no premiums. They really push a 3-way 12 month deal bundle for $100, but after 12 months to rate changes to $140+. They act like a drug dealer - lower price "taste" to get you started, then they hope you don't notice the rates increasing every year ... slowly.

Very few people only get TV from the cable company. They get internet too. In terms of internet connection, cable is really the only choice - DSL is a joke in comparison - almost like dialup. I hear about 384K upstreams and 3M downstreams from DSL all the time. Then they don't actually get either - ever. On cable, my down and up were 30Mbps / 20Mbps last week. I pay for much less, but they simply have the extra to let us use here. Cable ISP has been boosting bandwidth as more DOCSIS3 get's deployed.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

MacBurn11 (2430370) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032709)

Well then I guess it's not so bad. The channels we got only have American shows with German audio or produce their own low budget crap. At least Showtime and HBO have some good original shows that are worthy to watch. If you also get a good Internet line with it, then it may be money well spent after all.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41034715)

I can't think of the last German show we got. Does whatever Heidi Klum does count?
We do get some BBC shows eventually. PBS plays a few comedies and a few spy shows. Dr. Who used to be on PBS in the 80s, but now I'd have to spend over $90/month for a cable plan with 200+ channels to get BBC-America. It is repackaged BBC with tons of commercials last time I got it .... about 3 yrs ago? I think Netflix has Dr. Who from last year - nothing current. I'm not a huge fan fortunately.

And I'd like to apologize to all of Germany for David Hasselhoff too - sorry.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034435)

nnot sure when did you watch your streams or what sports you like but German TV did (from my perspective) the same crap as always on air and their streaming sucked big time. So what was on air was a big show of doped athletes - in fact I had impression any time I turn it on it is either heavy weights lifting or swimming and such. Their streaming was crap and besides opening ceremony and one basketball game I never managed to see anything in most of the cases I got empty page saying 'try later' or some such so even their main web sides were overwhelmed. You could watch late at nite of course but German TV did not provide full coverage archive except some highlights from the day. Crap and crap. After some searching I found out European Broadcasting Union site and I found at least something to watch. Their streams were not so good quality and had no comments but there were 12 main streams covering each day. You could watch all games you wanted. There were no commentary except from what one could hear from the venues but that is something an advantage :) The browsing and random access was abit difficult so when I wanted to see particular judo fight that was a problem but then people in the arena had to watch it all too :) On top of this you could find EBU members streams there - Germans were not available for legal reasons but BBC did nicely at least for closing ceremony. Generally I find German approach - fees paid by GEZ not bad but the methods used are just wrong and the effects on public TV at least terrible. GEZ is violating privacy of people and there are some reports of them selling data that they got trough their 'legal' methods for profit. Add to this really bad quality of broadcasting in Germany - I mean how many TATORT or CSI are you going to watch? ARD (made with french broadcaster) and niche ZDF broadcasts (ZDF Kultur etc) are less terrible though. It is still better that the crap presented on private channels. Quite frankly I stopped watching regularly long time ago.

Bottom line is : BBC seems to have done things right. EBU as a backup solution did well albeit quality should be much better. The service for which you pay (in Germany at least) was dreadful and there is no improvement in sight - I complained to ZDF and they just 'did not know' what disturbance would they be having and I am pretty sure this is not my last mile or home network that was at fault as I did try to access from different locations/ISPs. So shit as usuall and sheopple happy as usual.

This is OT but I find all these doped robots appalling - only few sports actually are enjoyable - teams sports are good (albeit football is just plain boring and without alco not enjoyable) - at least there is a chance that actual ability is not made up in a drug store. Archery was good. Judo and taekwondo is good to watch too and I do not believe they enhance their ability in drug store too much. Fencing was interesting too. Badminton was interesting also albeit for different reasons - I would not think there could be teams not willing to win the match for tactical reasons - good that they were disqualified. In fact after all the reports about the doping scandals and I had temptation to follow snooker only. These sportpeople are professionals of course and this is their job but then what do I as a amatour sportsman have in common with these robots? The feeling that with a bit of luck and hard work you can reach high level is gone after you look at results the professionals have.

It is also so funny to observe the discussion in German media about the 'targets' I did not know but apparently Germany set some targets for their athletes - this many medals in particular discipline etc I guess they should stop giving money away (to Greece, to the banks and football associations etc) and instead start funding schools instead then maybe they will have material on which they can work on. Having Germans doing efficient doping controls does not help of course.... Come to think about schools and what I see there - having all the focus on girls and 'girly' society is not doing the kids too much good - not much sports in the schools and they cannot run and enjoy the sun during the brakes - all must be orderly. I guess Germans do not want to have men with balls. No wonder their reproduction rates are falling so low (even if we immigrants are trying....).

