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NBC Includes QuickTime In Work Around For Olympic Streaming

NBC Includes QuickTime In Work Around For Olympic Streaming

by , 12:00 PM EDT, August 9th, 2000

After working around a host of legal and technical hurdles, NBC has settled on using Apple's QuickTime technology to stream roughly 30 minutes of Olympic coverage to the United States each day. Upside Today is reporting that NBC has teamed with Quokka Ventures and Axient Communications to bring the supplemental coverage to US viewers.

Originally believed to violate exclusivity agreements with worldwide broadcasters, NBC decided to host the streaming coverage at the NBCOlympics.com web site, thus eliminating any question concerning broadcast agreements and ownership rights. According to Upside Today:

As of last week, the International Olympic Committee had ruled out streaming video over the Internet, saying its free availability would create conflicts with exclusive broadcast deals the IOC has made with individual media companies on a country-by-country basis.

But the deal to make video available on the NBCOlympics.com web site makes a neat end-run around the IOC limits, via Axient's OctaneSM network.

While the streaming coverage is certainly not designed to replace NBC's television coverage, the streamed show is designed to provide an additional perspective on Olympic activities.

"One of the values of this interactive medium is its ability to aggregate a lot of different data and information," said Newell, who worked for CBS TV during its broadcast of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona before joining Quokka Sports more than two years ago.

"That's what we're trying to figure out, 'What is the new experience the Internet can offer?'" Newell said. Some examples he gave included a side-by-side comparison of video clips of athletes' performances, as well as an archive of event clips and athlete profiles that is still in development.

While no details regarding NBC's choice of QuickTime as their streaming format were mentioned, it is interesting to note that Apple's business partner, Akamai, is not included in this deal. According to the Upside Today article:

This week Entera announced that it was powering the Octane network with its TeraEDGE content distribution software, which directs the flow of streaming media from servers in Sydney, Australia, to caching servers that carry the signal for the Octane network's individual ISPs.

The jury is still out on how much of a splash this summer's Olympic streaming will make in the world of broadband media, but Richard DeSoto, Entera's VP of marketing, feels that the model Axient has put together offers stiff competition to field leaders like Akamai Technologies (AKAM).

"They're the big one," DeSoto said, "but there are a couple of others coming down the pipe."

Regardless of the implications of the business side of things, this is a great victory for Apple and should provide a high profile showcase for their world class QuickTime software. You can find the full article at the Upside Today web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Let's talk high profile: This is high profile. The streaming media wars are still in their infancy and Apple lags behind industry leader RealNetworks and Microsoft's Windows Media Player (gosh darnit, that is such a good name). QuickTime has certainly done very well and continues to enjoy success as more and more companies choose the technology for their own streaming needs, but NBC's Olympic coverage should provide some great exposure.

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