NBC: We Have No Clue Who Tim Berners-Lee Is, But Without Our Commentary, You Wouldn't Understand The Olympics

from the brought-to-you-in-full-color-tape-delay! dept

Oh, NBC. You've locked down the Olympics and made some serious half-assed efforts towards providing extensive coverage that takes advantage of the always-connected world and yet... you just can't help stepping in it on opening night.

First of all, seriously? Tape delay to the West Coast? You lock down coverage in order to take advantage of prime time and try to pass it off as some sort of "value added" service. Pay no mind to all the twittering and live blogging willing to fill in the gaps, while you do some sort of production magic behind the scenes. Live events don't need windows and real life shouldn't need **spoiler** warnings.

Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren't even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren't factors. And you know it, too, because your official Twitter accounts were posting updates live, giving Americans the dusty old feeling that they're listening to a local broadcaster read off the ticker feed from a title match. So close, but so far.

But us poor internet denizens. If we weren't so damn stupid, we could be trusted with a live feed. NBC's official statement:
"They [the opening ceremonies] are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large primetime audiences that gather together to watch them."
Translation: our advertisers have paid us a literal shit-tonne of money to have a large primetime audience delivered to them, so fold your hands in your lap and stare blankly at your television until the broadcast begins.

I'm no social media maven but I'm pretty sure the internet does just fine adding "context" and is perfectly capable of "watching stuff" as it happens. For example, they seem perfectly find adding context to the fact that your hosts suck, as aptly pointed out via this collection of tweets asking Matt Lauer to shut up.

And what the hell is this about "expertise?" Did you even hear your own anchors?
As the London Olympic games honored World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, NBC hosts Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer admitted — almost bragged — that they didn’t know who he was.

It’s a shame, because it took attention away from a pretty cool tribute to the history of tech and the way it has transformed modern life and communications. Text messages, status updates, photo sharing and smartphones all played a part.

Indeed, every seat had an LED panel to create a stadium-wide megadisplay.

“One more thing I don’t understand,” Viera added.

Evidently someone handed them a memo, because Viera was able to correctly identify Berners-Lee several minutes later, as he typed out a message (on a NeXT cube) that was shown on that oh-so-confusing LED screen.
[There's video here of the ignorance if you're so inclined. Obviously, NBC would rather you not relive this moment over and over so it's tucked away in someone's Tumblr and not embeddable.]

The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, without whom a lot of this stuff you're botching wouldn't even be possible, makes an appearance and your talking heads act almost triumphant they've never heard of him. What the hell? Was Aaron Sorkin writing the cue cards?

There's "seizing the moment" and then there's "closing your eyes and sticking one arm out," hoping the moment trips over you on its way to the goal line. You're the placekickers of "complex entertainment spectacles."

On the bright side, I would imagine there's nowhere to go but up from the Opening Ceremonies. But I'm sure you've still got a few gaffes up your sleeve, especially if you stick with your "adding context with ignorant commentary" plan. 

[Oh, never mind. It's happened already.]
Wow. It's a shame that NBC has the financial ability to outbid anyone who could actually handle an Olympics broadcast competently. 


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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:50am

    Whine, whine, whine. Is that all the TD B-teamers are good for?

     

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    Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Lack of live streaming

    Ok, this isn't a content copyright issue, it may be just the simple fact that a lot of time. NBC has to sync the audio with the video signals an broadcast them all over the world. I've seen live streams from the BBC News shows where the live feed is totally off sync.

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:57am

      Re: Lack of live streaming

      Care to explain how I saw the Olympics opening in Brazil through an open channel with perfectly synced audio and.. GASP!.. For free?

      It's just NBC failing yet again.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

        I meant through a certain Telecom/Broadcast company......*coughs* "NBC".....in the US. And Ninja, I do agree with you, NBC does totally fail.

         

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          Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          Oh, it was a trollish comment. Completely fell for it.. The BBC comparison got me.

          But now that I think about it, could it be that your ISP is purposely messing with foreign streams?

           

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            Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

            Central Ohio Time Warner Cable is my provider. This current issue of mine with these Olympics could also be Comcast messing with it for other providers. I could watch E3 live streamed easily enough. Comcast does own NBC now so I'm not at all surprised that they would violate net neutrality at the behest of NBC Universal.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          Yeah, syncing issues usually fall into two categories. Interference with the step wave that syncs the signals, or incompetence of the re-broadcaster.

