With the 2010 Winter Olympics wrapping up this weekend in Vancouver, I hope we can put the past behind us. That is, the past of crappy U.S. online coverage of a major global sporting event, with the key offender being exclusive distributor NBC.
Watching the 2010 Winter Games online could be an Olympic feat in and of itself, as NBC (s GE) plans to require viewers to prove that they subscribe to a pay TV service before they can watch any of the live streaming coverage over broadband. Additionally, live coverage will only be granted if that subscriber’s cable, satellite or telecom TV service provider agrees to a deal with NBC (Cablevision subscribers were blocked from last year’s coverage because it didn’t have one).
According to The Sports Business Journal, which broke the story, those that don’t subscribe to a pay TV service will be able to watch some archived video, but no live streams. The details of exactly how a viewer would prove they’re a subscriber are still being worked out, but could involve their IP address when at home and getting them to fill out a more complicated form if they want to watch while at work.
Read More about Online 2010 Olympics Coverage to Have an Authentication Hurdle
Canadians really know what they’re doing when it comes to showing people the Olympics online, it seems. This morning we spoke to Alon Marcovici, vice president of digital media from the country’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, after reading that “every single moment” of next year’s Winter Olympics would be available live online.
Marcovici told us that the consortium, motivated by a story of a Canadian luger whose family still haven’t seen footage of him competing at the Turin games, will offer up to nine live feeds at any given time. These will have no in-stream ads besides a pre-roll and post-roll, and they will have only natural sound — no production and commentators. Meanwhile, five simulcasts of the country’s television stations will be live online at any time, containing the same ads that run on TV but also the production values, commentary, and stories that make Olympics television entertaining and accessible for so many viewers.
None of these feeds, however, will be available in the U.S. — they’ll be geo-blocked for viewers outside of Canada. NBC (s GE) still owns the American rights to the Olympics, and from all appearances they think their on-demand approach to coverage à la Beijing — delaying airing key events until primetime broadcast — is the way to go.
The Seattle Steam Co. broke ground this week on a new district heating plant, which will burn waste wood from construction and demolition debris, along with natural gas, to create steam. The plant will replace the existing natural-gas fired system, which serves approximately 9 million square feet in the city’s central business district, according to the Seattle Times.
District energy projects, which generate steam or hot water in a central facility and pipe it to a network of nearby buildings where it is used for central space and/or water heating, are nothing new. Seattle Steam’s existing system has been operating since 1894 and the industry’s trade association will celebrate it’s centennial anniversary next year. But the technology is heating up across North America, as cities recognize its potential to reduce their carbon footprints. Read More about A Neighborly Approach to Heating Gains Steam
Update: That Yahoo thing is going to take some time, but acquisition-hungry Microsoft isn’t sitting idle. They have snapped up Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger Inc. for an undisclosed amount of money. While they are not giving reasons as to why they are buying Danger, I am guessing that the user experience on Danger is a key factor. Read More about Microsoft Buys Sidekick Maker, Danger