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NBC+Olympics+Silverlight 2.0= No Full screen mode?

    Question

  • I installed Silverlight 2 beta last night hoping to check out some videos on nbcolympics.com.  While I can watch the videos in standard and enhanced mode, there is no option for a full-screen mode.

    I notice that on other silverlight videos spread throughout the web, a full-screen button is available as an option, however with the NBC olympics feed this is not the case. I'm rather surprised because Silverlight is advertised all over the place as being full-screen capable, and one would figure that for the Olympics this would definitaley be ready as it is really a time for Silverlight to shine on the world-stage for this big event.

     Will full-screen functionality be enabled before the start of the opening ceremonies tomorrow?

    Thursday, August 07, 2008 12:07 PM

Answers

  •  I also tried it on my gf windows pc - didn't work in FireFox 2 but did when we installed FireFox 3 - the video looks great at that size. Man I can't wait for 2010 olympics when we allget HD video

    Interesting. It looks like Firefox 3 does their zooming differently than Internet Explorer - looks like they scale individual elements rather than blowing the final picture up.

    As for an explanation of why there is no true "full screen" mode: I think it's important for people to understand that this is an extremely large and complex project, and we are delivering an incredible amount of content to end users. The Olympics have very broad appeal across a wide range of people and computers, and therefore it's critical that the experience is accessible to as broad of an audience as possible. That means understanding the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband quality, etc. We didn't optimize for the lowest common denominator (e.g. you need to have at least 512k of bandwidth for a good experience on the site), but we did try to focus on targeting as many users as possible. The logisitics of streaming live video from Beijing to New York are substantial - doing this for up to thirty-three live streams at once + commentary is incredible and there are many, many tradeoffs tht must be made along the way.

    If I were you, I would be thinking, "'the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband' includes people like me with a new-ish computer and a larger monitor." Yep, you're absolutely right. We had to make a decision on which to optimize for first, and that was for as many users as possible to be able to access the site. Some folks aren't able to see the site due to bandwidth restrictions or because they have older machines. That sucks, but it was a tradeoff that we had to make. We also had to make a tradeoff at the high end, since we spent most of our time focusing on the broad consumer experience first.

    Again, if I were you, I would also be thinking, "yes, but it's not really that hard to do full screen video in Silverlight. Why didn't you just make a simple full screen mode?" Again, this was a judgement call based on the fact that once you add in browser chrome and the rest of the page, most people can't actually view a video size beyond the current enhanced mode, which is 848x480. Most people have 1024x768 monitors or less. There's also a quality issue for stretching video that far - the live feeds are 650k, which look incredible for most people, but not if you scale it up to a 30" monitor. The encore and highlight content peaks at 1.5mb, which does look much better if stretched that far, but again, we're trying to provide a good experience for all users.

    I heard from a few folks that there's a rumor floating around right now: that we (Microsoft) or they (NBC) made a decision to do this because we didn't want the end product to look "too good". I can guarantee you that this is absolutely false. We all want to be able to push above and beyond anything that's ever been accomplished before - this was simply a decision that we made due to the different tradeoffs that must be made for a project like this. Yes, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be even better in terms of online video delivery, and London in 2012 will absolutely blow everybody's minds. The internet video and media industries are innovating rapidly and we intend to help push things forward as much and as fast as we can.

    So that's the explanation. If you aren't satisfied and you think I'm an idiot or that we didn't care about fulfilling any promises that were made, that's OK. I'm really not offended, because I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Feel free to send me a private message and I'd be absolutely happy to hear your concerns.

    In the meantime, try the Firefox 3 zoom approach described above - this actually worked really well for me on my Mac. It's not true full-screen mode, but I was able to get most of the browser chrome removed, resize the window to fill the screen, and then press [command]+ to zoom up to the point where the video filled most of the screen. I think that Firefox 3 on the PC has a F11 full screen mode as well, which would allow you to remove almost all of the chrome and zoom even larger. This will look best with Encore and Highlight content because it's higher-quality content.

    thanks for listening so far,

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

     

     

     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:42 AM
  • Great questions:

    #1 - no, this is not a technical limitation of Silverlight. This was a limitation of the constraints around this specific project. Under most circumstances, fullscreen video is very easy to enable.
    #2 - we didn't do it because we felt that it would be a bunch of additional design, development, and test work to support this and yet fit within the restrictions placed on us by the IOC. We also felt that stretching some of the lower bandwidth feeds to large sizes would be a pretty bad user experience.
    #3 - No, there's no other technical reason - if your computer is capable of stretching and displaying video at that size, then it should work fine in Silverlight.

    If there's one thing that's come through loud and clear in the feedback on this, it's "Don't decide for us what tradeoff we want to make between video size and quality. Let the end user make that decision." We'll discuss your feedback with NBC this evening and see if there's anything we can do.

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 3:40 PM

All replies

  •  I second this question. I was amazed and thought it was pretty stupid when I tried it out the other day and found no way to go full screen. I'm sure there is some marketing crap forcing them to disable it so you have to stare at the advertisements on the screen the entire time you're watching. I'll likely try downloading tvtonic and seeing how its coverage is since it allows full screen.

