back to article BBC gives itself a gold in 700Gbit-a-second Olympic vid sprint

Almost three million people watched the Olympics on a mobile phone while half a million ogled and fondled their slabs on Sunday, 5 August - the day Andrew Murray won gold, Usain Bolt ran 100m in 9.63 seconds and the BBC recorded peak video streaming to handheld gadgets. Overall, 51.9 million people watched Olympic broadcasts …

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  1. ukgnome Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Too right

    They should be proud, it was an excellent event and an awesome use of available technology.

    I do wonder how much of the traffic left the UK as internet chatter suggests that a lot of people used VPN to access UK only content.

    1. Dave Perry

      Re: Too right

      You either say that the people watching broke the law, or the IOC will say, to the next provider, you need to make a reasonable effort to block VPN services. And I've not tried doing it myself to know how hard or easy that is.

      1. Alistair MacRae

        Re: Too right

        It's pretty easy process.

        There's lots of sites on Google with VPN usernames and passwords that change every 12 hours for connection to the UK. You just go on their website and see what it is.

        I tried one when I was in holiday in Prague a few months ago.

        It took maybe 2 minutes to set up on the iPad and then I was on the iplayer watching Dan in real life.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too right

          I know when I'm visiting a foreign city steeped in culture the thing I like to do most is stay in my hotel room watching mediocre BBC sitcoms.

    2. David Cantrell

      Re: Too right

      Lots of chatter amongst geeks, but they're a tiny proportion of the population, and most of it would have been just that - chatter, with no follow-through.

    3. Efros

      Re: Too right

      VPN is old hat there's easier stuff around, check out SmartDNS

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        Re: Too right

        @Efros - agreed, SmartDNS is particularly handy, that's why I have a USA netflix account. just that most of the #NBCfail twitter traffic had links to VPN proxies

        Also, I am not saying that this is legal or illegal, just a very clever use of technology - eventually even NBC opened up the live feeds (without commentary) from their pay sites to try and claw back a bit of advertising revenue.

  2. spiny norman
    FAIL

    Freeview?

    On Freeview the red button only provides an alternative way of switching between the 3 main channels, plus some text news options, so it's really very little use. If you want the full service, you have to subscribe to Sky or a cable provider. I can't see why the BBC would want to send its customers to one of its rivals, but I suppose we have to pay the license fee anyway, so they're not bothered.

    So as far as I was concerned, they got a bronze at best.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Freeview?

      Well firstly you're just plain wrong - Freesat had all 24 SD/HD extra channels and that is a free service like FreeView... it was wonderful.

      Secondly, red-button on FreeView does NOT only show content from the existing channels. I don't know what they did at the Olympics but previously they have used it to show F1 practice, alternative tennis matches at Wimbledon and visualised radio shows - for instance when Moyles did the 52-hour show the whole thing was live video on the red button.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Freeview?

        "Secondly, red-button on FreeView does NOT only show content from the existing channels. I don't know what they did at the Olympics but previously they have used it to show F1 practice, alternative tennis matches at Wimbledon ..."

        Yes and no ... red button shows this extra coverage via use of some extra channels in the 30x area which the BBC use for red button material. I think unusually during the Olympics they treated 301 as an actual channel and may have issued schedules for it but normally they don't (though I think they used to have a "ceefax" page that gave details of extra sporting coverage on "red button")

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Freeview?

        Since Freesat is a one-way *broadcast* system, how did they measure the numbers of people who were connected to the red button streams? Is this just a "sample 1000 viewers and extrapolate" result?

    2. Fuzz

      Re: Freeview?

      The satellite streams were available on freesat including all 24 HD streams. I agree the options on freeview were somewhat limited but that is the fault of the platform.

      I guess they could have put in some IPTV channels for those people with compatible freeview HD setups.

    3. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Freeview?

      Whilst you're wrong, you're in company. Very many of my friends didn't realise that there were 24 full channels, between them covering every single event.

      [A lot less fuss was made of this than the digital switchover - that had the stupidity of a multi-million pound campaign on almost endless repeat, with posters everywhere, when a quite superimposed graphic on the corner of each analogue channel would have done nicely. In any case, you notice when a telly goes blank - it's not quite so obvious when more channels crop up.]

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Freeview?

        *'quiet.

        Edit button, guys? Even Farcebook has one.

  3. John Robson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Freeview has limited bandwidth - you can't push everything over it!

    I'm just hoping they maintain the same level of coverage for the Paralymics.

    I had only two comments for them:

    - They failed to use a "replay" indicator

    - They left venues broadcasting empty - why not show highlights or previous events for most of the time?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ch 4

      Sadly ch4 have the Paralympics, so they'll probably turn it into a reality tv freakshow like everything else they do. Pretty disgraceful that they got it, especially considering they defend comments like the "jokes" Frankie Boyle made about Katie Price's disabled son (amongst others).

      1. Callam McMillan

        Re: ch 4

        I'm actually really glad Channel 4 have got the olympics. That way, if (read: when) they make a massive cockup of it, like sticking an advert in at the most inopportune moment etc etc then everybody will realise the value that the BBC brings to television and perhaps this inane debate about the license fee will go away?

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: ch 4

        Channel 4 has a good track record of their documentaries about the disabled (and anyone challenging the limits of humanity), which feed directly into their "meet the super humans" shows about paralympian athletes. Maybe if you watched them rather than make blanket accusations because C4 invented Big Brother you'd know these things.