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41035725)

Well here in Germany everyone who owns a TV has to pay around 17€ per month to fund a consortium of public-service broadcasters.

That sounds like the British license fee of £145.50 per year for a color TV and £49.00 for a black and white TV. We have no such fees in the US, but the cheapest cable subscription would be more than 17€ per month.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41039601)

>>>cheapest U.S. cable subscription would be more than 17â per month.

Yeah but that's for cable. Germany and British viewers have to pay the 17 euro per month (or £145.50 per year) and still don't have cable. Just whatever they pick up by antenna.

Our antenna TV is free.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41045381)

We can buy a Freesat box and enjoy satellite TV for free.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031593)

Pretty much my experience. "Oh, awesome NBC has the olypmics"

Go to the olympic streaming page.

"So what cable provider do you have that you can sign in through".

Well none. No olympics for me. Even though NBC is OTA. Hell put 1/3 of the screen with ads, just let me watch the damn stuff life.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032639)

Well none. No olympics for me. Even though NBC is OTA. Hell put 1/3 of the screen with ads, just let me watch the damn stuff life.

Despite NBC being "OTA", they aired Olympics on far more than just the OTA channels. Most days, they had 8-12 hour blocks of programming on *several* cable channels.

(I admit I mostly watched the 'main' NBC prime time coverage this time, but in the past, I have watched coverage on some of the other channels on which they aired events.)

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032687)

They did. Youtube did way too many annoying commercials. Honestly, if I would have known about the BBC direct url earlier, I would have freaing paid them the 45 pounds rather than Cox. NBC did ok job. BBC did an amazing job

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031661)

Yeah, it felt just like trying to watch Game of Thrones online.

Take my money, dammit.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031985)

I paid $10 to watch the games. To a VPN provider who had servers in the UK, so I watched it on BBC. Beforehand, yeah, I would have paid $10 for access. After seeing how the BBC covered the games though, and hearing how NBC covered them, I don't think I would give NBC money for their chattering over future olympic games.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#41036411)

Not to mention tape-delaying major live events like the opening and closing ceremonies.

It wasn't just the "time difference"; in Vancouver 2010 (Pacific time zone), they still tape-delayed at least the opening ceremonies for Americans on the west coast.

Their viewership numbers were still through the roof in both Vancouver and London, but that's clearly more a case of captive audience than a working strategy. Those who VPNed to the UK to stream British coverage were a direct loss in eyeball-to-advertising metrics, but that audience is merely in the thousands, more intelligent, and less susceptible to advertising, so sadly NBC probably doesn't care about those lost viewers at all.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41039661)

Actually NBC's Vancouver viewership was poor. They lost money on it.

Re:NBC wouldn't take my money!!!!!!!! (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41033743)

I bet NBC would have gone for it -- more people seeing their ads -- but the satellite and cable companies, including their parent company Comcast, probably forced them to do it. Based on the $29 they charged for the Tour de France, I doubt that your $10-20 would be enough.

an optimist! (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031417)

Both the content producers and the networkers will have learned a lot from past experience and will do a much better job than they did this year. We have even seen improvement during these Olympics.

I was going to go in for: the Olympics, and by extension their television coverage, are going to become ever-more-commercialized bullshit that will eventually become completely unwatchable. But perhaps this alternate vision will come true instead.

Re:an optimist! (2)

kwerle (39371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031443)

...

I was going to go in for: the Olympics, and by extension their television coverage, are going to become ever-more-commercialized bullshit that will eventually become completely unwatchable. But perhaps this alternate vision will come true instead.

Don't you find predicting the present to be boring?

Re:an optimist! (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031517)

This.

Every time I have tried to watch sports in the last decade all I hear and see is stupid fucking crap like:

- Let's see the replay on the Pizza Hut Replay Cam
- Brought to you buy BlahBlahBlah
- Check out our awesome display screen with real time stats that needs a brand name in front of everything
- It's not Football anymore. It's Chase Superbowl. (Like Chase had anything to fucking do with Football other than being the highest bidder)
- The entire field having advertisements plastered all over it, and now CGI overlays that can replace *those* advertisements when viewed by television.

It's far worse than commercials or overlays infecting television programming. I could not even go to a game in person without being bombarded with the filth.

I did not watch the Olympics even though I could have torrented the shit out of it in HD. I knew NBC was going to fuck it up (and they did), and make it one long commercial advertisement platform.

The Olympics can fucking blow me. Those people are as foaming at the mouth insane as anybody in the RIAA. Trying to tell the people who run the Redneck Olympics that they "own" a couple thousand year old word that means contest between athletes?

