PVRs and Events

Jon Udell discusses event coverage in the context of the Olympics:

Every fourth summer, IT trade pubs write about the technology that powers the Olympic Games. Its always an interesting topic, but apart from an enhanced focus on security, the Athens 2004 stories were little changed from their Sydney 2000 counterparts. And yet, this Olympics was utterly transformed, for me and for a few million other viewers, by TiVo.

Thanks to this cheap, Linux-based appliance, I was able to compress all of the events that interested me into a fraction of the time it would otherwise have taken to watch them. Ill always remember the Athens games as the first TiVo Olympics. Now Im thinking about ways to make the next one even better.

A portable PVR (personal video recorder) schedule would be a nice improvement. I took a week of vacation during this years games, so while the TiVo back home was recording everything for later use, I couldnt review each days events from my hotel rooms.

Well, why not? Suppose your hotel had a central server with a months worth of the popular cable channels. Filter that using your PVR schedule and voil! the hotel television is rescued from the jaws of irrelevance.

Think about the last conference you attended. You had to make hard choices about which sessions to attend and which to skip. Audio or video proceedings may have been available afterward, but they didnt flow to your PVR. Blogs written by participants and observers helped you fill in the gaps but didnt richly annotate the AV content.

Still, were getting awfully close. In our world where blogs, Wi-Fi, and computer-attached video cameras are the norm weve begun to redefine the art of event coverage. If you want to see how the Beijing Olympics should be covered in 2008, visit a tech conference next year.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.