        1. Dave Perry
          Stop

          Re: ch 4

          And wasn't it Endemol who invented/own the rights to BB anyway? Mind you they also did Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the format of which was devised on the back of a napkin and the game tried out by an exec over dinner / a drink iirc

        2. hodgy

          Re: ch 4

          good point, although i think it was the dutch that invented big brother?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ch 4

          I have watched ch4 documentaries and still try from time to tine, but in my opinion they always manage to make them a freakshow, rather than dealing sensitively with subjects. Just because you are watching something that calls itself a documentary, and maybe are learning something, doesn't mean it's not lowest common denominator trash. The days of dispatches and equinox are sadly long gone.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ch 4

        "Sadly ch4 have the Paralympics, so they'll probably turn it into a reality tv freakshow like everything else they do."

        Well, they've got Claire Balding as the main presenter (she's moving to C4 to be the presenter on their racing coverage from next year) so I think that is positive in terms of the way it will be portrayed as serious sports.

      4. Skyraker
        Go

        Re: ch 4

        Boyle said: "Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey - eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him."

        He went on to say: "I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage fighter - she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from f**king her."

        Cracking joke, whats wrong with that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ch 4

          @Skyraker:

          1) It's not funny

          2) He is suggesting that disabled people and crucially one specific disabled person are so worthless even their parents don't want to look after them.

          3) He goes on to suggest that disabled people are a so likely to rape that even a mother needs protection from her own son.

          He is a disgusting, odious individual, his jokes are targeted at minorities and often specific individuals in said minority. Some people may well think he's funny, but then again lots of people thought Bernard Manning was funny, someone who Boyle holds a lot in common with.

          1. Marty
            Facepalm

            Re: ch 4

            "1) It's not funny"

            the think is a lot of the so called comedians steal the jokes from sickapedia and post them on twatter or on whichever channel 4/5 show they are on....

            in the right environment, to the right audience everything said in jest is indeed a joke. just because you may not find it funny does not mean it is not funny. in my opinion, i don’t like it when jokes like those have personal attachment to it, but It dont think its my place tell people its wrong... comedians I don’t like or do not find funny I don’t watch... there are hundreds of other channels on tv to watch.

            dont let it get back to how it was in the late 70's 80's when mary whitehouse and clan were objecting and complaining about stuff just because they heard it was in their opinion "poor taste", you know, like the daily fail brigade who complain about an advert because someone the majority of the nation is sick of seeing in adverts gets blown up with a comedy rocket launcher, or the end of a 40 year old film has to altered because ONE person complained Q

            A famous comedian that a lot of people find offensive once said something that has stuck with me ever since because never a truer word had been said,. He said that someone somewhere is always the butt of the joke,, somebody is going to be offended. you need to treat those jokes you find offensive as a tax against the ones you do find funny.

            but the fact remains, a joke is only funny if it is told in the right environment....

            1. John G Imrie Silver badge

              Reminds me of all the furore over Jerry Springer the Opera

              I watched it, at what got me was not that it was offensive, but that it was not offensive enough.

              Bring back the meaning of life all is forgiven.

              *If you found anything in this post offensive then my I respectively say:

              FUCK OFF ASS HOLE!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ch 4

              Personally, I think people should object to things that we find in poor taste, and let's be honest calling disabled people potential rapists, because they're disabled goes way beyond poor taste.

              I don't really care that much if people do or don't agree with me, but I will continue to point out this sort of obnoxious filth and say that it's not ok. We all have the freedom to say what we want (with consequences) but we should all remember that we also have the freedom to not say anything. The freedom for a comedian to be offensive is the same as the freedom for others to say that they have gone too far.

              I can't say that I agree with much, if anything that Mary Whitehouse said, but I do admire her for actually standing up for what she believed in, rather than just sitting at home doing nothing.

      5. LinkOfHyrule

        turn it into a reality tv freakshow like everything else they do

        Disability is something very close to my heart. Off topic a little but, Ch4 had recently this lovely documentary about disabled people going on dates - I thought it was great.... However, the name that was given to this show and the way it as marketed was absolutely abhorrent- it was called "The Undateables".

        Not only was the name of the show stupid because the people clearly were datable (all the show consisted off was these supposed undatables going on actual dates), but it was bloody offensive too!

        I am able bodied and have been on dates with a disabled person and ended up getting engaged - call my partner undatable again and I will bloody twat you one! Pricks! You used to be the best TV channel possibly in the world, you're now worst than Living TV or even channel 5!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: turn it into a reality tv freakshow like everything else they do

          @Linkofhyrule - That's exactly what I'm talking about - My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding was another example, portrayed as a genuine doco about a minority, actually ended up with many of the minority complaining about it not representing them at all. Instead the doco focusing on making them look like freaks because they have a different culture to most other people, or just outright presenting them all as hard boozing, fighting misogynists.

        2. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Re: The Undatables

          As one TV critic said of the program. People tune in for all the wrong reasons and stay for all the right one's

      6. Paratrooping Parrot
        Facepalm

        Re: ch 4

        Three words.

        Jessica Ennis Goodnight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5RCgXqoyLc

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "- They left venues broadcasting empty - why not show highlights or previous events for most of the time?"