A true contest is no longer possible anymore with all of the drugs. Your lamentation of the commercialization is spot on. There is so much money in it that I would not be surprised if 80% of all gold medal athletes are doping. There are books to that effect as well that talk about drugs in sports, and specifically the Olympics. It's not limited to East German women.

The user's tools (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031437)

Online streaming will put more pressure on tool sources to provide functional tools.

I tried viewing the streaming (and recorded) coverage using both Windows and Linux versions of Firefox and both exhibited a memory leak of some kind that made them fail miserably after about ten minutes.

Re:The user's tools (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031473)

PEBKAC

no ads for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031467)

I watched at work pretty much from the start of my day until 5pm and never saw an ad.. it was pretty much a live raw feed.

No interest here (0)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031521)

I gave up watching sports events years ago. Or I should say, I gave up watching commercials interspersed with an occasional clips of sports years ago.

Re:No interest here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031541)

American, huh? No commercials here, just the sports.

Re:No interest here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031725)

This isn't Armenian football where they build in breaks just to show commercials.

Impressive TDF live coverage (4, Interesting)

FranTaylor (164577) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031537)

Live coverage of 100 mile cycling events is tough logistics.

The cameraman rides on the back of a motorcycle. The signal beams from his camera to a hovering helicopter, and then to a satellite.

It's very impressive that they can get and maintain quality streams under these circumstances. Well trained people and excellent equipment all around.

The 60+ mph downhill runs must also be a crazy experience for the motorcycle driver, with a passenger on the back.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031641)

I suspect that it's a lot easier to do with licensed spectrum than over unlicensed bands. That's got to be part of their success...

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (4, Interesting)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031651)

Yes, and unfortunately Larry Press does not seem to understand much about how this is done.

NBC does NOT produce the TdF coverage, it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many
broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it. NBC has a couple
of roving reporters doing non-live content, and one or two live cameras at the finish on a good day.

The olympics is the same, the event is primarily producted by a host broadcaster, and the public broadcasters
take that production, add their own flavour, and broadcast that.

As to his idea that they have 'deleted their archive', that is somewhat laughable - removing it from public access
is very very different from deleting it, something I can assure him has not happened. They are not required
ot provide endless public access to such things.

He seems to think he understands much more about television and large event production than he really does.

The internet streaming is a very very small part of the whole process, although of course an increasingly important
small part.

I find it especially laughable when he claims "NBC did their best to control leaks of Olympic material. For example,
WiFi hotspots were not allowed in the stands and they did their best to stop social media leaks. "
Does he really think the NBS was responsible the Olympics venue planning and operation?

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41035887)

it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it

I meant "produced" in the sense that they contract for the feed then do with it what they will -- add commentary, decide when to cut to commercials, whatever -- the stuff I talked about in the post. The "producer" of a movie does not operate the camera. You sound like a grammar-Nazi kind of person.

As to his idea that they have 'deleted their archive', that is somewhat laughable - removing it from public access is very very different from deleting it, something I can assure him has not happened.

Duh.

The internet streaming is a very very small part of the whole process

Let's revisit that statement in 2020.

Does he really think the NBS was responsible the Olympics venue planning and operation?

I'll give you that one -- I misspoke.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

ibennetch (521581) | about a year and a half ago | (#41036989)

it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it

I meant "produced" in the sense that they contract for the feed then do with it what they will -- add commentary, decide when to cut to commercials, whatever -- the stuff I talked about in the post. The "producer" of a movie does not operate the camera. You sound like a grammar-Nazi kind of person.

No, sorry, you instead just sound ignorant. Movies and TV are very different and some of the terms, while sounding similar, mean very different things. Before writing a blog post about your analysis and submitting it to slashdot, it would do you well to learn a bit about what you're discussing.

Along those lines, in the blog post you wrote:

and the Internatinal (sic) Olympic Committee might decide that it can do a better job than NBC or another production company.

Your position might be strengthened by learning about how Olympic coverage actually works. I'd start by learning about the OBS, the host broadcaster for all Olympic games. In fact, for many large sports events there exists a host broadcaster and other feeds coordinate with or purchase outright from the host broadcaster.

Indeed, learning about how broadcasting works in this setting may enhance your understanding of your third point. I'm not saying the point is invalid, actually the opposite, but understanding the revenue stream and where the feed comes from might have changed your analysis a bit.

and the commentators often had English accents, suggesting that they may have been picked up locally at the last minute.

Again with not understanding the purpose of the host broadcaster and thinking that something as huge as Olympic coverage is thrown together at the last minute.

As to his idea that they have 'deleted their archive', that is somewhat laughable - removing it from public access
is very very different from deleting it, something I can assure him has not happened.