           

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:12am

      Re: Lack of live streaming

      As I said below, 4 years ago, the Olympic Games were in Beijing, and I watched it live on my Dutch tv, despite the many hours delay, and with perfectly synced audio and video. So that argument is clear bullshit.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

        Well you clearly don't live in the US. The telecoms work quite differently over here. Maybe I should clarify that I live in the US and this is what my region of the US sees.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          That is why God and the French invented VLC with audio synchronization settings.

          http://lifehacker.com/367558/fix-desynchronized-video-and-audio-with-vlc

          It can also receive live streams and do it on the fly.

          Man, I am sorry America broadcasters are so behind in tech, I will pray to the spaghetti monster god to see if he deliver you guys from this pain.

           

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

            Man, I am sorry America broadcasters are so behind in tech


            It's not just the broadcasters. You might be amazed how behind the times the US is in all aspects of telecommunications. Most Americans don't know it as they haven't experienced the internet/telephones/cable/etc anywhere else, but for a modern country, the tech we actually use tends to suck pretty hard.

            Thanks for your well-wishes.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          Perhaps they could use an appropriate combination of codecs and a media container that includes timestamps and use a technique called buffering?

           

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            Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

            The inharrently lack of NBC's technical know-how makes me seriously doubt your statement to be possible =)

             

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          G Thompson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          I live in Australia, further away than America from London ever is, and not only that but saw the LIVE broadcast of the opening ceremony on High Def 1080p resolution for FREE on Free to Air TV and then once again in the afternoon (here) re-broadcast and still fro free.

          If we in Australia can receive it on HD both LIVE and re-broadcast for free, and there is a +10hr time difference there is absolutely no excuse for NBC nor any other American broadcaster not to do the same.

          Oh and we are also getting LIVE broadcasts of all Australian (and other major events) 24/7 on free to air TV as well.

          Though some wag once from the US did tell me once that NBC stood for "No Bloody Clue" so maybe that's the real reason.
          :)

           

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            That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

            It is because your all upside down and they can't make their systems work properly upside down...
            The fluid containing the brain ends up pouring out of the tube and the system shuts down and the signal gets out for free.

             

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            Chris, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

            You forgot to add in Australia we also have had a live free to air 3D broadcast available to watch as well (if you had a TV that could do 3D)

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Lack of live streaming

          I never got this, for all the free-market talk, you certainly appear to have the most locked up telecoms systems in the world.

          It is allowed to misread 'locked' in the above sentence.

           

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    For $10 you can have a VPN connection to London and be watching the events live via the BBC. I watched fencing live both Saturday and Sunday morning, with no sign of Bob Costas or Matt Lauer anywhere.

     

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    Rabbit80, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    I watched the opening ceremony live online...

    "Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren't even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren't factors."

    Um.. What?? I watched them just fine on the BBC - and I could have found dozens of other streams had I been bothered to look!

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:13am

      Re: I watched the opening ceremony live online...

      The bbc streams are geo-locked. As in only UK citizens (and people smart enough to use VPNs) can watch those streams.

       

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        Trails (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: I watched the opening ceremony live online...

        The bbc streams are geo-locked. As in only UK citizens (and people smart enough to use VPNs) can watch those streams.

        "...could have found dozens of other streams had I been bothered to look!" ;)

         

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      laura, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 8:40am

      Re: I watched the opening ceremony live online...

      But Americans are barred from accessing BBC content which is broadcast from the Olympics and iPlayer is barred from the States anytime.

       

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    Rob, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    NBC generally sucks at anything they do

    NBC released a 2010 Olympic app for phones and tablets. It sucks. It is slow and crashes on my brand new phone. I had to uninstall it. What a joke. They had 4 years to get this app running well and even a day before the Olympics they were sending out updates to fix problems. What a joke.

    Also, NBC's commentators are really bad. That Bob Costas has to go. He ruins the Sunday Night NFL Football show and now they have him on the Olympics.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:04am

      Re: NBC generally sucks at anything they do

      you got the wrong app you want the 2012 Olympic app!

       

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      Bryan, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

      Re: NBC generally sucks at anything they do

      Worked great on my Galaxy Nexus over 4g, and on my Transformer Prime TF201 tethered to the GN, and on my home wireless...

       

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    NBC? Now Broadcasting Crap.

    If every other country can air this live, why is it that the "award winning" NBC cannot do the same?

