Monday, December 21, 2009

NBCOlympics.com Video Player Powered by Vertigo





Last month, our team at Vertigo announced the release of the NBCOlympics.com HD video player and Deep Zoom photo experience powered by Vertigo for NBC's coverage of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. These players are live today, and you can use them to explore a wide range of content from previous years, as well as interviews with athletes and other previews. See our post here for the full details.
Our team is pleased to announce that an additional set of features was released last week! A dive into those new features appears in the second part of this post.

Part 1: Original Features
The video and photo experiences for NBCOlympics.com released in November featured:
Video Experience
  • HD-quality video using Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming TechnologyGorgeous HD-quality video in full 720p, streamed in a manner that adaptively adjusts to any connection speed.
  • DVR "Trick Play" control Direct your own video experience using slow motion, fast forward, and rewind. The "dongle" control also allows for more fine-grained control to find the exact moment you're looking for.
  • Rich Data Integration Go deep and find out all you need to know about every key play with Key Events and Play by Play data, including a fully interactive video timeline.
  • Embedded Player
    Embed a lightweight version of our player in your blog!
  • Advanced advertising integration A sophisticated advertising engine that includes support for DVR functionality. This also includes capability for affiliate branding integration.
  • Error handling and recovery We've put a great deal of effort into ensuring that the video our users experience is delivered in a highly reliable manner. If something goes wrong, our player has a lot of smarts built in that allow it to analyze problems and quickly recover or offer other options for viewing.
  • Logging The NBCOlympics.com player powered by Vertigo will be one of the best instrumented web applications ever built. With so many users connecting to so much video, it is important to keep close tabs on everything that's going on. We're using the following logging providers:
    • Conviva for real-time health monitoring
    • Omniture and Quantcast for metrics and activity tracking
    • Nielsen for usage tracking
    • Microsoft for video health logging
  • Alerts Stay up to date with the latest events.
  • Boss Button Because sometimes it's just too tempting to watch all that great content even when you're at work…
Photo Experience
  • Slideshow mode allows easy one-by-one viewing of automatically advancing galleries.
  • Grid Mode allows free-form and quick navigation of larger galleries.
  • Scroll to zoom in and out of photos
Part 2: Extra Feature Set Released Last Week
This set of improvements consists of a range of goodies that enhance the video experience by allowing you to explore the tremendous amount of content available much more deeply. Let's take a look:

Support for live videoThe opening ceremonies on February 12th are almost here, and the player is now ready to handle streaming of live coverage of the Olympic games!



Video Content Explorer

The video content explorer (accessible from the "Explore More Videos" button) allows users to view the full range of Olympic video content within the full screen mode of the player. You can explore videos recommended to you based on what you're currently watching, the most popular videos across the site, featured videos, or hot clips under "Must See".



Top Athletes
The Top Athletes tab allows you to explore video content from a different angle – you can browse through your favorite international athletes and find all of their related video content.


Sports
Similarly, the sports tab allows you to explore videos within a specific Olympic sport.




Schedule
When the Olympic games start, there will be a lot of activity to keep track of! Found in the "Inside This Video" overlay, the schedule view allows a time/schedule-based approach to exploring video content, and also provides a glimpse of upcoming events.



Related Athletes
If you're interested in more information about the athletes participating in the video you're watching, you can find full details in the Related Athletes pane, accessible from the "Inside This Video" overlay. If you want to explore even further, you can flip over each athlete's "trading card" to find a list of all videos in which they appear.


Twitter
Keep tabs on the latest community buzz about the event you're watching with the built in Twitter client.



I'd like to send a big thank you out to everyone on Vertigo's Olympics team as well as our partner organizations for their dedication and hard work in bringing together this unique experience. We're looking forward to seeing it in action during the winter games in February!

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