Posted by Brian Steel
Last night, I experienced my first introduction to Silverlight. I finally had the opportunity to catch up on some of the Olympic games that I had missed. So, I figured what the heck, why not check out the games online? After a simple Google search, I found NBCOlympics.com. I clicked through the site in order to watch some Olympic events only to discover that I must download the Silverlight plug-in software before proceeding. Silverlight is Microsoft’s cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device plug-in software solution for embedded streaming media player technologies, which happens to be .NET compatible. Although I anticipated my experience to be much worse, I was pleasantly surprised. One click and a minute later the .DMG file was on my desktop. I do not know why Microsoft software runs so much smoother on Macintosh?
Anyway, upon completion of the software install, I was back on NBCOlympics.com watching Olympic programming such as Women’s Archery, Softball and Kayaking. You know all the extremely important ‘mainstream’ Olympic events. It was great! The Silverlight player was easy to use and the streams were like watching the real event on a really small screen with the option to enlarge. However I do not recommend the enlarge feature it is not so great, the playback becomes ‘blocky,’ ‘distorted’ and difficult to watch.
My only problem with my ‘Olympic viewing experience’ was with the NBC Olympic website. The site was extremely cluttered. Immediately, I knew I could easily get lost in Olympic content for days, which is most likely NBC’s goal. It is obvious that NBC is trying to gain as much data from their users as possible. Hence, why the site is so cluttered with content in order to distract the user from their original intent. After watching three Olympic events on NBCOlympics.com, I was prompted to give my zip code and my local cable provider in order to continue watching more content. Now I am wondering if my zip will start receiving more Comcast ads, grrrrreat just what we need!
So, I know NBC was striving to capitalize on the ‘long tail’ economy of the Olympic games. The evidence is clear on the website where a user can find hours of obscure Olympic content, which is fabulous for table tennis, trampoline, and equestrian enthusiasts, but good luck trying to find a mainstream event such as the opening ceremony. How about some easily accessible mainstream Olympic content online?