NBC Sunday Night Football – Powered by Silverlight and Smooth Streaming

Has it really been 5 months since my last post? Well, one of the reasons why I’ve been so inactive here is because I’ve been busy working on this project:

Today we are launching the NBC Sunday Night Football website: http://snfextra.nbcsports.com featuring a truly cutting-edge video player powered by Microsoft Silverlight and IIS7 Smooth Streaming.

The first game, Titans vs Steelers, is to be broadcast today (September 10th) at 5 pm PST. The next game, Bears vs Packers, is scheduled for this Sunday (September 13th) at 5 pm PST. Due to NBC broadcast rights for SNF, the website is restricted to U.S.-based users only (sorry, expats!).

The project is the culmination of over 5 months of hard work involving NBC, Microsoft (technical project management and core technologies), iStreamPlanet (video encoding services and realtime data integration), Vertigo (player design and development), Akamai (content delivery), Inlet (video encoding technology), Conviva (realtime content delivery analytics), Omniture (web analytics) and DoubleClick (advertising).

The SNF player will feature:

  • Live Smooth Streaming video, for all of the content, all of the time
  • Seamless on-demand switching between the 720p HD main broadcast feed and four 480p SD alternate camera angles
  • Full motion thumbnail previews of all alternate camera angles
  • Seeking, pausing, fast forwarding and rewinding of live video
  • Slow motion and instant replay
  • Realtime play-by-play data available on the timeline and pop-up menu, providing instant access to all key game plays
  • Realtime game stats data
  • Dynamic mid-stream ad insertion (matching where the ads would appear in a TV broadcast)
  • Silverlight 3 support for GPU-accelerated video scaling for improved video playback performance

There are a ton of other features I’m probably forgetting right now, but I will make sure to follow up soon with another blog post covering all those as well as the technical video details of the project (bitrates, resolutions, codecs, etc).

About Alex Zambelli

Alex is a Senior Product Manager at Hulu in Seattle, WA. Prior to his current job he was a Product Manager at iStreamPlanet (Turner) and Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Media Platform at Microsoft Corporation. He specializes in video streaming, adaptive HTTP streaming, video compression, and video processing best practices.
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