      All the extra channels were taking the OBS (Olympic Broadcast Service - the people who actually were doing the coverage at the Olympics - the BBC were just packaging their pictures and adding commentary) feeds direct with no added BBC content - I assume it would have added greatly to the costs if you had to effectively have teams managing an extra 10-20 channels + for me it was much better knowing on those channels you were going to see the action (or perhaps lack of action) and not suddenly cut to a "recap of all the medals wev'e won today"/"inspiring story of how xxxx overcame lots of obstacles ot become an Olympic athlete"/"trailer for Eastenders".

      1. Simon 4

        Camera angles and sound

        The camera work at the opening ceremony and the sound at the closing ceremony were both diabolical.

        Not only did they not have any camera angles that actually showed you what was going on, the director was great at cutting to something rubbish just when they DID get a shot right.

        I think the sound desk at the closing ceremony was being run by a student. I've had better at university.

        Poor show from OBS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Camera angles and sound

          As an Underworld fan, I actually thought the sound mixing of the opening ceremony wasn't great - in fact, it sounded better when one of the commentators had activated their microphone about to say something.

          Unfortunately that brief second of sound clarity was then followed by Hugh Edwards or Trevor Nelson making a tedious observation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant Coverage

    I also thought the BBC did an outstanding job of not only providing the ability to consume the content in a number of ways and providing the interviewers, graphics, web content and much much more but also when looking at how large a project this really is to manage, they stepped up and delivered when it counted. We really could use the BBC Olympic management team as a model for sucess in many walks of life.

    I have no complaints about my licence fee, I think we get a very good deal - its the best content broadcaster in the World by a long way!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brilliant Coverage

      As has been pointed out, the BBC did none of the filming of the actual events, they took the feeds and distributed them. I do agree that they provided excellent access to those feeds, web/tv etc. The actual BBC part, the gushing presenters and inane questions to athletes etc, was typical biased BBC drivel.

      1. Stratman

        Re: Brilliant Coverage

        The BBC, on behalf of OBS, were responsible for the boxing, equestrian and tennis (I know, I was one of them).

      2. the-it-slayer
        Happy

        Re: Brilliant Coverage

        Wrong. BBC had their own cameras out and about (at most of the larger arenas, with presenters, OB crew) and even had a base station at the park! You couldn't of just plonked the OBS feeds directly on BBC One/Three/HD. There would of been teams capturing the OBS feeds to re-edit and then plaster their own graphics and commentary over the top. Typical anti-BBC drivel there from anon@11:51.

        On the subject of the online feeds, they were amazing. Hardly any buffering, the BBC site held its own and there was always a clear schedule taking you to the correct feed. Worth £5.50 of the license fee to produce along with the TV coverage.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    What?

    Olympics, when was that, have I missed something important? Thought not.

    1. Skyraker

      Re: What?

      I suspect you are a dirty Frenchman.... nose out of joint sir?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What?

        Ooh, look, Skyraker, the person who defends Frankie Boyle's jokes about the disabled also thinks it's ok to use the the expression "dirty Frenchman".

        You need to adjust your world-view sunshine it's not the 70s any more.

        1. LinkOfHyrule
          Happy

          Re: What?

          Hey anon coward, dont be harsh on him, he's probably got a disability called Bernard Manning syndrome - he cant help saying stupid outdated shit.

        2. Skyraker
          FAIL

          Re: What?

          It might be 1974 in my head but the French did

          a) State (by the president no less) that we were rolling out the carpet for French medals

          b) When they preceded to win next to fuck all point the finger at Team GB for cheating with their cycling equipment, leading to a brilliant wind up merchant (from the UK) to phone in and explain that it was because Team GB wheels were specially designed to be more 'round'. This was then taken as final proof by the French that we were indeed cheating.

          http://www.france24.com/en/20120809-france-britain-uk-david-cameron-french-defeat-cycling-olympic-games

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What?

            The French thought they were going to do well, but didn't. So?

            Someone in the French team/involved with the French team mouthed off when the lost at their national sport, again, so what? This sort of thing happens when you've been training for years and years, you mouth off before thinking, every nation does it. Then you go on about how someone fell for a wind up, of course, no English would do that, oh hang on, they do all the time, look at everything from Beadle's about to Brass Eye.

            None of this excuses your using the expression "dirty French". Try putting a African country after the word "dirty" and see how it sounds then. It is not acceptable.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What?

              what about "Surrender Monkeys"? are we allowed to use that to describe the French?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What?

                Clearly "Surrender monkeys" is a joke, it's obviously a joke as the French have some of the most hard-assed military in the world.

                1. Paul M 1

                  Re: What?

                  Sorry but I'm a bit confused now. Are you saying that calling the French dirty is not "clearly a joke" - presumably on the basis that you think they are dirty?

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: What?

                  what's the difference between a slice of bread and the french?

                  You can make soldiers out of the bread.

            2. Skyraker

              Re: What?

              Dirty Mugabe.

              Yep, i'm happy with that.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What?

                @Skyraker - I'm not sure if you're aware, but Mugabe is a person, not a country.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What?

            And better yet, those extra-round wheels are manufactured ... in France :)

          3. Enrico Vanni
            FAIL

            Re: What?

            ...and the ironic thing was that the bike wheels for Team GB were provided by French company Mavic! Maybe they shipped the cheaty ones to the wrong team?

            1. LinkOfHyrule
              Joke

              Re: What?