    The Dutch TV was there live during the opening of Olympic Beijing, despite a god knows how many hours delay (and showed a recap of it during prime time the next day, which is how it should be done), including commentary from our sadly not award winning, but infinitely more knowledgeable commentators from the NOS.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    opening ceremonies sucked...

    my wife is a HUGE oilympics fan, and she spent half the opening ceremonies with her head cocked like a puzzled puppy: wtf ? she bailed out of it not too long after i did...
    how crappy is your 'spectacular' opening ceremony when it takes non-stop commentary to 'explain' the idiotic and boring his story of the 'isles of wonder' we were subjected to...
    what a weird waste of resources...
    i mean really, aside from 1% of nerds in the audience who know who tim berners lee is, HOW would anyone know of his significance, and *why* in this context again ? ? ?
    (well, i guess if you are going to 'celebrate' your national healthcare system, nerd-pride isn't out of place... but -really- your healthcare system ? i mean, i get that it is something to be proud of, blah blah blah, but...
    ...really ? weird shit, man...)
    oh well, wouldn't watch at all if it wasn't for the wife, and don't like their artifice in showing 'everything important' during primetime...
    one of the MAIN things i do like about the olympics, is seeing the 'offbeat' sports we are not exposed to very much; wanted to see more stuff like badminton, etc, EVEN IF -*gasp* apostasy!- there aren't any 'merikans in the sport...
    pretty sick of all the stupid 'profiles' and shit...
    they take anyone's 'normal' life, and turn it into a heroic quest; give me a break..

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:08am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      Well, I watched part of it and... It was pretty nice in terms of lighting and special effects as a whole but the development was just ok. Tim Lee was ok in the context even though the average Joe doesn't know him (and I guess that's where the value of a GOOD commentary kicks in).

      What amused me and made me chuckle quite a few times was the sad irony of the UK exalting the online free world and then we look around and see the UK Govt constantly attacking this same environment with draconian laws and absurd rulings. And you see how COI deals with criticism and copyrights/trademark. It was full of hypocrisy and irony.

      And there's the fact that it has become a purely commercial event. And are we really pushing the athletes to the edge of what's physically possible just for commercial interests? Really?

       

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        The Groove Tiger (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:29am

        Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

        C'mon, the ceremony was totally modern and current and stuff, it had like, tweets and a dance club and drama with crazy hair chick finally getting together with funny hat dude, and we all know giant glowsticks are what the young'uns are all about these days. Did I mention tweets?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:09am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      I know who he is, and what he has done, and I could not figure out how him sitting at a desk pretending to type something had ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. But this really applies to the entire opening ceremonies, sooooo...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:24am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      I don't care about the Olympics at all, and I only opened a live BBC stream to watch Frank Turner perform just before the official opening, then ended up watching the entire ceremony.

      I thought it was great, a very good selection of Britain's cultural and technological history. I'm not British, but I personally didn't need much commentary to get what was going on (granted, my country is pretty close to it, so I guess we do know quite a lot about its history already).

      And perhaps most people don't know who Berners-Lee is, *because* people like him never get any exposure at all. We, as the world, owe so much to the digital pioneers, and it's high time they got some credit outside of the 'nerd' circles.

       

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        art guerrilla (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

        ...at the *olympics* ? ? ?
        yes, it is a shame such technological pioneers don't get any exposure beyond nerdom,
        but...
        at the *olympics* ? ? ?
        i don't get the 'connection'...
        the whole thing was just too weird, and i LIKE weird...
        art guerrilla
        aka ann archy
        eof

         

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          Tim Griffiths (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

          And what else during that whole thing had much to do with the olympics? It's not like they are tyring to induce 100m coding of a system that will change the world or some crap, they honoured a man who will go down as one of the important names of history let alone of British history and for something that is meant to show off the country while there is a spot light on it I think there is very little that was in it that was as true or valuable to us as that moment.

          And let me clear I detest the olympics and have been mostly embarrassed by the whole mess so far and yet you are actually getting me to defend it... which is a hell of an achievement.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

          he artistic part of the opening ceremony is a place for the hosting country to show its culture. Apparently they consider this as much part of culture as, say, Mary Poppins and Paul mcCartney. I don't think I disagree.

           

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          JEDIDIAH, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

          I guess the British are just strange that way. They even put blokes like Darwin on their money. It's not just Kings and Prime Ministers for them.

          It was a British opening ceremonies and the British were celebrating a British pioneer who is very relevant to current youth culture. You know: young people, the kind that are still in good enough shape to be athletes.

          I bet those wipper-snapper athletes appreciate Sir Tim.

