Microsoft's Siliverlight is 104 days away from its Olympics close-up and partner NBC is tweaking its site hoping to use qualifying rounds as a testing ground.
That's the big takeaway from ZDNet Asia's Victoria Ho's interview with Perkins Miller, NBC's senior vice president of digital media for Sports and Olympics.
Ho details the preparation of NBCOlympics.com and reports the following:
The site's Web video player is built on Microsoft's Web application framework, Silverlight. According to Miller, the broadcaster has been planning the project over the last nine months, with more intensive coding work done on the backend with Microsoft over the last four months or so.
Miller said the team had a working prototype in February this year, which has since gone through "various iterations". The project will face another round of testing mid-year, which will coincide with the Olympic qualifying rounds, allowing the team to test the player's live streaming functions.
Since the prototype, the team has focused on tweaking the user experience of the player, including the navigation interface, MBR (managed bit rate)--which matches the quality of the video to the user's connection speed--and metadata tagging of video streams to make searching and archiving easier.
All of that sounds fine, but here's what makes me curious. Typically, companies that know they are heading into a peak period shut down the technology tweaking. For instance, retailers will not touch systems in the December quarter because holiday sales could be at risk. NBC, however, will be testing at mid-year when the Olympics will really only be about two months away at the most. Meanwhile, those learnings from the qualifying rounds will be implemented even closer to the Olympics.
I'm sure everything will be just fine and I'm just a worrywart, but aren't we cutting the coding a little too close to the games?
Andy Plesser at Beet TV has more on the Silverlight from NAB.