NBC Taps Akamai, iStreamPlanet to Power Olympics Online Video Coverage

Akamai Technologies and iStreamplanet will work with Microsoft to provide live and on-demand video for NBC during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Microsoft IIS Smooth Streaming will be used to deliver video to online audiences via Microsoft Silverlight-based media players. iStreamPlanet will provide turnkey satellite downlink encoding and production services to Smooth Streaming for the Silverlight format and the video will be delivered to online audiences over the Akamai HD Network. iStreamPlanet will encode 23 video feeds including nine venue feeds, four broadcast feeds, one Olympic News Channel, six “Beauty Cams,” two Victory Ceremonies and one Press Conference. All 23 feeds originate from Vancouver and are transported to iStreamPlanet’s Las Vegas Webcast Operations Center over OC12 via IP multicast.

Akamai HD for Microsoft Silverlight and the Akamai HD Network will deliver both live and on-demand streaming to audiences online. A key feature is adaptive bitrate streaming based on IIS Smooth Streaming, which is architected to enable uninterrupted video playback at HD bitrates that adjust to fluctuation in available bandwidth.

Video over Akamai’s HD Network is delivered from servers closer to audiences around the world. As a result, Akamai can control the amount of time the player needs to buffer before switching streams. The shorter the buffer, the faster the stream can adapt and respond to changing end-user conditions.

To streamline content acquisition, encoding and live stream provisioning process including failover scenarios, iSTreamPlanet enables NBC to start and stop acquiring the desired multicast stream, route the stream to the encoder, provision all publishing points required to run the live event, pass created encoding profile information including server ingest information to the designated encoder, start encoding and notify NBC’s scheduling system when the encoding process has started and stopped as well as return to live event start times so play-by-play data can be synched with the video and audio.