           

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      G Thompson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:55am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      It wasn't meant to showcase the history of London and England (which it did well) for anyone other than people living in the UK, like EVERY OTHER OLYMPICS! It was a show of patriotism, pride in their history and showcased their major achievements like ummm The Industrial Revolution, Invention of Steam Engines, Amazing musical talent that has come out of England (and especially London) and other major achievements in the History of the nation (ie: Invention of TV, WWW, and modern Health Care).

      If you didn't like it your problem, but to state that you think it was stupid and was of no benefit shows the standard parochial nature that most of the world expects from Americans.. Luckily most people on TD aren't like you.

      Learn about the rest of the world, understand where your OWN cultural and legal history actually came from and maybe you might appreciate and understand the human condition a bit better.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

        And having understood all that about the UK perhaps some Americans can learn where most of their legal framework comes from, the debt the USA owes to the UK and the UK to the USA.

        Oh, and speaking of debt there's this small period between 1939 and 1942 when the UK and Canada were the major parts of the English speaking world that stood up to a nutbar named Hitler alone. The Aussies up against Japan with the Kiwi's virtually alone.

        That said the UK owes a huge apology to the USA for a nutcase named George III, not to mention what was to become the rest of the British Empire.

         

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          G Thompson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

          That said the UK owes a huge apology to the USA for a nutcase named George III, not to mention what was to become the rest of the British Empire.

          I think the apology that the USA owes the world for that other George you had as a president recently cancels it all out. LOL

          Oh and not to be picky, but New Zealand and Australia (and other commonwealth countries like India etc) were part of that action against Hitler in 1939 and all with volunteers. We went to war at same time England did, Aust and NZ were only against Japan when Japan declared there alliance with Germany.

          On the legal framework, I agree and think most Americans would be surprised where such torts like negligence, trespass (of both property and person), Juries, Court system, etc originated from. Bugger the US Constitution, the Magna Carta is where its all at ;)

           

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:23am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      my wife is a HUGE oilympics fan, and she spent half the opening ceremonies with her head cocked like a puzzled puppy: wtf ? she bailed out of it not too long after i did...


      My wife, too, is a huge Olympics (and generally, sports) fan and her experience was similar. She thought the opening ceremonies were just awful. Later, she learned that they were actually very good (except for Sir Paul's performance), but completely ruined by NBC, so it was impossible to tell.

       

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      meddle (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:37am

      Re: opening ceremonies sucked...

      I wanted to like the ceremony. I tried to watch it. Finally, I had to turn it off. It was really awful. It's pretty obvious that directing a film and directive live presentations require different skill sets.

       

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    Donnicton, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:58am

    I find it incredibly apt that her name is Vivian Schiller.

     

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    Jeremy, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:03am

    There was one year of absolute television heaven w.r.t. the olympics. It was during the Atlanta olympics. I believe digital sattelite was just taking off at the time, and the dominant company of the time had an olympics package of 3 different channels. They were named Red, White, and Blue. The fact that the olympics were in Atlanta made it even more amazing as you never got tape delay, and you could watch entire tournaments rather than just a few select moments.

    It was so popular that NBC locked it completely down after that.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Time delay

    ""Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren't even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren't factors."

    I beg to differ on that statement. Anyone from the US who has ever played a game on a Counter Strike Source server based in london would understand that even in the telco communities, time delay is a factor.

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:17am

      Re: Time delay

      It doesn't matter in that whether you see it a minute after the rest of the world doesn't really hamper your ability to discuss things with other people on the net.
      With sporting events, a minute could mean a win or a loss.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: Time delay

        Just giving an example of time delay.

         

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Time delay

          Gaming online != watching video online.

          With gaming every second counts, with video, not so much.

           

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            Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

            It sort of does when you have a live feed from London rather than taped. Audio Carrier (TV) Signals travel faster because there is less data to compute. If you see a live feed from London here in the states, a truly live feed on your television I mean, you will notice people talking English in London with their lips way out of sync can get a bit distracting when there is a 3 second delay between sound and lip movement. That's why the events are pre-recorded. As it has been pointed out, NBC/Comcast fail completely.

             

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              meddle (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

              That's why they delay the audio and embed it in the video before it is sent. Then the receiver (decoder) delays the audio yet again while the video is being decoded. This problem was solved decades ago.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

              If you encode with proper timestamps on both video frames and audio packets at the source, player software on the receiving end will automatically synchronize them. There may need to be a small amount of buffering, say a second or so, but that's close enough to feel live, and very few people will notice the difference. Several hours delay however makes it obvious to everyone.