              I think you are all seriously missing the point here - were these French wheels clean or dirty!?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What?

      IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW HOW LITTLE I CARE ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE AND CURRENT EVENTS.

  6. Alan 6

    Gotta say Auntie did us proud with her coverage of the Olympics. Such a shame they kept the Parliament channel empty when they could have use that bandwidth to give us an extra option.

    Anyway, lets see how all the T4 presenters handle the Paralympics, based on their appalling coverage of the World Athletics last year it should be worth a laugh at least

    1. Hyphen

      They did... it was 302. You would have had to re-scan for it, and it was only showing events sporadically (I'd them have rather kept it on constantly) but still.

    2. Piers Wombwell

      They used the Parliament channel bandwidth. BBC3 was using its bandwidth during the day (BBC 3 and 4, are usually closed as they share bandwidth with CBeebies/CBBC).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    BBC

    I looked on with utter jealousy at the services the BBC provided in the UK over the Olympics. Here in Spain we have NO red button service whatsoever, and although TVE was the official Olympic broadcaster, basically we got very little. TVE-HD showed events, as did the SD channel TDP. However, rather than make the most of the space, often both channels showed the same thing. TVE1 ran highlights shows. It was piss poor, and I was insanely jealous of what the BBC offered.

    I understand NBC in the USA showed it all delayed, so they could make the most of advertising, and cut out chunks of stuff as it wasn't relevent to the USA audience (in their minds).

    For £6.38, you got complete coverage, on TV, on the Web, and on Radio. That to me seems a fair deal really, and from where I'm sitting I've have paid that nin a second for coverage like that. You could have probably got it for a bit less if you'd not paid for Trevor Nelson, Huw Edwards and that other one to natter inane comments over the opening ceremony though... I think well done BBC though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: NBC (U.S.)

      Yeah, they tape delayed most of the events...and inserted ads for their next-morning talk show by stating "Join us on the Today show tomorrow morning when we'll be joined by the winner of [insert event that they're going to show in 30 seconds]" which totally blew the suspense.

      Hopefully someone, and their boss(es) no longer work for NBC.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      Don't be jealous, when the olympics in Rio come round, as with previous events, ie not in the UK, then the coverage will be equally sporadic from the BBC. They are basically a government propaganda tool who had to deliver blanket coverage that repeated a million times a day how amazing the GB athletes were and heaven forbid if you suggested otherwise. I felt sorry for some of the non UK commentators they had on who were made to site though all the biased rubbish that was being spouted. Pretty much on par with the Beijing propaganda machine as far as im concerned. Fortunately I was still able to access international news sites for some fair and balanced reporting, how long the UK will allow such freedoms is very much in doubt..

      1. kyza

        Re: BBC

        Which unbiased international news sites would they be then?

        All new channels are biased you muppet.

        I suggest you look up the propaganda model of media content production.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Indeed they are, but if you expand your horizons and source multiple points of view then you are able to get and better understanding of different perceptions to news and then form your own opinion.

          Much better than blindly doing what the BBC or anyone else for that matter tell you, no?

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        Fscking God Almighty...

        ...what has the world come to when it is such a terrible thing for the BRITISH broadcaster to gush over BRITISH winners? Do you really think the French, the Japanese, the Saudis... had to put up with Hew and co's blathering? Do you not suppose they had their own video inserts gushing about their own athletes? It might have been a bit more biased in the video inserts in the closing ceremony, but then, Britain was the host country - or maybe next you'll be upset that they didn't have anybody singing in Russian and how terribly English it all was... <sigh>

      3. JDX Gold badge

        Re: BBC

        I seem to remember pretty decent coverage 4 years ago - the main BBC coverage was similar to this time around.

  8. roblightbody
    Thumb Up

    Massively supportive of the BBC and the license Fee

    I'm massively supportive of the BBC and the license Fee and so is absolutely everybody I know. They are one of the very best things about Britain, that we often don't appreciate fully because we take it for granted. Try living abroad for a while, and suddenly you'll stop taking the BBC for granted.

    1. Andy Lawton
      Thumb Up

      Re: Massively supportive of the BBC and the license Fee

      I completely agree. I have lived and worked all over the place, and there is nothing to compare with the quality of the BBC. I can't believe all the complaints I read about the license fee. You'll not get anything as good for the price. £12 quid a month for all the TV and radio channels, plus all the on line stuff, plus the global reach of the BBC brand, which gives us worldwide visibility that other countries would love to have. A bargain.

    2. malcolmus_rex
      Thumb Up

      Re: Massively supportive of the BBC and the license Fee

      "Try living abroad for a while, and suddenly you'll stop taking the BBC for granted."

      I couldn't agree with you more - living in the USA for a year was a real eye opener regarding the quality and value for money of the BBC. The mere fact that it exists means that that the commercial broadcasters can't sink as low as theyd like too in terms of program quality and news reporting. This benefits everyone who lives in the UK, and I think it's the real reason that Murdoch/Sky hates the BBC so much.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Massively supportive of the BBC and the license Fee

      "Try living abroad for a while, and suddenly you'll stop taking the BBC for granted."

      Or to get the full effect, try livining it the US while the Olympics are in Atlanta! Even then it was still tape-delay at prime time (actually quite useful for the night when I heard on radio news on way home that all the US women gymnasts had spent the afternoon falling off equipment instead of winning the expected gold medals - that nights TV coverage was quite amusing as US commentators had to explain that away).

