Watch the 2012 London Olympics Online

London 2012 Olympics Clock
London 2012 Olympics Clock (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The countdown is just about over and the Olympics are about to get into full swing. Opportunities for watching the Olympics this year are better than ever. As a matter of fact, you would almost have to try to miss the Olympics this year as there are so many ways to view it.

NBC has created a comprehensive website with all of the information you could possibly want out of the Olympics. Unfortunately, NBC has decided that anyone wanting to use their service to watch the Olympics online will have to verify that they are a TV customer of a cable or satellite customer. So if you’ve ditched your TV service recently, you’re out of luck. However, if you are a cable or satellite customer and want to watch the Olympics at work, then go to http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra and get signed up.

The real news appears to be coming out of London itself. BBC is making an unprecedented move to broadcast  up to 24 live HD streams online. They are boasting 2,500 hours of broadcast time across multiple platforms. To visit their Olympic coverage online go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will also be providing streaming video, via its YouTube Channel, to 64 territories. According to their press release,

The live-streaming on the IOC’s YouTube channel will provide exclusive digital access to the London 2012 Olympic Games in territories where digital broadcast rights have not already been acquired by the IOC’s broadcast partners:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

And in 42 Sub-Saharan African territories on a non-exclusive basis, including:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

If you’re an Olympics junkie, then this is the year for you. If not, I am not sure where you’ll be able to hide from all the madness. Don’t forget that there are mobile apps available in just about any flavor. Read more about those at Mobiles Apps for Olympics 2012 page.

Microsoft Awarded Patent On Adaptive Video Streaming. Beats Apple, Adobe To It

Multimedia streaming over the Internet has seen rapid user adoption. In the US, Netlfix overtook Comcast in subscription numbers. There are several services (other than the ones RIAA/MPAA doesn’t want you to use) that offer online streams for content. Youtube, Netflix and Hulu to name a few popular ones. Microsoft introduced Silverlight (their Flash alternative) a while back. One of the features Microsoft talked about with Silverlight was adaptive streaming. In simplest terms, it is a concept where the quality of stream automatically adjusts to your Internet connection speed—in real time. So if your Internet connection gets clogged during an ongoing stream, it will switch to a low resolution (low bitrate) version on its own.

Microsoft calls this Smooth Streaming and has a lot of technical magic in the background. Smooth Streaming has helped Microsoft clinch several live event streaming deals which in turn have resulted in Silverlight getting a considerable user base. I recently came across a patent titled Seamless switching of scalable video bitstreams. The patent claims are concepts behind Smooth Streaming. Excerpts from the claims:

A computer-implemented method executable on a processor for switching between a first bitstream and a second bitstream, wherein the second bitstream provides a higher data rate than the first bitstream, the method comprising: identifying a switching up period associated with the first and second bitstreams, the first bitstream comprising first encoded data for a plurality of frames within a video sequence […]

An apparatus suitable for encoding a first bitstream and a second bitstream, wherein the second bitstream provides a higher data rate than the first bitstream, the apparatus comprising: a memory; one or more processors; an interface, operable on the one or more processors, configurable to selectively output the first and second bitstreams; and logic operatively coupled to the interface and configured to selectively encode a plurality of frames of a video sequence […]

Given the importance of Intellectual Property as observed recently, Microsoft being awarded this patent is quite interesting. My quick not-so-in-depth searches show that neither Netflix nor Hulu have patents on online video streaming (I could be wrong though). I haven’t played a lot with Netflix but Hulu offers an option to Auto-select best quality for the bandwidth available. Although, I don’t see Microsoft going after Hulu.

As it turns out, Adobe has a similar feature called Dynamic Streaming that they use in Flash and Apple uses a similar implementation for streaming their events to iOS and OS X powered devices. According to the patent, Microsoft filed for it back in 2005.

Other than Silverlight based streaming, Microsoft offers video streams on the Xbox too. A demo of Smooth Streaming over IIS is available here.

The Patent

Indiatimes Launches Live Streaming For Commonwealth Games 2010

Looks like everyone is now trying to monetise the 14 day long Commonwealth Games (CWG) that is being held in India someway or the other. Yesterday we told you about a Delhi and CWG specific map service that has been launched by MapMyIndia. Now, Indiatimes has joined the motion too!  Times Internet has partnered with CWG 2010  to bring a live stream of the games to the masses at  Live.Indiatimes.com/CWGLive.cms (a microsite on Indiatimes.com). Live streaming of these games started yesterday (Oct 5th).

According to a spokesperson from Times Internet the main motive behind this Live Streaming is to enable as many people as possible to be a part of the games.  Indiatimes has also integrated Facebook and Twitter into the Live Streaming microsite so that viewers post comments directly on the live streaming page.

Watch NCAA March Madness Online 2010

It’s the March Madness people! College basketball at its best[est!] as 65 teams compete for glory between March and April. The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Men’s Division I Basketball Championship is the game that gets people excited and humming, as they root for their favorite team and boo those they have beef against. The single-elimination tournament is being held between the 14th of March and the 5th of April this year and will feature a surprising number of online services that will support the main event.

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Created in 1939 by Kansas coach Phog Allen, this event has become one of the widely watched regional games in the USA. The Big Dance, as it is also called, has attracted a wide amount of attention from the nation as people root for their school and watch it proudly as they lift the NCAA trophy. With cartloads of revenue for the bigger matches the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four, the people running television channels have also expanded to include online services for fans who do not want to miss a match.