               

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              Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 7:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

              4 years ago, the Olympics were in Beijing, and the Dutch tv was there live, and I never ever saw their audio/video out of sync. Perhaps the US media should invest in some better equipment.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:21am

      Re: Time delay

      It must've sucked playing CS with a 3 hour ping.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re: Time delay

        Talk about severe lag mate.

         

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        Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re: Time delay

        LOL =) Do you see why the telcos over here in the US are way behind the times. They take 3 hours to provide us here in the states what you guys would see in 3 minutes in Europe.

        I should clarify about CSS. It isn't a three hour delay, but the latency is a ln example of time vs distance, and is buffered. Most TV live feeds have a 15 second buffer to censor nudity. The closer you are to a server (by length of cable) the less delay you get. Television broadcasts have vastly larger amounts of data and are usually sent through satalites hundreds of miles over us in Earth's orbit. If I recall, with wireless signals, the further out you go, the slower things get. Hence the three second or so delay in audio vs video.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Time delay

          Most TV live feeds have a 15 second buffer to censor nudity.


          This, here, is already beyond insane.

           

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            Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

            You can thank Janet Jackson for that 3minute delay in the US.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

              meh, i didn't think that whole issue was even worth mentioning outside of some gossip magazines. Let alone make that a reason to have a big red boob-alert panic button on all of television.

              Then again, when I was a kid there were commercials for shampoo that had full shots of naked people. Yet for some strange reason I did not turn out to be a sex-crazed psychopath. Something must be very wrong with me.

               

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          meddle (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Time delay

          Are you suggesting that audio electron are faster that video electron? Or that the audio is transmitted terrestrial and the video over satellite? I don't think either of those are true

           

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            Wally (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

            Audio uses less data than video and therefore requires little push to transmit over long distances at faster speeds. Read carefully. I'm suggesting that since audio uses less bandwidth than video, it typically gets their first.

             

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              Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 7:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time delay

              Oh and I also often watch live internet tv broadcasting from a small-time podcasting network (jupiterbroadcasting), and I also rarely see lipsync issues, and if they do appear, it's always my video viewer that screws things up, and never in the broadcast itself.

              Stop making things up.

               

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:21am

      Re: Time delay -- BUNK

      If by time delay you mean time zones you're right. Other than that you're completely wrong as far as telcos are concerned, cablecos, too.

      For their own uses or for paid uses the messages, yes pictures are messanges, are sent out on their own VPNs which have enormous capacity. Far more, I suspect, than Counter Strike Force has. So the reality is that the messages/streams leave London and, in the case of where I worked before I retired, ended up in the TELUS Class Two switching centre in Vancouver a couple of microseconds later. It may be even less time for Bell Canada in Toronto. Now, depending on factors like sponsorship, Bell owns CTV which means it's a no brainer there so the next step is the CTV or anyone wanting to put up a live stream and pay the cost is welcome to. Complete with branding and all that good stuff, of course.

      In remote parts of BC and Yukon it was being streamed live. Possibly in NWT and Nunavut as well. No TV in many of these places, you know.

      What you seem to be telling me is that the Internet is slower in getting a signal from London to Vancouver that the older analogue transmission was either by bouncing audio and video off satellites or on cable under the ocean was. Even taking propagation delay into account.

      I'm just not buying that one. Nor should anyone else. What delay there may be propagation delay should a satellite shot or two be needed but beyond that there's none.

      Goodness, man, all of this is on fibre optics anyway. There's even a transatlantic fire cable from Land's End in England to Halifax NS just in case satellites fail. Which they are this year due to enormous storms and sunspots on the the Sun this year and coronal mass ejections. Heck, I've watched it happen enough on my satellite tv connection!

      Game servers, bless them, suffer from capacity issues at times which means the server can't accept all the connections coming into or leaving them. Too many players trying to get on at the same time or not a big enough pipe connected back to the cableco or telco that they're connected to.

       

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    lol, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:16am

    What I want to know is if you're so pissed off about it why in the fuck are you still watching? You do see the irony in that right?

    I mean come on!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    It's funny that the US (one of those so-called "superpowers") had so much trouble watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, when the rest of the world (well, maybe with the exception of some countries that are currently on fire or under very oppressive regimes) had no problems whatsoever.