Duh.

First, that's not what you said in the posting. You wrote "NBC -- how many early TV video tapes and kinescope recordings have you lost? Don't keep repeat (sic) your past mistakes." -- sounds to me like you believe they're gone forever.

You should say what you mean. You're discussing a technical field which has a lot of precise terminology (TV production) with an audience that feels the same and probably has even more need for precise terminology (I believe it was either Care and Feeding of Your Hacker or The Jargon File that devoted a relatively large amount of space to discussing the need for precise language within the hacker/nerd/geek culture). Aside from that, I'm not sure why you feel NBC has an obligation to make the content available for posterity. They have an archive department which is responsible for, well, archiving shows and footage. Two years from now, if NBC News wants footage of judo or the rugby finals, they'll be able to get it. Likewise, in four years when they're revisiting who won the whatever in 2012, I anticipate them being able to find that video as well.

You also wrote: "NBC did a much better job on the Tour de France than the Olympics, but it was an easier event to cover, they had experience covering it in past years and they did not have to deal with the presentation of ads. " ...you are aware that NBC has carried the Olympics before, right? And the logistics are pretty overwhelming for both events.

And again you confuse the NBC with the IOC: "NBC did their best to control leaks of Olympic material. For example, WiFi hotspots were not allowed in the stands and they did their best to stop social media leaks. "

The internet streaming is a very very small part of the whole process

Let's revisit that statement in 2020.

The majority of your analysis is about the current state of internet streaming rather than looking ahead, so it's fair to also look at how small the internet streaming is in comparison to the worldwide broadcast market. Sure, that percentage is shifting more towards the internet, but if you write an article about the current state of internet streaming, a comment like the GP made is a fair response and "Let's revisit that statement in 2020" just sounds like a knee-jerk, defensive response. The GP is correct and, I'll connect the dots for you, the small percentage of viewers and revenue from the internet side of things means there are less resources committed to it compared to the broadcast side. This in turn explains (although perhaps doesn't justify) some of your criticisms.

In your blog post CIS 471 The Olympics -- NBC's production and direction, you wrote

I don't mean to beat up on NBC -- covering 302 events in 32 sports is a huge task, and I am sure they learned a lot about how to produce live events during the Olympics.

which again shows your lack of knowledge about the situation. Not only that NBC did not have crews on hand to cover every Olympic event, but also the air of haughtiness that surrounds your statement. NBC (as well as each of the other American broadcasters) has been producing large scale events for a long time, now admittedly the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup Final aren't as big as the Olympics, but producing live events isn't anything new here.

Thanks, I've actually had a fair bit of fun reading some of the discussion here, which is kind of rare these days (I feel like the slashdot community's changed a lot since I first joined and HEY, GIVE OFF MY LAWN!)

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41037935)

it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it

(sic)

(I feel like the slashdot community's changed a lot since I first joined and HEY, GIVE OFF MY LAWN!)

(sic) I am not interested in keeping this up -- sorry for pissing on your lawn -- I'll give off now.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

ibennetch (521581) | about a year and a half ago | (#41039703)

(I feel like the slashdot community's changed a lot since I first joined and HEY, GIVE OFF MY LAWN!)

(sic)

I am not interested in keeping this up -- sorry for pissing on your lawn -- I'll give off now.

Wow, way to take my quote completely out of context. I meant the exact opposite of what you imply here -- if you look at the quote in context I clearly said nothing negative about your comments with regards to the "get off my lawn" comment. Rather the opposite, that your post started a discussion that I find interesting for once.

Also, I think it's poor form to submit something to slashdot then get offended at the discussion. You don't need to continue on with me specifically, but I haven't seen a thread here where you responded to legitimate discussion appropriately. You can't have it both ways -- if you're going to submit an article for discussion, you should be ready to deal with the discussion. Without discussion, it's just you ranting to the ether. But that's just my opinion, obviously, and since you've indicated that you don't wish to continue then I simply bid you a good day.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41041687)

I gave up because your comments and pedantic "sic"s seemed more ad hominem than constructive, so I just figured I'd sign off with a few "sic"s of my own.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41062417)

it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it

I meant "produced" in the sense that they contract for the feed then do with it what they will -- add commentary, decide when to cut to commercials, whatever -- the stuff I talked about in the post. The "producer" of a movie does not operate the camera. You sound like a grammar-Nazi kind of person.

No, you didnt, it is clear from your completely incorrect article that you thought they had actual production input, either that or you know next to nothing about the subject matter you discuss, it could well be either.

As to his idea that they have 'deleted their archive', that is somewhat laughable - removing it from public access
is very very different from deleting it, something I can assure him has not happened.