      However, in NBCs coverage of Atlanta Olympics there was one small region of sanity - track cyling where the commentator was Phil Liggett ... and he was a man not afraid to say things like "I don't think the American stands much of a chance in this heat - the German is far too strong for him"!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Liggett

        While I agree that Liggett is a very good commentator he does suck up to the man with the cheque book. He was working for the Olympic broadcaster in Aus (I can't even bear to type their name) and in GB vs Aus cycling events he said things like "Let's hope it's a gold for Aus".

        The best neutral commentary money can buy.

  9. Magister

    Excellent coverage

    I have to say that I thought they did a pretty good job overall. Yes, Gary Lineker was bit out of his depth at times and some of the other commentators didn't always seem to be fully prepared, but I think that was more due to issues with getting hard information about what was happening; not down to the Beeb, but to the onsite games management.

    I thought coverage was generally excellent; and I really hope that they will continue to cover some of these other sports as it seems that there is an appetite for them amongst the general public. Unfortunately, I suspect that we will be back to a non-stop diet of football (or more accurately, talking heads discussing football).

    I've had some discussions with people in Canada & USA; and they have highlighted just how poor their local coverage was (in particular NBC in the south western states which seems to have really pissed people off) and how envious they are at what they see as a much better service in almost every aspect.

  10. Only me!
    Megaphone

    Coverage good....web catch up service could do better

    The coverage was fab providing you watched it LIVE. The problem with the catchup service on the website was as you clicked through it told you the results of the sport on the same page as it had the link to watch the catchup. So a couple of times I went to watch something as if it was live (work does get in the way sometimes) and was greeted with the result before I could get to the catchup. May be one page with all the catchup stuff on (not show results) would be nice.

    ITV do the same thing a lot of the time on their catchup service.....went to watch the tour highlights and the picture on the link showed the days winner crossing the line....it takes a lot of enjoyment out of then watching an hour long programme!

    Come on it is not rocket science!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coverage good....web catch up service could do better

      "was greeted with the result before I could get to the catchup"

      Not a problem I hit. The navigation was a little hit and miss in places but once I'd stated navigating via the 'schedule' it got a lot easier. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/2012/schedule-results

      So long as you click on 'catch up' and not the individual event you're not told the results.

      All this stuff is staying up until January as well - fantastic service. The on-demand really came into its own in the last couple of weeks.

  11. Philip Birch

    Good job

    The coverage on Freesat was excellent. I was a bit surprised to find it on freesat since all the publicity I saw only mentioned Sky. It seemed an opportunity to plug a free to air platform was missed.

    1. deshepherd

      Re: Good job

      All the 24 OBS feed channels were on VirginMedia as well

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good job

        "All the 24 OBS feed channels were on VirginMedia as well"

        for those who wished to watch them through what looks like frosted bathroom window glass, and didn't mind their box freezing during an event.

        I know people on VM who gave up and set up a freeview aerial.

        1. Mike Flex

          Re: Good job

          ' "All the 24 OBS feed channels were on VirginMedia as well"

          for those who wished to watch them through what looks like frosted bathroom window glass, and didn't mind their box freezing during an event.'

          Fine here so these problems didn't affect all VM customers.

  12. Tim Brown 1
    WTF?

    just satellite please, not Sky's satellite

    This article makes a common and annoying mistake in referring to "Sky's satellite platform" The satellites belong to Astra and Eutelsat and Sky just rents transponder space on them, as does the BBC and other broadcasters.

    For the Olympics the BBC took an extra 48 frequencies (24 channels in both SD and HD). It is true that Sky had to release some of the space normally allocated to them to allow this to happen, however the extra channels were NOT in any way part of Sky's commercial packages. They could be received by Freesat and Sky boxes (or indeed any suitable satellite receiver).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just satellite please, not Sky's satellite

      I agree with you. However the BBC would have had to rent EPG space from Sky, or at least negotiate for the channels to be added for free for the two week period, which is what I read when i see 'sky's satellite service' mentioned. Having channels broadcast by satellite is useless unless you have a service to receive said broadcasts. Also in no way was it implied, in this article or anywhere else that the channels showing the coverage were part of a package. Sky themselves specifically advertised them as being free to all with a sky box whether a paying customer or not.

      Its very much about the platform that provides access to the feeds, the customer facing service. Nobody cares who owns the satellites and if you said, 'you can get the channels from Astra and Eutelsat', the vast, vast majority wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about.

      The article clearly mentions availability on Freesat as well, should they have referred to the satellites instead?

      1. Tim Brown 1

        Re: just satellite please, not Sky's satellite

        I'm not privvy to any commercial arrangement between Sky and the BBC over the epg, but it would seem to me that Sky would be shooting themselves in the foot as far as customer relations go if they had not put the channels on the epg, so I can't imagine much more than a nominal sum if anything was involved. In any case the channels could be accessed via the red button without using the epg.

        And the article does NOT mention Freesat at all, only Freeview, which was really my point. By saying "Sky's satellite platform" there's an implication that you have to have a Sky package and that was not the case. Of course it's not about telling people it's on Astra, but if it's a freely available service then just "satellite" will be good enough, or "Freesat and Sky" if you must.