     

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    Joseph Durnal, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    They are better than ever

    I hate the whole tape delay thing. I learned that Phelps finished 4th on twitter, that the US 4x100 free relay didn't win gold on twitter. Then I got to watch it in prime time. The NBC streams seem to crash two different flash players on my computer so I couldn't watch them live that way (I consume a lot of flash content, but only NBC stuff seems to crash it). With so many channels showing the Olympics, why not show those big events live and then again in prime time? Fans of the Olympics will watch it twice, and the casual watcher will probably only watch the prime time stuff, win win.

    Even though it doesn't work for me, I do like that NBC is streaming just about everything live, that is a big step forward. I'm watching some Archery right now on a computer while I work and comment (uninteresting conference call where I'll say 3 or 4 words later). I caught some kayaking earlier, there are probably a few other things that I'll get to glance at later today. I'd never get to see these things otherwise.

    So, NBC is taking steps in the right direction, but they really need to understand their audience, we want to watch things live on our big screen TVs, we want to go back and watch stuff we missed later from or DVR or computer. If you want your ads to be seen more times by more people, give them what they want.

     

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      MAtt, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:55am

      Re: They are better than ever

      I noticed the same issue with the live stream crashing; Mac or PC, regardless of browser. By running Activity Monitor/TaskMan I noticed the NBC site leaked memory like each live stream was helping factor large primes. At one point I jumped from ~200-300 MB up to 1.5GB in less than 30 minutes.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Get over it

    Opening Ceremonies not live, big f'ing deal! I'm sure if I would have taken off work or stay up all night, seeing kids bounce one bed's would have made all the difference.

    Yes if NBC streamed it "I" could choose when to watch it, but isn't that a lot like Techdirt not having ads and sponsor? Then I could choose to pay for the content or not. Pure freedom.

    Beside, I kind of like having the "best" events shown in prime time. If you really have to know how an event is going live, usually there is a way to do it.

     

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    hitme, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:53am

    streaming is free

    people are talking about how to stream the olympics? i watched the opening ceremony live through expat shield in HD.. to hell with american tv channels get it straight from the bbc...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:48am

      Re: streaming is free

      from what I hear, that would have been a good option even if they had broadcasted it live. While the BBC also had people do commentary, they certainly were not completely ruining it by constantly rambling through the whole thing.

       

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        hitme, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:44am

        Re: Re: streaming is free

        you could also watch without commentary on the bbc stream too and then repeat the parts you missed...

         

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    W Klink (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Context

    Here's another example of NBC's inability to provide context: NBC skips Games opener act seen as tribute to terror victims. Explanations vary from "it wasn't about America" to "we didn't realize it was a tribute to the victims because it didn't say so explicitly in the program guide."

     

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    Benjo (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    By they time I see it

    It seems like its happened days ago. I'm just going to guess that "ratings" and other numbers relating to the Olympics are going to be very poor for the USA this year and they'll end up blaming it on piracy. I've noticed a ton of people aren't following because they have no way to watch it, and as a result of that the hype is pretty low.

    We have basic cable, which only has one channel covering the olympics, and which tends to be some event I do not want to watch. Thanks NBC

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    One of those amazing things... time delays. Most people don't want to stay home to watch the Olympics all day, so things are time delayed and played in the evening, prime time.

    It's amazing how much people can whine about incredible free TV from the other side of the world, in stunning HD to boot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Uk resident - watched openings on terstrial tv but been watching events on BBC streams, been pretty good. I hate geo locking, waste of time.

     

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    FSK, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    If you're offended by NBC's lousy coverage, there's a simple solution. Don't watch.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      That is easy.

      They complaining after that freeloaders everywhere are taking advantage of them and asking for more censorship laws and exclusivity powers is what gets me after.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    Triplecast

    I for one love the NBC Triplecast. 51 hours of swimming and diving. I bought three TVs just so I could watch all of them at once.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Smeg, am I the only one that didn't watch that crap?

    I used to like the Olympics and all the competition, it was fun but lately is so boring and all that crap about protecting the trademarks and Olympic IP just made me ignore it completely.

    Fine I will do my thing, NBC can put a lag on it all they want then claim piracy is destroying them, the Olympics can crash and burn and go after everyone for commenting or not being an smegging authorized sponsor to use their smegging symbol, I don't give a flying smeg about it, and I doubt I would care in the near future.

     

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    ike, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    CTV no better

    The commentary in the Canadian broadcast was quite lame too, and they also managed to mangle Tim Berners-Lee's introduction. The announcers claimed Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet, even though the bar on the screen correctly introduced him as the creator of the World Wide Web.

    After last week's kerfuffle, you'd think they could have gotten this right?

