Emerging TV Technologies On Display as the 2016 Summer Olympics Kick Off
Every four years audiences around the globe experience the thrill of watching the summer Olympics, one of the greatest sporting events in the world. As we await the start of the opening ceremony tonight, we wanted to take a peek at how the TV coverage of the event intends to use emerging technology to reach and engage audiences.
So what’s new this time around?
While the U.S. athletes will hopefully break new records this month, NBCUniversal, which will exclusively air live TV coverage of the event, will break its own when it comes to streaming. This year, the network plans to stream 4,500 hours of content of all 34 sports for pay TV subscribers via the latest TV Everywhere technology. Compare that to the 3,500 hours that were streamed at the 2012 Olympics in London, when all competition was streamed live for the first time.
“Our goal is to provide ready access to every second of every event through our digital platforms,” said Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at NBC Sport Group. Viewers won’t have to worry about missing any events as long as they have a mobile device, tablet, desktop or connected TV handy. Or if you’d rather skip right to the results, the NBC Olympics: Rio News & Results appwill feature medal standings, athlete bios and video highlights.
And on the virtual reality front, NBCUniversal will offer VR coverage of the games for the first time via Samsung Galaxy smartphones and Samsung GR VR through the NBC Sports app. The VR content will include 85 hours of VR programming, from the opening and closing ceremonies to basketball, gymnastics, diving, boxing, fencing and beach volleyball, with the goal to give viewers one of the most up close and personal Olympics experiences ever.
“Olympic fans can be transported to iconic venues such as Maracana Stadium for an unprecedented view of the Opening Ceremony, and Copacabana Beach for an immersive beach volleyball experience in the sport’s ultimate setting,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics.
Are you a Snapchat fiend? NBCUniversal and Snapchat have partnered to allow audiences to experience “live stories” from their phones. The social media mobile platform was in its first year back when the 2012 Olympics took place, but today the platform boasts over 100 million daily active users. Thousands of attendees and people will be contributing to the Snapchat-curated story on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
NBCUniversal will also offer 83 hours of Olympics coverage in 4K Ultra HD, available on a one-day delay. The 4K experience is a huge step, providing imagery with a resolution that’s four times greater than we see in HD.
Coverage this year is sure to inspire and delight audiences everywhere as the Olympics always do. But with all of the changes in media, mobile and technology over the past four years, it will be most interesting to see how the games will leverage a new generation of technology, recruit new fans, and give insight into what the future holds for live TV.