During the production of the recently held 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, chose Microsoft as the cloud encoding and hosting platform provider for the Games.
This announcement was made by Richard Cordella, senior VP and GM for Digital Media, NBC Sports Group, along with Scott Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group. As a result of this deal, Microsoft was able to bring Winter Olympics programming from more than 50 live high-definition streams to viewers and on demand.
The devices and services company leveraged the power of cloud computing, utilizing Windows Azure Media Services to publish and stream coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Users could catch a glimpse of the sporting action whether they were using an Internet-connected TV, or mobile device (smartphone, phablet, or tablet). They were able to access live as well as on-demand content by way of the NBC Sports Live Extra app available free for Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS-powered mobile devices.
Additionally, viewers were allowed to go to NBCOlympics.com in order to view live or on-demand Olympics events from their PC or Mac computer. These live streams were being streamed with support of Windows Azure Media Services.
Although the service was available from a myriad of different kind of devices and platforms, viewers who watched the Winter Olympics on a device operating on Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, had the best virtual seat in town as they benefited from an enhanced connected viewing experience.
“Windows Azure has once again led the way by providing end-to-end live streaming of the Winter Olympics entirely in the cloud, including encoding, transcoding and streaming, for the first time in history,” states Guthrie. “Our partnership with NBC Olympics delivered an immersive viewing experience, bringing the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to viewers’ fingertips, thanks to our powerful cloud technology and One Microsoft approach.”
Cordella adds: “We were confident that the Windows Azure Media Services would help us provide the most robust streaming experience ever for a Winter Olympics, and that confidence was not misplaced.”
In order to deliver NBC Olympics on-demand and live streaming coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Microsoft called upon its broad partner ecosystem. The company worked with Adobe Systems Inc. who provided its Primetime TV publishing and monetization platform. This platform includes Adobe Primetime Player SDKs for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS and other platforms, which ensured that full scalability as well as monetization of video streams was attained across millions of U.S. households.
In addition, Microsoft joined forces with iStreamPlanet who delivered its cloud-based, live video workflow solution Aventus that was used to power live video ingest and multiple bit rate encoding, including ad insertion, for NBC’s streaming coverage of the Olympic Games.