NBC goes interactive for Winter Games
Winter Olympic fans who also happen to be Time Warner Cable, Echostar or DirecTV subscribers will get more than just the usual TV offerings as both company’s will deliver interactive applications to subscribers.
Time Warner digital subscribers in Columbia, SC; Green Bay, WI; and Corpus Christi, El Paso, San Antonio and Waco, TX will be able to access “NBC Olympics Now”, an interactive TV service powered by Plano, TX-based BIAP Systems. The service will allow viewers to track the performance of the U.S. Olympics team via constantly refreshed medal counts, event telecast schedules, news and athlete bios.
Viewers will access the service by pressing “select” on their remotes while tuned to any of the NBC Universal channels that are covering the Olympics (i.e. NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, NBC HD and Universal HD): the service will then appear in three-quarter-screen format, allowing viewers to continue to watch regular linear TV while they use it.
The NBC Olympics NOW service will have four elements: Medal Tracker, Team USA Report, Athlete Bios and Program Guide. The technology is the same one that Time Warner’s Green Bay, WI division experimented with during last fall’s NFL season.
Satellite is also getting into the interactive Olympics game. Echostar subscribers will have access to an Olympic “showcase” channel divided into six windows where five of the six showcase windows will air real-time coverage from MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo and Telemundo during broadcasts. The sixth window will show NBC Network Daily Olympic highlights and a preview of the upcoming Olympic events that will be carried by the local NBC Network affiliate.
DirecTV is creating a special “Sports Mix” Interactive channel that will let Winter Olympics fans watch multiple NBC Olympics channels simultaneously on one screen as well as up-to-the-minute medal counts, the entire NBC Winter Olympics TV schedule, and more.
The Sports Mix channel (channel 104) is one of DirecTV’s “mosaic” channel that will let viewers watch up to six Olympics-related channels, including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and the USA Network, simultaneously. Viewers can then click on one of the channels to go directly to full-screen mode.