Duh.

Again, that was your clear implication in your 'article', you obviously dont have a clue, I wonder why you consider yourself knowledgeable enough to even create such articles?

The internet streaming is a very very small part of the whole process

Let's revisit that statement in 2020.

At which point it will still be a small part of the PROCESS, idiot. internet streaming involves a fast internet connection, a bunch of stream cache servers, and an encoder. For the Tdf and Olympics there is also a very small bit of non-live post production especially for the streams. It will remain a small part of the process, you seem to have confused the process with the viewing method..

Does he really think the NBS was responsible the Olympics venue planning and operation?

I'll give you that one -- I misspoke.

To say the least.

And then you turned around here and made yourself look like a complete ass, which is unfortunate.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41037511)

NBC does NOT produce the TdF coverage, it is producted by the French, and NBC is one of many many
broadcasters present there who add a bit of their own flavour to that coverage and use it. NBC has a couple
of roving reporters doing non-live content, and one or two live cameras at the finish on a good day.

The olympics is the same, the event is primarily produced by a host broadcaster, and the public broadcasters
take that production, add their own flavour, and broadcast that.

If I'm correct the host broadcaster tasked by OBS for the road races was a Dutch broadcaster.

OBS was a right shambles from what I have heard from my peers who work in the broadcast industry. Danny Boyle was not allowed to use skilled crew or use shots he want for the opening ceremony and had to use sports camera operators, which ended up delaying the rehearsals. British crew walked out on a few occasions because OBS were incompetent. Crews and production were working to rule because they found junior crews were working unpaid by the OBS.

I think the BBC only did the rowing events, anyone know what else they produced for OBS?

The BBC with use of Sky and other production companies to provide extra resources were willing to produce all the events but OBS didn't want that. It ended up with very few British crew being used. Also, it wouldn't have been possible resource wise for the BBC because Panasonic were sponsors for the Olympics, all cameras, infrastructure, editing suits, monitors, recorders etc had to be Panasonic equipment. All broadcasters that covered the events had to buy in to Panasonic.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031747)

I expect it's probably even crazier for the passenger, who is having to manipulate a (presumably?) huge-ass camera while traveling 100+ kph on the back of a motorcycle...

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about a year and a half ago | (#41033925)

Yes but it's not like this was not an unforeseeable problem... or that no one else has solved this problem ... or if those other people had been hired to do the job the coverage wouldn't have been first rate.

Unfortunately an inexperienced broadcaster was hired to do a job they had no experience in broadcasting. The results where terrible.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41037379)

They also used LiveU units. They were pretty much a total failure, delay of over 8 seconds, poor quality and no QoS so when they went through crowds and everyone started uploading photos to facebook and twiter they lost connection (same problem as the GPS units on the bikes).

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41047415)

Given all that complexity, the raw feed is surprisingly glitch free -- there were hardly any break-ups during the TdF -- but the video quality of NBC's Olympic stream on the Web was pretty bad. There is a lot of room for improvement in the network.

For the TdF production, NBC pay-per-view took the live feed from French TV and added intelligent, well coordinated commentary, producing an informative, entertaining presentation. Contrast that with the Olympics where they streamed the feed without commentary, popped in commercials at seemingly arbitrary points and only made the stream available to subscribers to selected cable TV channels.

I think they can and will do better than their Olympic coverage. For a start, can't they negotiate for more control over the feed from French TV? If an NBC producer could select cameras and coordinate that with the announcer, could we not get the level of integration we see in coverage of NFL, NBA and other events?

Some control could be further decentralized -- to the viewer. Some graphics are tied to the video stream. For example, a shot of a small group of cyclists might be showing the lead group or a group behind the peloton. But, as the BBC demonstrated during the Olympics, the user can control other graphics like the season and current-game statistics of a basketball player.

I don't know how the responsibilities and subcontracts will eventually be divided or how far decentralization of control will be pushed, but for sure we will see change by 2020 when NBC's Olympic contract expires. Technology -- cameras, communication links, compression, caching, end-user equipment, etc -- will have improved, there will be more competition and a larger portion of the audience will be on the Internet.

Re:Impressive TDF live coverage (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41047575)

PS -- the Olympic video feed was not from French TV, but from Olympic Broadcasting Services (http://www.obs.es/hostbroadcasterrole.html)

The license fee thing... (5, Interesting)

Ashe Tyrael (697937) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031569)

Being a license fee payer, this years olympic coverage from the BBC was actually good enough for me to consider the license fee to be 100% justified. The lack of ads alone was awesome.

