NBC has revealed two significant technology partnerships with Microsoft and Wavexpress that are providing sports fans Olympics coverage over the Web exclusively for users of the Windows Vista operating system. The last-minute initiative uses Microsoft’s new Silverlight multimedia software.
Powered by Wavexpress’ TVTonic Internet video service and client, NBC’s Olympics on the Go will allow owners of Media Center-capable Windows Vista PCs to download “up-to-HD” coverage on a sport-by-sport basis.
Users can choose from several channels in Wavexpress’ TVTonic client that are organized for Olympics events. The client will be able to access event coverage roughly 12 hours after an event ends. Users will not be able to keep downloaded coverage indefinitely, but videos will remain playable at least for the duration of the games.
In addition to making the coverage exclusive to Windows Vista users, NBC will be crosspromoting the MSN brand on NBCOlympics.com and featuring Olympics coverage prominently on MSN.com. All video at the NBC Olympics site requires Silverlight, Microsoft’s rich Web application and video streaming technology.
Microsoft has been aggressively marketing Silverlight, and the Olympics gives users a reason to install it. “We chose to partner with MSN and Microsoft,“ Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, said, ”because technologies such as Silverlight help us deliver the kind of next-generation online viewing experience that will change the way the Olympics is experienced for millions of fans in 2008.“
There was no mention of how much Microsoft paid NBC for the exclusivity deal.