The Olympics’ Internet Explosion

For the latter process, NBC will be capturing all of this video footage in Omneon’s MediaGrid Active Storage System for use by producers and editors who will then create the highlights packages and other programming elements. Incoming HD feeds from Olympic venues are digitized through 24 Omneon MediaDecks and up to 100 terabytes of files are stored on the MediaGrid array in Beijing. These are then replicated to other arrays back in the U.S. Omneon creates “proxies” or MPEG-4 low-res copies of the incoming feeds and transfers them from Beijing to NBC’s New York City headquarters.

New media producers working at their desktops use these proxy files to decide on how to put together the various programs, and then an XML script is used to assemble the final high-res version that is digitally shipped from China.

“This is the largest storage grid we’ve operated so far,” said Adams. Omneon works for a variety of broadcasters and private companies that want to deliver video content. Using this setup will cut down on the amount of overall HD video transmitted across the Internet, although some serious bandwidth is still needed for this Olympics.

AT&T is managing three OC-3 150 Mbit lines from Beijing for both the live broadcast and the stored video streams. As a comparison, 20 years ago the Calgary Olympics used mostly coaxial cable in the pre-Internet era to move its video streams around from the various Olympic venues to the central broadcast center.

The events will be shown on a wide variety of TV stations including MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo, and various international affiliated broadcasters, as well. And if that isn’t enough and you really want more to watch, will also offer videos for sale on its Web.

”It’s our goal to deliver the best Olympics experience to the broadest audience, “ said Perkins Miller, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, NBC Sports and Olympics. So far, it looks like they’ve succeeded. Let the Games begin.