NBCOlympics.com | Olympic Games Videos & Live TV Only on Vista. No Linux, Mac or XP

2 min read

NBC Olympic Online Web Video CoverageNBC plans to show 2,200 hours of live television from the Beijing Summer Olympic Games online on NBCOlympics.com this summer, and all for free, with advertising on the site being the main revenue source for the company.

However, as good as that sounds, and it is a brilliant thing that the Web is now being used for these types of high-profile events, the amount of restrictions being placed on the coverage means NBC are proving to be just as totalitarian and dictatorial as the Chinese Government.

Controversially Free Coverage

I’ve already spoken a little about NBC’s plans for their live streaming coverage of the Olympics Games online, but the thrust of that article was about media mogul John Malone’s views on the plans, with him objecting to the lack of a fee for the privilege.

Since then, it has come to light that NBC are placing a number of restrictions on the live TV coverage, both in terms of who can and can’t watch the footage, and about how much access other sites will have to the videos & live streams.

Severe Restrictions

For starters, and probably most importantly for us mere mortals, is that only Windows Vista users are going to be able to watch the footage. According to Blorge, Apple Mac, Linux and even Windows XP users need not apply.

Potential viewers will also need to have Silverlight installed on their PC, with Adobe’s Flash Player, the current market leader for streaming Web applications being of no use when it comes to this coverage.

Both of these restrictions have clearly been engineered by Microsoft, who strangely enough are NBC’s partners in promoting the online Olympic coverage, with the games being heavily targeted on MSN.com. And the restrictions don’t end there, with Yahoo! News reporting others.

When the BBC iPlayer launched a Windows only service it got in trouble and ended up having to re-work the technology behind the iPlayer so that people using other platforms could watch the videos.

The NBC should also be pushed into providing a much more open service that is both user friendly and promotes a healthy competitive environment rather than supporting a Microsoft monopoly.

Limited Coverage

Coverage of the Olympic trials was allowed to be shown on websites other than NBCOlympics.com so long as the site linked back to the main NBC page. Now NBC are demanding all those videos are removed by August 7th, the day before the Beijing Games start.

There are also restrictions placed on the NBC coverage itself, with no events that are scheduled to be televised on normal NBC channels to be made available online until after they are seen on TV. So on-demand only applies to well after the event has happened.

I had high hopes for this free online coverage to really show the way forward for Web television, and for it to encourage other broadcasters to follow suit in seeing the Internet as the way forward. But these unnecessarily harsh restrictions could mean the whole thing is a farce.

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19 Replies to “NBCOlympics.com | Olympic Games Videos & Live TV Only…”

  1. wtf???? WTF???? vista users ONLY? that has to be the most foolish….i cannot even type properly because of my apoplectic shaking. does this mean that i have to re-install vista, that i got rid off for lack of ease of use to watch some obscure sports LIVE at 4 am!?!?!?!?!? i am shattered.
    i imagine this will cause many people to seek out pirate sites like ‘myp2p.eu’ and jason.tv to watch foreign coverage….
    no wonder nbc is the 7th rated network now after the cw AND the ‘my network’ networks’. this shit is fools leading fools into a dirt-floored basement, wondering what all those bones are doing sticking out of the floor…chaaaaaRHIST!

  2. Go read the comments on the Blorge article. Viewers will need Silverlight for the enhanced version, with a Windows Media backup for those who don’t.

  3. Thanks Dave Parrack for the great information, will NBC/Microsoft be making a drastic error in judgment reminiscent of the 1992 broadcast vision?

  4. I don’t see how its Vista users only, I mean I have Windows XP and I’ve got silverlight installed. Also unless I’m mistaken Silverlight is compatible with browsers in OS X. So please elaborate on how its only Vista users who can watch NBCOlympics video.

  5. I said it to everyone. Some day I would like to watch the olympics. I would like to watch the sport I want to, whatever contry I want to, whenever I want to.
    Is that too much to ask for?????

    I pick one I like: the last I looked Indoor Volleyball will not be available online.

    Too bad for me, I guess I wont be watching anything.

  6. As a Chinese American not able to go to Beijing to watch the opening ceremony, I am upset, just like many Chinese Americans and oversea Chinese are, that NBC will not be broadcasting the Olympics live, and without interruption. It is obvious to many people, not just the Chinese, that the Olympic games in Beijing has deep political and social significance to both the Chinese and Chinese internationals all over the world. In America alone, the Chinese population is significant, and the NBC viewers watching the opening ceremony will be composed of a large amount of Chinese people. I find it hard to comprehend that NBC cannot broadcast the Olympics live without interruption in the morning and then show the tailored version at night.

  7. Just another marketing gimmick by the all powerful Microsoft. I wish they’d invest more in improving their O.S. Then maybe people would by it because it was a good product instead of feeling like they need it to anything on their P.C.

    I still won’t pay for Visa when I can get Ubuntu free.

  8. Not a problem…Just google cbc sport… It is not live but you can see the video highlights…

    Oh Canada….

  9. The MS monopoly has found another way to hurt consumers by forcing them to use a lousy product. How can anyone be surprised?

    If people have the sense and foresight to boycott this coverage, we can force media companies to change their ways and actually serve the consumers, not the other way around. If people just do what they’re told and buy Vista so they can watch sports on it, the monopoly’s exploitation of what could have been a great event will be the way of the future. What will you choose?

  10. Shame on the people that restricted the web serves like this …witout even a warning about not being able to watch without Vista being your operating system….maybe it is time to get a mac..

  11. I am currently have no issues watching the HD streaming content on my XP media center machine and I am using firefox.

  12. I had really hoped to watch live streaming on the internet because I don’t have a television. I also have a mac, which renders the internet as a venue for watching the olympics totally useless. Thanks for nothing, NBC

  13. This article is deeply flawed and full of false information.

    NBC Olympics online coverage IS NOT restricted to Vista users only. The website has no additional restrictions aside from what Microsoft Silverlight already supports. Silverlight supports the following platforms:

    Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2+, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2008, MacOS Mac OS 10.4.8+ (Intel only).

    IE7, IE6, Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0 and Safari are among the supported browsers.

    http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/resources/install.aspx?v=2.0#sysreq has a full list of system requirements.

  14. What’s even better about this is that if you go to NBC’s website and follow the convoluted trail to locate an email address to complain about this, you finally get to:
    NBCOLYMPICSFEEDBACK@NBCUNI.COM on Tue, 5 Aug 2008 20:49:14 -0700
    The recipient name is not recognized

  15. well, i guess i can watch this on my laptop, it has vista, but all these retarded restrictions are absolutely pointless…

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