  13. Matt 21

    Covergae was OK

    but I couldn't see anything exceptional about it (apart from the lack of ads). The extra channels were very good but if you didn't have access to them the coverage could be a bit disjointed as they either flicked around a lot or spent a lot of time on build ups to events while ignoring others.

    I also can't help but feel that it is unlikely that more than 90% of the population watched the Olympics. I suspect this to be an anomaly of the system they use to guess viewing figures.

    I did watch some of it from abroad and I can't say the coverage was much different, apart from being biased towards events where that country felt it would do well!

    I'm all in favour of the TV license but this was a fairly easy win for the BBC.

  14. Naich

    License fee

    "...opposition to the licence fee seems ever increasing..."

    Does it? The main place I've seen opposition to it is inside the Murdoch papers, and that's not surprising really, is it?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: License fee

      I thought that statement was a bit odd too.

      There is more opposition to the Beeb than just Murdoch though. The right wing of the Conservatives haven't been keen on the BBC since at least the 80s. Also the Telegraph and Mail aren't exactly fans either (in their case probably for the same self-interested reasons as Murdoch), plus the Mail doesn't like anything that's fun and the Telegraph has become the mouthpiece of the Tory Right, rather than conservative retired colonels in Old Buffershire.

      Hence the government put a medium axe to the license fee. With making the Beeb pay for the World Service and S4C, plus going without inflationary increases that amounts to cuts of about a quarter by the end of the current license fee settlement.

      Perhaps this getting by without public notice has fooled the right into thinking it could axe the BBC, or radically change it? I doubt Cameron is that stupid though. Some complicated cuts, amongst many others that the Beeb didn't really fight were easy. Any serious danger to the BBC would go down like a lead balloon. And of course the BBC would be there to report it, in glorious technicolour. They do like a nice juicy media story, and even more if it's about themselves...

      I think the BBC Trust's regular polling shows consistently high support for it. And they'd get awfully worried if that changed. Look at the fuss from axing 6 Music, and no-one listens to that. Try axing Radio 4 and the WI would march on Downing Street. And look what they did to Tony Blair over just one speech...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: License fee

        Try axing Radio 4 and I would take unpaid leave and march on Downing Street.

        What is crucial is that Jeremy Hunt, who will claim the credit for a pretty well run games, is in a love-in with Murdoch. He should have been sacked for his handling of the BSkyB takeover. He went to the same university as the Prime Minister (at the same time no less), as the Chancellor, as the Secretary of State for the Home Department, as the Secretary of State for Defence, as the Secretary of State for Education... it's one big club and if you are a member of the Oxford set you can get away with anything you like. Clegg graduated from Cambridge so he should watch out.

  15. Efros

    NBC Olympic coverage

    Sucked the big one.

    Cut out a large chunk of the opening ceremony which was tape delayed, including the tribute to the victims of terrorism, to talk to Michael Phelps. They even bleeped out Eric in the closing ceremony, 'Lif'e's a piece of BLEEP, when you look at it."

    1. handle

      Re: NBC Olympic coverage

      I'm surprised to hear they played any of Eric Idle's song, given all the foaming-at-the-mouth xtian extremism there is in the US.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NBC Olympic coverage

      Yes, but BLEEP is an officially banned word on US broadcast TV. When I was there 10-15 years ago there was a big fuss when St Elsewhere (doubtless to gain publicity) included the phrase "the shit is going to hit the fan" in one episode and that resulted in big fines, public apoligies and undertakings from producers that they would never do anything like that again.

  16. themodeller
    Thumb Up

    3D broadcast

    Watched the closing ceremony in 3D and thought it was fantastic. OK, the commentary wasn't great and you got the impression that the 2D cameras had first priority .. but I really felt we had a window into the stadium. More please!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "peddling"

    Bradley Wiggins is a cyclist, not a pedlar.

    The things you push with your feet are called PEDALS.

    Idiot.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Headmaster

      Re: "peddling"

      Good point, aggressively made... But then, proofreading was never high on El Reg's agenda.

      Now, will ALL comment[er|tard]s PLEASE stop writing [would | could | might] of <past participle> when those past tenses are formed with have.

      Thank you.

      1. Lockwood
        Trollface

        Re: "peddling"

        I was going too say that myself.

  18. Lockwood

    Assuming a floppy is 1.4MB, and weighs 20g...

    The BBC shifted 1.25t per second at its peak.

    2.3PB would weigh 32,900t

    1. Efros

      First Class mail

      £57,575,003.3 if shifted in one large parcel. Or £987,000,000 not including packing for individual letters.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: First Class mail

        I salute (and upvote) you both for that very useful information. But what, pray, is that in Olympic sized swimming trunks?

        1. Efros
          Happy

          Re: First Class mail

          Depends on the size of budgie one is smuggling I would presume!

    2. handle

      Floppy disks?

      Pah! Units for wimps!

      How about 2708 EPROMS? Each holds 1kiB, so you'd only need about 2 528 876 743 885 of them. They weigh 4g (apparently - I have a feeling they're quite a bit heavier than that). So that's a mere 10 million tonnes.

      Oh, and if you wanted to use them again afterwards, you'd have to erase them, for which you'd need to find a sunny field of 600 sq km to lay them out in.

      Next: core stores.

      1. Lockwood

        Re: Floppy disks?

        And to use the correct values now?

