Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Olympic broadcasts need spoiler alerts

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Irish boxer Paddy Barnes should be set for a podium finish in social-media use among Olympians. (REUTERS)


With as many as a dozen sports happening simultaneously at the Olympics, staying on top of your favourites is tough. Luckily, visitors to CTV’s website can tune in to online video streams of the main network, TSN or Sportsnet, or check out highlights, replays and “world feed” channels showing live footage of various events.

It’s a great use of technology, yet the age of instantaneous news-sharing on Twitter reveals a problem with watching online streams – depending on the methods used by the broadcaster, the time required to process the video and squirt it into the Intertubes can cause a significant delay between the “live” stream and what’s being shown on TV.

This became abundantly clear during Monday’s nail-biting semifinal women’s soccer match between the U.S. and Canada. CTV advised fans watching online to avoid the site’s own live-chat window, since it contained CTV’s Twitter updates every time someone scored, and the tweets were popping up before the goals had even been shown. Uh, spoiler alert! (CTV cautioned the stream was running “up to one minute behind event time,” but for me the online streams have consistently lagged three minutes behind the TV broadcasts.)

With three goals scored in seven minutes in the dramatic second half, and the game ending with a heartbreaking U.S. goal in the final seconds of extra time, I feel sorry for anyone who was seeing the action delayed by even a few minutes.

The solution to avoiding spoilers while watching key events online instead of on TV? Simply shut down Twitter, log out of Facebook, turn off your cellphone, close your windows and stick your fingers in your ears. Going “lalalalalala!” is recommended but not required.

FIGHTING IRISH

Irish boxer Paddy Barnes will be stepping into the ring Wednesday for the men’s light flyweight quarterfinals. A win there would put him in contention for a medal, something Ireland has yet to experience in these games.

He’s probably pretty excited about it. Although honestly, it’s kind of hard to tell.

Barnes is a beloved figure in his native Ireland and has fans around the world, as much for his boisterous personality as the pugilist prowess that won him a bronze medal in Beijing. But TV interviews with Barnes sometimes become viral hits online, because of his unique … way of speaking. Like this one, in which the Belfast boxer reflects upon his win over his opponent in the last round of the preliminaries: http://bit.ly/barnestalk.

I suppose if you’re familiar with the accent, this all makes perfect sense. I was only able to understand one sentence, the part where he talks about throwing a one-two hook and blocking. The rest might as well have been Swahili.

Still, Barnes is a character and great fun to watch. During the athletes’ entrance at the Opening Ceremony, he held up a handmade sign reading, “Open for sponsors” followed by his Twitter handle, @paddyb_ireland. And his followers on Twitter got a treat after his victory over Cameroon’s Thomas Essomba, when Barnes tweeted, “Job done from the Olympic ring. Paddy Barnes. Bringing you closer to the action,” followed by, “Think I’m first boxer ever to tweet from inside ring.”

Keep it up, Paddy. It’s a lot easier to understand you on Twitter.

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Amazing panorama of the day: This incredible photo shows the Olympic Stadium at the moment Usain Bolt won the men’s 100 metres. What’s even more incredible is you can zoom in right onto Bolt’s wild-eyed face. Technology! http://bit.ly/olympicture