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Providing a fuller view of the Olympics

During the Olympics the most popular events will be certainly covered by television broadcasters, but what about minority sports, which though less followed are nonetheless enjoyed by thousands if not millions of people worldwide? Coming to the aid of minority sports fans is OLYMPIC.

Due to be evaluated during the Athens Games this August, the IST project has developed a platform to transmit live and recorded footage over the Internet in a variety of formats and catering to a diverse array of tastes. Our aim is not to compete with traditional television broadcasters, but to offer a variety of alternatives to the footage they provide, explains project coordinator Luis Caloto at Atos Origin in Spain. Because broadcasters typically focus on the most popular events Caloto believes there is a strong niche market for providing footage of minority sports over the Internet, allowing fans to choose what they want to see and how they want to see it. With traditional TV multiple streams of images are taken and producers decide what they want to transmit, with the rest of the footage being wasted, the project coordinator notes. With OLYMPIC we can take that wasted footage and broadcast it live over the Internet or as a near video-on-demand service. For fans, the system offers them the chance to watch events live that otherwise they would not be able to see, especially if followers of a particular sport are geographically dispersed around the world and represent an insufficient market for broadcasters. Television companies on the other hand gain the ability to use footage that otherwise would go unseen, while at the same time opening up new markets of viewers. Broadcasters will send several camera crews to cover events and then only transmit maybe a minute or two of footage or none at all, but with this system all those images can be used, making it much more economically efficient for companies, Caloto says. Using MPEG2 and MPEG4 formats, the system is due to be tested over two days during the Olympic Games with footage provided by Greek television and transmitted to several thousand viewers in Greece. After the Games, the project intends to run a near video-on-demand service for several days, providing a basic but effective example of the services that OLYMPIC can offer, Caloto says. If successful, the trials will lead to the commercialisation of OLYMPIC in late 2005 or early 2006. Contact:,Luis Caloto ,Atos Origin,Albarracin 25 ,E-28037 Madrid ,Spain ,Tel: +34-91-2148334,Email: Source: Based on information from OLYMPIC,Published by the IST Results service which gives you online news and analysis on the emerging results from Information Society Technologies research. The service reports on prototype products and services ready for commercialisation as well as work in progress and interim results with significant potential for exploitation,