        2.8PB -> 40 000t

  19. Turk3y
    Thumb Down

    Freeview

    Being that they turned off all analog channels to free up space how is it they only managed to squeeze a single extra channel in, which I am not sure is even an extra its just it was not named in the EPG.

    Pretty pish poor I feel, should Freeview be that nobbled then they should have been promoting Freesat over Freeview for the change over as it seems Freeview is not up to standard already.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Freeview

      Shock horror!!!! Freeview is not up to a once in 50 year event! It's only able to be adequate under those circumstances, rather than super-awesome. We must dump it immediately for it's crapness!!!!!!

    2. handle
      Facepalm

      Re: Freeview

      Freeview doesn't require a satellite dish to be bolted to your dwelling, or a subscription to a cable provider. In fact, in most cases you can just use the same aerial you used for analogue TV for decades. Believe it or not, this is a major advantage for millions of licence fee-payers outside tech-head land. There is already some very clever technology (some of it developed by the BBC) to allow as much as possible to be squeezed into the limited bandwidth available, and you might recall if you think hard enough that before Freeview there were only five terrestrial channels.

      1. Wibble
        Windows

        Re: Freeview

        There's a lot less shite on Freeview than Freesat. And you don't need to nail a pleb dish to the side of one's dwelling.

        For the first time ever I would have liked to have had access to all 24 BBC channels, but it's all over now and I haven't enough time to watch Freeview let alone 200+ channels of complete shite on Sky, not to mention paying Murdock hundreds and hundreds of quid for the displeasure.

        The BBC should have been mentioned in the opening ceremony. One of the UK's greatest achievements.

        BTW why "Team GB and Northern Ireland"? Why not Team UK?

        1. alcockell

          Re: Freeview

          Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/olympics - they have all the footage available until Jan 13 2013.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Freeview

      "Being that they turned off all analog (sic) channels to free up space"

      I could have sworn that when I accidentally switched my TV to analogue before hitting hdmi, that it was still broadcasting in the UTV region. Can anyone from Tyne Tees confirm this too?

      1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Freeview

        Tyne Tees is, I think, the last region to go entirely digital, which will happen September 12.

        http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/when_do_i_switch/tyne_tees

        ...but after London switched the media lost interest and while we'll probably note the last analogue signal in these pages most people are under the impression its a done deal.

        On the plus side you should get an improved Freeview signal after the switch, but you'll need to retune your TV unless it can do that itself.

        Bill.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I should have gone for the VPN option...

    ...but I figured many others around the world would do the same and cripple the servers. From comments I've seen in various places the service held up well.

    The biggest bonus from non-Brits using VPNs to access the BBC is that a lot more people around the world now know what a decent TV service is like. Even the BBC's 80 minute nightly roundup programme seemed to squeeze in more events than our local broadcaster's 12 hour overnight marathon.

    No adverts and quality output is the polar opposite of what many countries get.

    And some Tory trolls people still have the nerve to complain about the world's best broadcaster.

  21. b166er

    The London 2012 Olympics actually made me be proud to be British for the first time in a very long time and I was most proud to see the applause given to the 70,000 chosen volunteers (240,000 volunteered). Truly amazing.

    I find myself increasingly proud of the BBC too, putting politics to one side, since doing the iPlayer, they have just continued to exceed my expectations. Some of their mainstream programming may not be to my taste, but I'm fast becoming an old git!

    I only wish I could be as proud of British Telecom, however I'm not. During the Olympics, it was often a frustrating experience trying to use the broadband network (particularly for gaming) and I can only imagine this is due to said network being unable to handle the additional traffic. I strongly feel that were there to be a 'license fee' and strong management and technical direction (as at the Beeb) for our telecommunications infrastructure, it might be in much better shape.

  22. pklong
    Thumb Up

    The BBC's Olympic coverage couldn't have been bettered, both on Freeview and online. Every sport shown. Every sport with a catchup online. Commentators that know when to shut up and seem knowledgeable about the sports they are covering.

    Hope F1 bosses take note!

    Shame they haven't got the Paralympics, but C4 is better than nowt, and it can all be watched online on the streams provided by the Paralymic organisers.

    As I understand it, no one has taken on the rights for the Paralympics in the USA so it will not be shown. Shame on all the broadcasters on the other side of the Atlantic.

    Philip

  23. Nuke
    Meh

    "The BBC is justifiably proud of its coverage... but opposition to the licence fee seems ever increasing and, by the time of the next Olympics, the end of the BBC's royal charter will be in sight."

    I'd rather stick with the BBC. I follow cycling, and in the ITV coverage of the Tour de France they manage to break in for adverts exactly when the crucial moments of the race occur. Unlike stadium sports, road racing is unpredictable.

    It was really nice to watch on the BBC without such interruptions.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      "in the ITV coverage of the Tour de France they manage to break in for adverts exactly when the crucial moments of the race occur. Unlike stadium sports, road racing is unpredictable."

      You are an ungrateful wretch!

      ITV have spent a huge amount of R&D cash on their patented ED-AID technology. It's not just co-incidence that they manage to cut to adverts only during interesting passages of racing, it's down to Excitement Detector Advert Interruption Device. Market research has shown that people's attention tends to wander during long races, and advertisers do not wish to waste their precious budgets at times when the audience aren't concentrating. Hence adverts are screened only after some event has brought the viewers' attention back to the screen.

