In a keynote this morning, Lau explained that the Olympics present a technology headache for the media giant. "The simple handling, bandwidth, shipping, and storage of this amount of information is explosive," he said, citing last year's Winter Olympics in Torino, where NBC filmed 1,210 hours of coverage in just 17 days.
To complicate matters, NBC will be increasing its high-definition (HD) coverage, which started in Torino, at next year's games. "High definition is a storage and bandwidth beast," complained Lau.
In an effort to get around this problem, NBC installed a 12-Tbyte Isilon cluster in its temporary Torino broadcast center, which it used to store video clips. (See NBC Taps Isilon for Olympics and Olympian Thanks.) "It revolutionized our ease of access," explained Lau, adding that, even in Torino, NBC still recorded 25,000 tapes worth of action.
According to the exec, the network is keen to reduce its reliance on tape-based technologies by building more digital asset management systems: "Without having digital, you're bound by your physical assets. Our goal is to do more remotely, without sending people to the games."