NBC Sports To Use Windows Azure Media Services

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At this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it is partnering with NBC Sports Group to use Windows Azure Media Services across NBC Sports’ digital platforms. Through the agreement, which rolls out this summer, Microsoft will provide both live-streaming and on-demand viewing services for more than 5,000 hours of games and events on devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Previously at the 2012 NAB event, Microsoft  announced its Media Services cloud platform, with a Broadcast Reference Architecture.

“Microsoft is constantly looking for innovative ways to utilize the power of the cloud, and we see Windows Azure Media Services as a high-demand offering,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “As consumer demand for viewing media online — on any available device– grows, our partnership with NBC Sports Group gives us the opportunity to provide the best of cloud technology and bring world-class sporting events to audiences when and where they want them.”

Microsoft is working with iStreamPlanet Co. and its live video workflow management product Aventus to integrate with Windows Azure Media Services, and provide a scalable, reliable, live video workflow solution. This will enable NBC Sports Group to bring its portfolio of properties to the cloud. These properties include the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, “Sunday Night Football,” Notre Dame Football, Premier League soccer, Major League Soccer, Formula One and IndyCar racing, PGA TOUR, U.S. Open golf, French Open tennis, Triple Crown horse racing, and more.

“NBC Sports Group is thrilled to be working with Microsoft,” said Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at NBC Sports Group. “More and more of our audience is viewing our programming on Internet-enabled devices, so quality of service is important. Also, our programming reaches a national audience and needs to be available under challenging network conditions. We chose Microsoft because of its reputation for delivering an end-to-end experience that allows for seamless, high-quality video for both live and video-on-demand streaming.”

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