The debate about the license fee tends to rage back and forth on a regular basis over here. We genuinely do get a metric ton of generally good quality tv, ad-free and with free streaming. And a lot of tat too. Although it's interesting to note that the UK really came late to the Pay-per-view party. Convincing people that paid a license fee/monthly fee for their cable or sat package that they have to pay again? The main selling points they used over here were the "when you want" nature of the beast, for movies and such, and for sporting events, likening it to buying a ticket. They worked very hard not to remind people that you'd already paid them for the priviledge.

Guess I'll always sneakily love the BBC as being one of the last holdouts against the paywalling of culture, or the slow posioning of it by 1000 ads for things I never knew I could be irritated by.

Re:The license fee thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031705)

There are foreigners willing to pay the fee to get the shows on-line if i would reduce the amount the British people would have to pay...

Re:The license fee thing... (1)

grahammm (9083) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034151)

Which is one of the stupid things with TV stations (especially the satellite ones). They will only allow people from the 'target' location to subscribe. So, for example, a UK ex-pat living on mainland Europe cannot subscribe to Sky (the UK satellite broadcaster) and view domestic UK channels and someone living in the UK cannot subscribe to mainland European providers. As long as someone is willing to pay the subscription fee and can receive the signals from the satellite, what difference should it make which country they live in?

Re:The license fee thing... (2)

jeremyp (130771) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034591)

It's nothing to do with the subscribers, it' the content. The BBC, for instance, only had the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the UK. If they accepted subscriptions from (for example) the USA, they would be breaking the terms of their contract.

EU goods and services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41034879)

EU courts have upheld the ruling that goods and services available in one member state can be bought therefrom by citizens in another member state. Sky has already fallen foul of this one.

Re:The license fee thing... (1)

pmc (40532) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034513)

In the UK there are a few ways of getting the broadcasts: OTA (aka Freeview), Sky (commercial Sat), FreeSat, Cable, and internet streaming. We've got Freesat, and there were 25 additional HD channels (taking the number of Olympic HD channels up to about 27). All free. It was an embarrassment of riches. Bit of a gap in the fencing - lets to to live weightlifting, via the beach volleyball.

For example the opening ceremony you could have
1) Normal with commentary
2) Without commentary
3) Captioned commentary for the deaf

You simply could not pay for this anywhere else in the world.

vfir5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031653)

development. BSD steadily fucking that they can hold Appeared...saying = 36400 FreeBSD OpenBSD, as the are just way over and shouting that my bedpost up my officers. Others

They should do it themselves. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031689)

The Olympics should either have their own coverage and stream that and let me pay them to stream it for the 2 weeks,
Or whoever pays them for distribution rights should do this.
I'm not going to waste my time trying to get streaming working at a reasonable rate through a proxy,
and neither am I going to pay a company that doesn't provide service in my area just to watch 2 weeks of Olympics.

There was of course local coverage, but they only really covered the events that we had contestants in.
It also wasn't live streaming, so I could just as easily get it from the piratebay with better coverage.

Re:They should do it themselves. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032897)

The Olympic committee almost priced themselves out of the Canadian market for broadcasting the 2014 and 2016 games. The biggest private broadcaster declined to broadcast the games after they said the IOC was charging too much. Then the publicly own broadcaster CBC stepped in and bought the rights. There are some mixed public reactions as to whether they are wasting public money since some people think they are not expected to make all the money back. On the other hand, a lot of people are likely cheering because they don't have to watch CTV's never ending stream of commercials which interrupted everything (and never mind the mostly airhead commentary).

The real question is, who gets the money for all these broadcast fees. There must be tens of billions in revenue from this. The London Olympics cost $14.5 billion. If the broadcast rights were funnelled into that cost they would have made a profit right away. So who the hell gets that money?? I notice the directors of the IOC look like they aren't too skinny, and ... nice suits. There has to be a nice racket in there. Are they public? Do they publish their financial records and who reviews them? I wonder if this is how the national backers who bribe the IOC officials to get the games in their city make their money back.

Time Shifting, compression, insight (2)

dunng808 (448849) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031823)

I live in Hawaii and am an avid cyclist and love to follow Le Tour. A typical TdF stage beings in the middle of my night and ends just as I get up. To watch an entire stage every day (21 stages) would consume too much of my time, at any time. I record the long (3 hrs) NBC show daily on my TiVo and watch that when I get home after work. Sometimes I just watch the shorter highlights show, which has more sidebars.

In general, while more live coverage is a good thing, content providers should continue to develop time shifting options (see also Hulu - TV) and offer insightful commentary and back story items.

