NBC is doing a heckuva as the US's only provider of the Olympics this year. They've got tons of coverage on TV, and an extensive online coverage system too. Naturally, with such a huge operation there are … difficulties.
Watching the coverage online requires Microsoft Silverlight, which (now) supports Macs, but it means installing some Microsoft bloatware onto your system (yuk).
Silverlight is competitor to the ubiquitous Adobe Flash. In this blogger's humble opinion, MS has no chance to take the market. It's annoying to have to install the software just to watch the Olympics. Of course, kudos to MS for getting their software in such a preimo spot (we'll ignore the MSNBC connection). I sure do wish NBC had provided a Flash alternative though.
On Technically Incorrect | CNet, Chris Matyszczyk blogged about his experience watching the Olympics online. Let's just say that NBC was less than professional:
The scrolling commentary has political news: "Iran, USA detente at the head of the main peloton as Iran's climber Hussein Askari takes a flyer and is joined by (we think) USA's Jason McCartney."
We think? We think? This might be a U.S. assault on Iran. And all they can say is "We think"?
Censors not able to keep up with NBC's online Olympics coverage | CNet
And, it seems that NBC has concluded that if their talking heads are writing, and not talking, they can spew even more BS than they typically do:
This is how he has just spoken to me in writing: "The first time up the major climb of the finish circuit has substantially damaged the peloton, but we are still waiting on names and time gaps."
So this commentator is telling me he has no idea who is winning, no idea who is second, no idea who is third, and no idea of the time differences between the riders.
Slashdot is a news aggregation site for nerds. If someone on that site notices something fishy going on with the news media, you can be pretty sure that a) What they say happened, happened. b) It's pretty out of the box because, this is not a site that usually notes this kind of thing. Below is the full text of the blurb on Slashdot.
"Viewing the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony online at NBC's Olympics website, you can see that the order in which the countries were presented was very different from the actual order of the countries in the ceremony, as listed at Wikipedia. NBC skipped roughly 100 countries ahead, then jumped back and forth, apparently delaying the appearance of the United States in its home market until later in the broadcast. (In fact, the US team was shown on the infield before they were shown marching!) NBC did not acknowledge this in its broadcast. Is NBC altering the reality of the broadcast to boost ratings? Was this true only online, or also in the live broadcast?"
Slashdot | Did NBC Alter the Olympics' Opening Ceremony?
Bear in mind, that if you live on the West Coast of the US you got to watch these opening ceremonies a full half day after they happened – just so that NBC could show it to you in primetime.
I'm going to enjoy the Olympics throughly, I'm also going to take everything that NBC shows with a grain(s) of salt.
Technically Incorrect has posted another article about digital fakery in the opening ceremonies and the continued use of the word 'live.' Read it here.
In case there was any doubt – NBC is raking in the dough from this Olympics. According to Sean McManus, Olympic commercials cost $1 million a piece.