Thus, CBS Sports has decided to provide free live streaming of all the matches from Selection Sunday on the 14th of March to the finals on the 5th. CBS Sports has a dedicated page for the championship with schedules and even a High Quality streaming service (which requires Microsoft’s Silverlight). They even have an iPhone app to watch the games online on your phone.

That’s right you can watch the entire March Madness online on your iPhone. The link opens up an iTunes window so that you can easily install the application on your iPhone. Pretty neat!

Do tell us which team you are rooting for in the comments!

Watch 55th Filmfare Awards 2010 Online

The Filmfare Awards are presented annually by the Times Group to honor the technical, artistic and other aspects of Hindi cinema and filmmaking. Originally instituted in 1954, the Filmfare Award was reader-based where readers of the Filmfare magazine polled for the best actor, actress, film, director and music director. What started off as a magazine-based ceremony with only five awards has blossomed into the star-filled and glittering show of today with thirty-one categories for awards. The 55th Annual Filmfare Awards honoring movies released between 2009-10 will be presented on the 27th of February, 2010 from 9PM IST onwards at Yash Raj Studios, Mumbai.

Filmfare Awards

Hosted by Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, this year’s Filmfare ceremony is going to be as big as ever!

This year’s contenders are pretty big, with names like Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D, Rajkumar Hirani’s Three Idiots and Vishal Bharadwaj’s Kaminey lining up for Best Director, Film and other honors. Ranbir Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor seem to be the hot favorites this year with two nominations each and might as well carry at least one award back home. The nominations are quite varied, although Three Idiots seems to have quite a lot of mentions as does Kaminey. I am sure all of you have your personal favorites, but how will you watch this glitz-filled evening if your significant other is busy watching a serial or a match?

Watch the entire thing online, of course! Zoom TV, Indiatimes’ own channel has a live TV feed that has recently been put up. The TV feed has a lag of about thirty seconds against the main stream that comes to the TV, but we can live with that, I’m sure! An alternative is the special Indiatimes website set up for the 55th Filmfare Awards. This is an exclusive site for the awards ceremony only and will begin broadcasting when the ceremony starts.

So who are your favorites for this year’s Filmfare? Do let us know in the comments!

Watch Microsoft Windows Mobile Keynote Live at MWC 2010

Today, Microsoft is scheduled for a press conference at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2010. Microsoft is expected to launch its latest mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 7. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft Corporation will host the press conference at the MWC.

microsoft press event

Here are some useful sites where you can catch up with the live coverage of Microsoft Press Conference at MWC 2010.

Windows Phone Press Conference Timings:

  • 6.00am – PST (Pacific Standard Time)
  • 2.00pm – GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
  • 3.00pm – CET (Central European Time)
  • 7.30pm – IST (Indian Standard Time)

We will keep this list updated as we come across more live streaming resources and other important announcements related to MWC 2010. You can also follow #MWC2010 hashtag on Twitter to keep tabs on the event.

Watch Live Coverage of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2010 Online

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2010 is one of the largest exhibition for mobile industry  in the world. Many mobile phone manufacturers like Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, etc, are expected to launch a wide range of handsets and mobile OS. You can check out the complete events and schedule of MWC 2010 here.

mwc logo

The event will be held between February 15 and January 18, 2010. Here are some useful sites where you can catch up with the live coverage of MWC 2010.

We will keep this list updated as we come across more live streaming resources and other important announcements related to MWC 2010. You can also follow #MWC2010 hashtag on Twitter to keep tabs on the event.

Watch GRAMMY Awards 2010 Online

The GRAMMY (Grammy or Gramophone) Awards are presented each year to honor the best achievements in the music industry of the past year by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA. It is a widely televised award, second only to the Oscar (Academy) Awards. With 99 award categories and a total of 109 awards this is one of the longest award ceremonies around and it is full of the glitz and glitter of the music industry from rock groups to classical orchestras to hip-hop kings throng the audience among others. The 52nd GRAMMY Awards will be presented on the 31st of January, 2010 from 8:30-11:30PM (ET/PT) at the Los Angeles Convention Center, while the pre-telecast will go live online from 1:00PM to 4:00PM (ET/PT).

GRAMMY Award

The GRAMMY awards are named after the gold-gilded gramophone statuette presented to the winner(s), and is analogous to the Golden Globe statuette and the Oscar statuette awarded to their respective winners. The hosts of this year’s GRAMMY awards are Tia Carrere (the Hawaiian actress and award winner) and Kurt Elling, who are also this year’s nominees for one award each. Many current nominees and industry greats will be presenting the awards in 99 categories, and the star-studded ceremony will also feature performances by Beast, Charlie Benson and Ray Wilson, among others.

TiaCarrere

The best part about this CBS-sponsored award ceremony is that it can also be watched online! Both Grammy.com and the CBS network for all of us computer-couch potatoes! Both of these sites, will stream the ceremony online, while YouTube will add auxiliary support with a host of related videos. The pre-telecast ceremony will be streamed live on GRAMMY Live!, for an entire weekend’s worth of interviews, special performances and more from nominees.

Kurt Elling

This year’s ceremony will also feature a special Michael Jackson tribute, featuring a 3D mini-movie known as Earth Song, created by Jackson for his This Is Ittour, but has not been seen before. The movie delivers a strong message about the future of our planet. CBS will telecast this movie in full 3D so that viewers at home can also watch it with special 3D glasses (which the company has made millions of and is distributing for free in Target stores in the USA from the 24th through to 31st January, 2010). Along with this, there will be special performances to honor Jackson who passed away in 2009.

Michael Jackson

So, I am sure you will all be glued to your displays now that the GRAMMYs are also being telecast online! Tell us who will win the GRAMMYs in your favorite categories, and why in your comments!