Arman's stuff
Watching The Olympics, Or, I Really Dislike Big Media

(Fri Apr 20 15:20:25 2012)

Why isn't there a way to stream the Olympics?

Here's my problem. I want to watch the Olympics this summer - who doesn't, right? - but I don't have a television. That's not usually a problem; if I want to watch a show, I can usually catch it on Hulu, or even the website of the various content providers. Even if it's not available there, I can usually watch it on Netflix, or on Amazon Prime, or on Hulu Plus, or... you get the idea. I could even pay an exorbitant fee and purchase it from the likes of Google Video, iTunes, or Amazon. More than I want to pay, but it's there.

Only, we're talking about the Olympics. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, even iTunes won't carry it. I can't log in to the official website, because there is no way to pay them to let me watch; the only way in is to already be paying for cable, satellite, digital TV, or the like. And if I'm paying for cable, then why would I worry about streaming it from a website? I cut ties with the cable company for a reason - I can't afford to spend upwards of $50 a month just to watch TV. It would be cheaper to buy all my shows on iTunes! C'mon, people!

I may, possibly, be able to invest in a digital TV card, hook up an antenna, and watch TV over the air - assuming I can read the signal provided, of course. And that's a $150 investment, at a minimum, and not guaranteed to work well, if at all. The upside of course is that I would then have an input for an XBox, a Wii, a DVD player... but that would assume that I even had one of those. Which I don't. So not much of an upside, eh?

Which leads me to one final method: piracy. Every year, countless streaming sites pirate the video feed and offer a low-quality stream. Sure, they get shut down, but they reopen just as fast - if you can find them. Assuming I don't want to sign up for expensive video (that I don't want) or purchase an also-expensive card (that I may never use again), that is the only way for me to get Olympic coverage. And frankly, as bad as those feeds are, they're not even worth stealing.

So why can't I buy it from the site? I know that there are quite a lot of people would would willingly pay quite a bit of money to have full, unfettered access to a bunch of streaming video of each event. No commercials would even get you people from cable, dish, etc. paying money. Now, granted, I don't know what it takes to run something like that. It would be hard to do; you'd need backup servers all over the world. But then again... Netflix does it. Not live video, to be sure, but for a grainy HD feed, it doesn't need to be that impressive. the best part is that the servers don't even have to be up 24x7; they only need to be on while the Olympics are actually running, which means you'll get quite a lot of time for maintenance - something most video sites don't have the luxury to do. So, charge something small, like $20, let anyone who wants see it - or heck, even just the US - and you'll have it made. People will fight to give you money. I would even pay for it, and that's saying something.

Meanwhile... I'm probably going to end up getting an HD card for the computer. I suppose I could use it... eventually. But I shouldn't have to; this is 2012! We've been able to stream content on the web for over a decade. The technology is there, the hardware is there, the money is there... but the media companies see it as a threat. As well they should, I suppose; but it doesn't have to be. It wouldn't be hard to convert to digital-only, and if even one company could make the jump, they would get a landslide of support.

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This blag is tagged: Cable, Media, Olympics, Satellite, Tv, All