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:36am

      Re: CTV no better but at least live coast to coast to coast

      Outside of Sir Tim Breners-Lee CTV at least covered it live. Complete with video/audio synch!

      I learned decades ago to turn off the vapid commentary and just watch the little running bar that gave me the information I needed to watch the opening and closing ceremonies in peace. ;-)

      Incidentally all of this meaningless chatter is to avoid the ancient sin of broadcasting called "NO DEAD AIR". Which means that even if nothing is going on the hosts must always be able to say something, anything no matter how mindless because the viewers/listeners are too stupid to figure it all out on their own.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: CTV no better but at least live coast to coast to coast

        I learned decades ago to turn off the vapid commentary and just watch the little running bar that gave me the information I needed to watch the opening and closing ceremonies in peace. ;-)

        Living close to Mexico, I got the chance to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies live, with no tape delay. And the commentators weren't vapid and didn't talk over everything, and there weren't any commercials (except occasionally an "inlay" for some show coming up on the channel I was watching.) And I managed to see the entire presentation, from beginning to end (only 3 hours) which they intended.

        When the American one came on, some friends were watching it and I wasn't really paying attention since I already had seen it, but when I saw all the commercials and heard the vapid comments (we don't know who Tim Berners-Lee is, so Google it,) I was happy I watched the one I did and didn't waste time on a longer and obviously inferior product.

        I eventually saw the recorded version, and I became quite angry that the "color commentary" was feeding obvious propaganda to the viewer (they had something bad to say about just every country except the US and the US territories.) This is why I believe in free-market capitalism and why I abhor the current crony capitalism...no legal competition existed here for those who wanted to watch the Olympics without the obvious propaganda spin and poor presentation (since if there was competition, NBC would have been forced to do it better than they did, otherwise they would have risked losing customers.)

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    ctvolympics.ca carries the World Feeds

    CTV did have the Open Ceremonies live AND I love how you can get a 4-way splitscreen and select any World Feed channel of your choice to populate the quadrants. Then if you single click one, it switches the audio to that one. If you double click a quadrant, then that video goes full screen. Each one can be forwarded or reversed in time PVR style independently. Looks like I'll be watching Women's Tennis, Women's Beach Volleyball, Women's Volleyball, and the main broadcast all simultaneously.

    My VPN would let me watch NBC; but sounds like I'm not missing much.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Damn Tim!

    Next time why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel. Wow.

     

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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    You're the placekickers of "complex entertainment spectacles."

    I take exception to this statement.
    place kickers are a very specialized position in football and placekickers know exactly what they are doing and its a very difficult task with little glory and tons of stress. placekickers also know about everything else going on at the rest of the positions and are required to learn the playbook to the same depth as everyone else.

    NBC is completely overpaid for knowing nothing and massively screwing up what they do know.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Once upon a time news anchors were trustworthy, and they would explain concepts to the viewers who didn't have Google and the like. They did research, had fact checkers close at hand in case they were unaware of who someone was.

    Now we have a vacant head giggling that she has no idea who the dude on camera is, why he is being honored at the olympics, and doesn't give a shit. But I bet you the bobble head could tell you Kim Kardashians measurements without blinking.

    In a country where Jersey Shore and Teen Mom "reality" shows are huge hits one has to accept that the system is designed from beginning to end to accommodate the lowest common moron. The quality doesn't matter as long as they get paid, and having the exclusive rights means they can be complete idiots about release content. They have us (the rest of the population who aren't techies) over a barrel, they have to accept NBC spoon feeding them crap because there is no other option. There is no need for them to make it better, they have no competition.

    Crap olympics coverage bolstered by laws making sure they don't have to compete. This should be a national shame, we should have pride in our athletes... but not tape delayed and desynced across the country.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:00am

      Re:

      we should have pride in our athletes


      I know this will sound like trolling, but I don't mean it that way...

      Why should we have pride in our athletes? Whether or not a nation's team does well at the Olympics means nothing in terms of the quality or general "goodness" of the nation itself. It just means they have good athletes, nothing more and nothing less.

      I'll confess that this is an aspect of sports in general that I've never really grasped. Why does a town/college/state/whatever attach so much importance on whether their teams perform well? It's meaningless in everything except for how good the team is. It all smells like mindless tribalism to me.

       

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Why?

        Because we are all fair weather fans, and this is the pinnacle of sports. They are supposed to represent the best of the best the country has to offer to go up against athletes from other countries doped up on drugs that aren't banned yet.

        or not...

        but you would agree that given the choice between them behaving like Snooki or any olympic athlete the choice is clear which society should prefer.

