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Silverlight in Mainstream Sports

Loving sports the way I do I know I am not “typical” in the software industry. But, every technologist can appreciate the concept of Interactive TV.  So when two of my “loves” collide like the way that Microsoft and NBC have in their partnership on Sunday Night Football and the 2010 Winter Olympic games, I cannot help but be pretty excited. This truly is the future now: Interactive TV.  And it is a taste of the way will watch and television in the future.  If you have not tried watching Sunday Night football in Microsoft Silverlight on your computer you really need to. I hook up my laptop to my 40 inch HD TV and the experience is just awesome.  Even if you are not an NFL fan you’ll appreciate the experience because it’s better than the experience you get on your HD television natively on NBC at home.  Silverlight has really taken the lead over Flash in streaming media. Check out these features.

Stunning HD-quality video

Full-screen mode allows you to access 720p at 3.45 Mbps—great looking HD video. Adaptive streaming using Microsoft's Smooth Streaming technology means your viewing experience will automatically adjust to best match your internet bandwidth and your computer's performance.

Multiple live cameras

There’s a UI that allows you to seamlessly switch between the main view and four additional camera angles throughout the game. The cameras are always on and you can track them simultaneously as you watch.

Full DVR controls

With Pause, Slow-Motion, Skip Forward, Skip Backward, and Instant Replay, you have complete control of the action with more functionality than most DVRs.

Interactive Timeline and “Key Plays” Menu

Team-colored markers let you instantly jump to the key plays of the game at any time. Open the “Key Plays” menu for a comprehensive view with extra info about each play. Catch up to “Live” with a single click.

Chat with NBC's Mike Florio

NBC staffs NFL expert Mike Florio during the games, and he answers questions through the SL chat client.


Updated stats info is available real-time throughout the game.


Game highlights, interviews, and more

A full offering of video clips is there to enhance the live experience.  Continue to track the game via a live thumbnail.

“Simply the best live internet video yet.” says Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo Software, the company that built this amazing Silverlight application for Microsoft and NBC. Now for the bad news: There is only one more Sunday night game left (as I write this).  And that is the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the New York Jets on Sunday, January 3rd at 5pm PST. Unfortunately, only Sunday night football on NBC is covered by this awesome Silverlight application. Not the playoffs and certainly not the Super Bowl because it’s on Fox. But, not to fret. Again, this is a sign of the future and I am guessing we’ll see all live sporting events carried on the internet soon and since Silverlight has such a technological jump I’m guessing we’ll see not just sporting events, but events like the Academy Awards and others carried by Silverlight applications.

The most amazing thing, to me, about this is that my good friends at Vertigo Software are going to provide the source code to this application for free so that anyone can easily do a live SL Streaming event.  It will appear on Codeplex soon; probably by the time you read this.

What we do have to look forward to in just 45 days from the time I write this is watching the 2010 Winter Olympics games in another new NBC Silverlight application. I don’t know about you, but for me, waiting around though 3 hours of commercials and figure skating each night waiting to see the hockey and the snowboarders is a bit burdensome.  With Microsoft and NBC’s deal on the Olympics we’ll be able to watch any event live or streamed whenever we want.  That is powerful. I can deal with a few advertisements on the side of the viewer for that type of power.

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