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CBS Sports, NCAA Ready March Madness 'HQ' Streams

March Madness is finally here, kicking off tomorrow (March 19) shortly after noon (EDT), and continuing through the first week in April. CBS Sports and the NCAA are teaming up to provide all the contests in what they call "HQ" (High Quality)—via Microsoft's Silverlight video player, which can be downloaded for free.

The online play-by-play coverage (simulcast from CBS Television) of all the games is also free.

Despite some earlier published reports that the streaming promised to be HD, the CBS Sports and NCAA Web sites currently refer only to the improved video quality of HQ over typical streaming, saying the Silverlight player is capable of delivering up to 1.5 Mbps of "enhanced action."

And while judging from a couple of test runs this week by HD Notebook on two computers, the video may not exactly equal ATSC HD, per se, it was noticeably superior to a lot of typical online streaming. (And we did mention it's free, yes?)