        I don't think the US Team doing well makes the US look better, its gonna take a hell of alot more than some medals to improve the US's standing in the world.

        I think the olympics are mostly a complete waste, money paid to photogenic winners to promote some laundry soap or crap cereal, while others who aren't pretty or in the popular sports who medal get crap.

        Millions spent trying to woo a committee that is corrupt into allowing you the privileged of paying them a ton of money and favors to let you spend millions to host their event. You get to bow and scrape to their every whim and they reap the benefits of official sponsors paying the committee not the host city.

        But I think the kids who have worked very hard to earn their position to compete on the world stage deserve our support. I have pride that some people strive for a goal despite the odds against them. I'm a very confusing person sometimes.

        Besides got anything else the "US" has done lately we can take pride in? I'm all ears...

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          but you would agree that given the choice between them behaving like Snooki or any olympic athlete the choice is clear which society should prefer.


          That seems likely to be true. I don't really follow the Olympic athletes (obviously, I guess).

          But my wife is a big sports fan and so I do see a lot of college and professional sports -- and I have to say, the athletes competing at that level can't really claim any high ground in terms of how they behave.

           

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            That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 5:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A majority of that seems to be caused by the removal of expectations of good behavior.

            So and So is so important to our college team, we cover up the night he slept with the girl who was to drunk to say no.
            Penn State. 'nuff said on that topic.

            The olympics is doing a better job, they have ejected people who behaved poorly. They don't care, the have no tolerance for some things and take action.

            People want to look the other way and excuse things that are not ok, and if you compare some of the things they are doing to what is being glorified in stars lives its not that "bad".

            The problem is when your program became more important than the right thing, you crossed a line. When your star gets special treatment, you crossed a line.

            Winning is more important that character in so many aspects of our lives now, it would be nice to see the pendulum swing back the other way.

            Star player busted for DUI getting the same sentence as a regular joe, and the team and league taking real action about it.
            Cop who violates someones rights, actually prosecuted and the other cops who saw it testifying. Punishments fitting the crime, not days off or lost vacation days.

            Winning and ratings should not be worth more than character.
            "1 Million Moms" scream about a new television show that is going to have gay characters, where were they the last time an NFL player got his 5th DUI and drug possession charge?

            olympic athletes are supposed to be held to the highest standards, it would be nice if the rest of them could even get half way there.

             

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    Ben, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    "It's a shame that NBC has the financial ability to outbid anyone who could actually handle an Olympics broadcast competently."

    No. It's a shame that the IOC puts the broadcast rights up for bid when the Olympics should belong to all of us.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    "It's a shame that NBC has the financial ability to outbid anyone who could actually handle an Olympics broadcast competently."

    No, what's a shame is that it's even possible for anyone (or any company, regardless of competence or incompetence) to get exclusive rights over a worldwide sporting event of such significance. The Olympics used to belong to the world. Lately I couldn't possibly give a damn about the whole 'olympics' thing, and I refuse to watch any part of it, because it has turned into such commercialized crap.

     

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    ShellMG, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    The only two things I wanted to watch were the Opening Ceremonies (no dice, AND in another #NBCFail they cut "Abide With Me") and hometown girl Jordyn Wieber in women's gymnastics.

    I started looking for the women's preliminaries feed about an hour before it actually started. I hated to use NBC but that nearly screwed up too -- since I only have OTA TV and they wanted me to sign in with a service (I used Verizon since I have VZW) I could only watch with a "provisional pass" for four hours. Should watching a worldwide sporting event REALLY be this obnoxious???

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but #NBCFail has the exclusive US contract for the Olympics broadcast through 2020.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:08pm

    "But I think the kids athletes who have worked very hard to earn their position to compete on the world stage deserve our support."

    Very few of them are "kids" in any reasonable sense of the word. Otherwise, I agree completely. The athletes need to get together and go somewhere else to competewith each other, and leave the IOC and NBC empty-handed.

     

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    Bryan (profile), Aug 1st, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    NBC Coverage

    "You're the placekickers of "complex entertainment spectacles."


    This REALLY makes me think of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. . .

     

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    rkono, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:58am

    NBC spoils itself

    You'd think their "award-winning" team would have the intelligence not to air results before the games were shown. I've included this article as a reference in a blog post about Olympic sponsor fails and fixes:
    http://www.theagencysd.com/2012/08/olympic-fails-and-fixes/#

     

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