Best things in the UK were the 24 HD TV channels (3, Interesting)

rklrkl (554527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031971)

I set up two high spec PCs to record [blogspot.co.uk] the entire Olympics from 24 HD satellite channels (and some terrestrial SD/HD channels too). No need for a Net connection and I have 15TB of recordings to sift through (edits, deletes etc) at my leisure. It should be noted that the HD TV broadcasts were around 10-11 Mbits/sec, which is approximately twice the rate of the HD Net streams the BBC have up on their site.

The 24 satellite/cable HD channels (free apart from the TV licence fee of course - and no ads!) were by far the best thing w.r.t. the BBC broadcasts, IMHO. I could list quite a few annoyances with the terrestrial coverage ranging from ludicrous studio yabbering whilst actual live sports were visibly/audibly going on behind the presenters (cycling, swimming and athletics were the worst offenders), failure to air Jason Kenny's cycling gold medal win and medal ceremony on terrestrial HD and a surprisingly weak Olympics Tonight highlights show that often failed to air sub-5-minute events in full (colorised, edited out, blaring background music and hardly any of the original comms).

I think what worries me about Rio 2016 is that the UK won't see the equivalent of the 24 HD channels from the BBC again (hopefully via both satellite and cable like London 2012). It might mean that London 2012 will remain the largest TV event in the UK for quite some time to come.

Where did he find the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031973)

"The BBC streamed 2,500 hours of live coverage of the Olympics and NBC streamed the entire Tour de France and 302 events from all 32 Olympic sports. I watched both events as a fan and as an observer of the online content and the network performance."

cocaine is a hell of a drug.

No Commentary = FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41032221)

At first I thought the live streaming would be a cool deal but it turns out the streams were raw feeds without any commentary. Sure, you're watching a live Olympic sporting event, but you have NO IDEA of what's going on. My interest in watching the live streams faded real fast.

Re:No Commentary = FAIL (1)

kevinatilusa (620125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41033493)

For me the lack of commentary (or in some cases the inclusion of feed commentators who weren't as biased as NBC's) was one of the best things about the streaming.

Re:No Commentary = FAIL (1)

grahammm (9083) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034175)

For some events, such as Tennis, the (BBC) live streams without commentary were more enjoyable than those with commentary. On the commentary-less feeds, you could clearly hear the umpire, line judges and the crowd. When there was commentary, the sound level from the court was reduced below that of the commentary. Added to that, much of the commentary consisted of the commentators inane chatter amongst themselves about what the players had done in the past. This actually detracted from the enjoyment of the event.

Re:No Commentary = FAIL (1)

pmc (40532) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034561)

Some commentators are OK, some are dire for the sports. The nadir, the very worst, is Mark Lawrenson (football, or soccer for the former colonists) - just unspeakably bad and has never said anything of note or interest during any football game (he does more than the Olympics, so his uselessness is of vast scope).

The one I really don't get is the commentary opening and closing ceremonies. Why on earth do they think the artistic part of the ceremony needs commentary at all? Some idiot warbling "Here's Kenneth Branaugh giving Caliban's speech from the tempest" over Caliban's speech from The Tempest. Why? Do they feel the need to interject things like "Oh course, Jason Bourne is played by Matt Damon, whose first film role was in Mystic Pizza" during a tense chase sequence in the film?

I can just about (if I were being charitable) see the point of a bit of background for the more ceremonial parts of the event - flag carriers and that sort of thing. But even there - the crowd in the stadium get by perfectly well on the stadium announcers, so just be quiet.

And breathe

Silverlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41032487)

I could not watch it here in Canada because CTV used Silverlight for streaming and I only run Linux.

Sport specific -- fencing (3, Interesting)

michael_cain (66650) | about a year and a half ago | (#41032755)

The Comcast cable service my wife has us subscribe to for other content gave me access, so can't fuss about that. The NBC site prompted me for my cable provider the first time I tried to view a stream, and apparently got all the info they needed from my IP address. After the first access everything was transparent. The listing of when the live streaming of the (fencing) events I was interested in was accurate. Streams started promptly and played smoothly. Even for modest sized content (480p rather than high-def), decoding was compute-intensive, requiring the cycles from about 1.5 of the two processor cores on my Mac. That seemed excessive.

I'm a sport fencer. Epee if it matters. I wanted to watch the later rounds of the various epee events -- men's individual, women's individual, women's team. No men's team epee event at the Olympics this year, as the IOC has limited the number of fencing gold medals that can be won. None of the epee events were on US television, only available by streaming. Every minute of all the events were available, at least on replay. Except for one, the live events were either too early, or conflicted with the rest of my life. What was available in replay was the nearly raw video feed from the venue. The action, then a quick slow-motion replay of each touch. The director(s) obviously knew something about the sport, since the slow motion was generally the correct one of the two or three options for camera angle. Audio was the microphone for the referee of the bout being shown, plus ambient noise from the venue (including the PA). No announcer. No color analyst. No commercials. When the Koreans appealed the referee's decision and there was an hour of dead time from the venue, every minute of the dead time was included in the stream. As an aside for those who saw pictures of the Korean woman sitting on the strip, it wasn't a "protest" -- international fencing rules require the fencer to stay at the strip until the appeal is settled.

