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CBSSports.com Upgrades March Madness VOD Player


CBSSports.com, in partnership with CBS Sports and the NCAA, has announced several upgrades to the NCAA March Madness on Demand video player that will be available for users when first round action from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship begins on Thursday, March 18. NCAA March Madness on Demand is the only major sports event that is broadcast live and in its entirety for free on the Internet and has become one of the largest annual events on the Web.

As was the case in 2009, CBSSports.com will again provide a standard video player in addition to offering viewers the ability to upgrade to a high-quality video player delivering an enhanced video stream. This year, NCAA March Madness on Demand will feature several upgrades to the viewing experience including the ability for viewers of the high-quality player to watch picture-in-picture highlights of ongoing action inside of a live video stream from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

Additionally, both the standard and high-quality 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand video player will provide viewers the ability to show statistical overlays on top of live video action, displaying tournament and game leaders in categories such as points, assists, rebounds, and 3-pointers.

The NCAA March Madness on Demand "Boss Button" has been redesigned for 2010 as well. The "Boss Button", which was clicked over 2.77 million times during the 2009 tournament, hides the live video action on the screen and silences the audio, replacing it with a "business-like" image. The new 2010 "Boss Button" image will be unveiled on March 14 prior to the NCAA Basketball Championship Selection Show which will be broadcast on CBS Sports and streamed live on NCAA March Madness on Demand.

NCAA March Madness on Demand’s standard video player will launch on March 10 with historical highlights from past NCAA tournaments and be available at NCAA.com as well as via MMOD links on CBSSports.com.

In 2009, the CBSSports.com production of NCAA March Madness on Demand recorded 7.52 million unique visitors in 2009, a 58 percent increase over 2008 figures. Additionally, there were 8.6 million total hours of video and audio consumed, a 75 percent increase over 2008 figures.

This year, CBSSports.com will again distribute NCAA March Madness on Demand across the Internet with its Developer Platform, allowing sites to link directly into the MMOD video player. The network of sites participating in the NCAA March Madness on Demand Developer Platform in 2010 will include popular news, entertainment, sports and social media sites such as CNN.com, ESPN.com and Facebook; CBS Interactive properties including TV.com, CBS.com, CNET.com and GameSpot.com; as well as other partners across the CBS Audience Network and sites for CBS television and radio stations and affiliates.

The 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand standard video player will utilize Adobe Flash technology, while the high-quality player will again use Microsoft Silverlight to deliver the enhanced video stream. In 2009, NCAA March Madness on Demand teamed up with Microsoft Corp. to deliver the first-ever live and on-demand, high-quality video stream of a major sports event on the Internet.

By downloading the Silverlight high-quality player, users can upgrade their NCAA March Madness on Demand experience from the standard player (approx. 550 kb/s) to one delivering up to 1.8 mb/s of enhanced video action from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. In 2010, the Silverlight high-quality player for NCAA March Madness on Demand will use IIS Smooth Streaming, a technology that automatically adjusts the video stream to the optimal bitrate based on system/computer/connection, allowing users the best possible viewing experience.

Both the standard video player and the high-quality option will be offered free of charge. For more information on 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand and to download the Silverlight player for high-quality video, users can visit mmod.ncaa.com