Been watching the Olympics live on line at NBCOlympics.com or in 3D? How's that been going for you?
NBC says its' live coverage Olympics site is doing gangbuster businesss, in the first week delivering 75 million video streams. But this past weekend, the system was swamped and overwhelmed, says my fellow DN columnist Howard Gensler, who posted this missive on his Facebook page:
"While NBC is showing what seems like an entire water polo match, I am trying SO hard to watch the swimming and long jump final LIVE on NBCOlympics.com. It's impossible. Ten men have jumped and I haven't seen one of them because the picture is constantly buffering. I've been looking at a still shot of Russian's Aleksandr Menkov waiting to jump for more than 45 seconds. By the time the picture comes back I've missed Menkov and an American and now some British guy is jumping. If only my Internet provider had a financial interest in the success of NBC's coverage and the NBCOlympics.com web site. If only my Internet provider was Comcast. Oh, wait, it is. And if only I'd upgraded to their top of the line digital service. Oh wait, I have. A completely frustrating, unwatchable product."
Adding insult to injury, Howard told me that the commercials (of which there are many) stream PERFECTLY.
On the 3D TV side of things (my passion), I love the low keyed, more thoughtful British play-by-play commentary that goes with the high tech treatment (NBC merely slaps on its floating logo, sells ads and allows Bob Costas to make uniformed, stupid 3D introductions.) And for certain, the added depth dimension of the stereoscopic feed has really enlivened events like the opening ceremonies, track and field and canoeing. The 3D commercials look great, too - especially for upcoming theatrical releases like "Hotel Transylvania" and "Frankenweenie" (there's a theme there) and coming soon home releases of "The Avengers" and "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," - the latter also spotlighted with a cute animation running across your 3D TV screen.
But a lot of the events listed for the day-delayed, four-five hour blocks of 3D Olympics (I'm watching on DirecTV) fail to materialize. Particularly annoying have been no-shows of diving and gymnastics, making me suspect there were serious technical glitches (say with Panasonic's "waterproof" diving 3D camera) or that the director and camera men just couldn't get their act together. Proper shooting in 3D, preventing the viewer woozies, ain't easy.