      This is world leading technology, and you should be thankful for it!

      1. Mike Flex

        > This is world leading technology,

        Well, it's not that difficult to miss the action when 25% of ITV4 output is adverts. It was good to see the cycling without adverts, in HD and without whatever punditry was coming from BBC1's fishtank. And when I missed the live coverage on the extra 24 channels it was all available online.

  24. Andrew Hodgkinson
    Thumb Up

    IPTV options were excellent

    I have a Panasonic plasma that's getting a bit long in the tooth by modern consumer electronics standards. Nonetheless, a few days before the Olympics kicked off it got a software update and there, in the app collection, was "BBC Sport". All Olympic sports - every single event - streamed live in SD and HD over the wired network connection on the TV. Lots of catchup options, little 1-3 minute news snippets to summarise key moments, a medal table, the works.

    Basically, a very nicely realised TV version of bbc.co.uk/olympics. Extremely impressive, along with the performance of streaming on iOS devices too. It's not often I get to say this - but from my perspective as a viewer, the technology not only worked, but excelled and exceeded my expectations in almost every respect. That's before we even consider some of the remarkable camera angles, types, speeds and tricks throughout the whole event, though this aspect wasn't down to the BBC.

    I note the presence of bbc.co.uk/paralympics which implies similar live streaming over the web; the BBC Olympics iOS app is also showing signs that Paralympics live coverage will be streamed. I'm thus hopeful of just as good coverage over the 'net, whether or not C4's broadcast coverage on its main channels is up to scratch.

  25. ravenviz Silver badge

    Red button

    Isn't that just a shortcut to "turning over to the other side to see what's on"?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hats off to Auntie

    The Beeb did a fantastic job of the Olympics. Absolutely brilliant!

  27. durbster

    I had no intention of watching the Olymics but found myself sucked in. At several points we were catching up with something on the laptop and on TV at the same time.

    Another thing it highlighted was how necessary the Flash Player still is. Their online coverage couldn't have been done without it and the alternatives are still a long way off that sort of capability and reach.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Um, BBC have recently (within the last 2 months) moved away from Flash. They trialed this for the "Hackney Weekend" festival - for the first time you can watch live stuff on iPad, etc. It seemed to 'just work' but I don't know what tech is utilized... Flash is still in there somewhere because on my Windows Phone it wanted Flash... I guess they maybe fall back to HTML5 on iOS specifically or something.

  28. Z80
    Thumb Up

    Good job Beeb

    They really did well with the online video coverage - women's round of 32 archery? no problem, BMX seeding round? no problem. The bookmarks on the video player worked very well too.

    I did find myself going round in circles a few times elsewhere in their Olympics site though.Sometimes it seemed like you could either find out who was competing or when an event was taking place but not both at the same time. At one point I tried to quickly find a table of the current standings in the hockey groups but couldn't manage it. Maybe I was just being crap though.

    The live text pages were great though - just the right balance of information and entertainment.

  29. Sarah Davis
    Coat

    the wonderful thing about iPlayer,..

    is you can skip through avoiding all the crap bits,.. watched the 3hr 20m closing ceremony, in 15 mins - sweet

  30. Mark Zip
    Thumb Up

    US viewer here. Please, can I pay the license fee?

    I watched the olympics while on holiday in Ireland.

    We have the very basic Sky box (no HD, no DVR, no sport package) and we used the Red Button like mad.

    The coverage was absolutely wonderful, even when it was just pictures and no commentary.*

    I simply *do not* understand the apparent reluctance around the license fee. The BBC does so much for so many people and does such a great job that I would be happy to pay for it from the US.

    If the UK viewing public could see the way the olympic events were/are aired in the US, cut short, mangled or overlooked, they would flock to the BBC as the gold standard.

    *But we do have to admit that some of the commentary was, however impossible it is to believe, even more home-team-biased than the US commentary ever is. It sometimes had political overtones of the Braed and Circuses variety.

    1. Efros

      Re: US viewer here. Please, can I pay the license fee?

      If the BBC can ever get cross national licensing sorted out they'd make a fortune in other countries, I currently pay about a third of the TV license every month for shit channels that have 16 minutes of commercials for every hour broadcast.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US viewer here. Please, can I pay the license fee?

      I was of the understanding that the BBC were working on subscription for foreign countries, if not actually available, it's certainly being talked about.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant job

    I pumped the Volleyball (proper not beach) out via my cheap tablet to my TV resulting in several advantages.

    1. I could watch the Volleyball

    2. It was much better quality than my built in SD, despite my 3mb max speed.

    3. Most had no commentary.

    Downsides:

    1. unfortunately when they did have commentary it was painful. As it's a bit of a minority sport I understand they have to explain some of the (simple) rules, but did they have point out every ruddy move? At least get the technical terms right, it's a spike not a smash (don't even get me started on calling tips, spikes)

    2. The catch-up kept telling me to update my software and sending me to Apple for help. It's a ruddy andriod tab. Yet iPlayer directly works fine.

    But overall, brilliant job.

  32. Tom 7 Silver badge

    2.8 petabytes

    2 petabytes of presenters an 0.8 petabytes of sport - assuming it was on another channel from the one I was watching.

  33. Paratrooping Parrot
    Mushroom

    I wonder what is Andrew Orlowski's take on the BBC's Olympic coverage?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      We should of bought it from America...

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