For an epeeist, that's really terrific coverage. I know what I'm looking for, and the announcer/color commentary are just a distraction. For a non-fencer, it must have been terrible.

Re:Sport specific -- fencing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41032991)

As a non-fencer, I didn't find the camera work horrible, but NBC's setup was awful.

I watched the first round of the individual women's. There were four pistes, but six matches. Consequently, there were two sets of matches in the first round: one on all four pistes, then a second on two pistes.

The NBC web page for the second set of matches sent you to the feeds from the *wrong* pistes. And no matter which match, you were always sent to the *start* of the five-hour feed from the piste with no indication of *when* in the feed the match happened. I thought maybe I could suck the videos down and poke through them, only to find that each stream was actually a collection of 30-second videos.

Other events I tried to watch wre the same way: dumped at the start of a long video stream with no indication of when the match I was interested in occurred in the stream.

I pretty much gave up.

Re:Sport specific -- fencing (1)

kevinatilusa (620125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41033509)

For an epeeist, that's really terrific coverage. I know what I'm looking for, and the announcer/color commentary are just a distraction. For a non-fencer, it must have been terrible.

As a non-fencer, I actually found the epee much easier to follow than the other events (mainly because there was no need to worry about right of way). The other events were enjoyable to watch, but I did a lot of taking the scoring on faith/outright ignoring the scoring and just watching the fencing.

A fan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41033915)

I watched both events as a fan and as an observer of the online content and the network performance

You are a fan of watching professionals doing their jobs? How strange. Do you go and watch the check-out operators in Walmart too?

Re:A fan? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034115)

Depends. If there is a contest on which check-out operator can check out the most number of items in 10 minutes, count me in.

15 fucking megabits? (1)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#41034203)

Are you sure it was 15 megabits? That's better than most HD TV broadcasts, f it was H.264. it would give most CPUs a serious workout.

Re:15 fucking megabits? (1)

lpress (707742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41038167)

That is the download speed test from my house (as reported by Seedtest.net) -- so it was not a constraint. I got around 2.3 Mb/s when going through an English proxy.

Prefered the streaming (1)

wiegeabo (2575169) | about a year and a half ago | (#41040717)

The first week, about 80% of my Olympics viewing was through the streaming. Not only was it live, but I got to watch events that would never get covered (or get more than 10 minutes of tv time several hours later). And I do applaud NBC for streaming every single event live. At least they got something right.

I usually preferred watching without commentary. It was nice not getting my ear talked off the whole time. It was also very nice that commentary could be turned off (and back on when I did want it) for those events with it.

Of course, AT&T throttled me the second week because god forbid I actually use my unlimited data plan through an app on a device they sell. So I pretty much couldn't stream during the weekday. But I definitely would have, otherwise.

Their website and app needed A LOT of work. Not very friendly at all, and it would take forever for the links to ended events to be removed.

This site was excellent during the Olympics (1)

FlyveHest (105693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41046227)

I saw almost all of my olympics on this site, http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/london2012/ [eurovisionsports.tv] (obviously not really active now)

Not the greatest quality, but it was legal, and free, and you simply got the basic feed that Eurovision sent to TV channels around the world, so no commentators or anything, it was just pure Olympics, and you could watch an event from start to finish if you'd like.

I would gladly have paid good money for an HD version, but it was simply not possible to pay for better service.

I hope that Rio does something like this, and then just takes it a step further.

Technical quality of streaming of "bursty" events (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41054143)

I watched a fair amount of the live streamed content, as a FIOS customer. No technical issues with getting nor maintaining access - but I found it frustrating that the video stream would lag right when the most important action was occurring, in many cases. I understand the technical reasons for this - when the rate of change increases dramatically, the encoding/decoding becomes more complex, and the bandwidth requirements go up (assuming it was variable bit rate, i'm not sure) ... but it was frustrating to have a perfect view of a gymnast preparing for a dismount, then once the dismount began having the video freeze, lag, sometimes show 2 - 3 frames across the duration of the dismount, and recover as the gymnast is saluting the judges.
 
I'm curious as to whether others experienced this effect? The PCs I used aren't absolute state-of-the-art, but they're not terrible (i5 2540M with 8GB memory in one, i3 2350 [i think[ with 4GB memory in the other).

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