    Thursday, August 07, 2008 2:21 PM
  • whew. I'm glad it wasn't just me having this issue. And thank you for mentioning TVtonic. I'm going to download the client and give it a shot.

    Is there ANYONE from the silverlight team that can answer our question about full-screen mode?

    Thursday, August 07, 2008 3:46 PM
  • I can. Full screen mode is not available as an option in this video player. The enhanced mode has the ability to display 848x480 video.

    thanks!

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor | Microsoft Silverlight
    Friday, August 08, 2008 12:06 AM
  • Thanks for the clarification Tom. The nbc site has come up well. cheers [:) ]

    Friday, August 08, 2008 12:31 AM
  • Well Duh. But why is there no full screen mode button?

    Friday, August 08, 2008 10:37 AM
  •  I have been thrilled with the setup of the nbcolympics website.  However, the lack of a full screen view is AWFUL!!  I can't even think of a player that doesn't include a full screen mode!  Microsoft wake up this just makes silverlight look awful and out dated. If it's about ads just use in video ads like Joost, youtube, or other sites.  A lack of full screen mode does not reflect well on your player.  I can't believe this!!!  The lack of a full screen mode is ruining what otherwise would be a 10 out of 10 experience and making it completly average!

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 1:32 AM
  • I too would like to call out the teams on this one! don't get me wrong I am lovin' watching the Olympics from wherever I am in the city on my laptop, however.... per a 6 Jan news release ..... http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS23524+07-Jan-2008+PRN20080107
        -- An "enhanced playback mode" powered by Silverlight that gives users the
    choice of a high-quality full screen viewing experience that is as good
    or better than anything on the Internet today
    What I am watching is not "Full Screen" and IS very disappointing after what was promised.  Come on you can do better!
    At least stick to you word, have some sense of honor or publish why it is not possible, don't make yourselves look bad with
    a really great product.... and please again, the product is good, just not what you promised, and the lack of full screen 
    detracts, challenge from your developers all the way to Mr. Gates and Mr. Zenkel to watch it for awhile and say that 
    this is what was promised... 
     
    Saturday, August 09, 2008 1:08 PM
  • I'm with you Fever. Lack of full-screen mode on the nbcolympics site is just incredibly stupid if you ask me. It makes Silverlight as usable as Realplayer was in 1999. This has to be another bozo decision from some higher-up executive in NBC and/or Microsoft.

    Microsoft's Silverlight looks like a complete mess now, way to go! This is the perfect way to showcase your product!

    And Microsoft wants this to compete with Flash? Give me a break. 

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 1:17 PM
  • Yes Tom,

     Can you comment on why full screen mode was promised but not delivered?

    Thanks
     

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 1:21 PM
  • Yes Tom,

     Can you comment on why full screen mode was promised but not delivered?

    Thanks

     

    I can. I was actually heavily involved in this decision. I'll put together a post explaining in detail why we made some of the decisions we did around fullscreen.

    - Tom

        Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 2:21 PM
  • Well, I just signed up to tell you what a stupid, horrible bad decision it was, and it completely ruined the experience of watching the Olympic games online. Thanks Tom. If I want to take it full screen that should be my choice, not a design decision on your end. This basic functionality should be enabled and embedded into the player by default. I installed silverlight for the Olympics, when the Olympics are over I'm getting rid of it.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 6:47 PM
  • I'd be happy to access a teeny screen.  I can't.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:18 PM
  •  I can't imagine why. Go to YouTube.com and search for Olympics. In fact, search for nbcolympics.com. Full screen videos of all of the events. You don't need silverlight to see the Olympics online, thankfully. Installed and uninstalled in just a couple hours. Good job Tom and the rest of the idiots involved.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:33 PM
  • I just signed up to express my total disbelieve as well. I watched a pre-release demo of a system at NAB conference in Vegas. Silverlight team put so much pressure to deliver best experience possible and it supposed to be THE showcase of technology. I can not believe you could ruin it that much ! Your decision to strip out full screen capability degrades the experience so considerably that I suspect after people realize the shorcoming, you won't even have a bandwidth problem running at 10% of targeted reach. Talking about money well spent ! I really really ruins it no matter what arguments you are going to come up with. It's like having a ferrari with fiat engine. You've put so much money and development effort to enable four streams at the same time, but yet you fail to deliver even one in its glory. What's the point ?! People expect certain things in 2008. Greatest video content delivery attempt in the history without the very basic feature we use and love for years ?  This sheds bad light for silverlight itself  ..  Just my 2 cents.

    I wonder if there is any software out there that could crop and magnify the portion of video in real time. I couldn't find any though.

     

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:40 PM
  • I am working on putting together the post for you guys to provide details - give me thirty minutes - I definitely understand the frustration for folks with large monitors & am more than willing to discuss this privately.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:44 PM
  • Feel free to discuss it privately! I'm looking forward to hearing from you! I do hope you will include instructions on how I may view this material the way I would like to .. full screen! Thank You.

    I have to be honest, I don't care what the reasoning was behind this, I think it was a horrible choice! The functionality exists in the player and it should be here for what is apparently it's showcase event. You guys screwed up doing this!

    I'm glad you mentioned large monitors. I'm running a 22" widescreen at 1680x1050. Standard video at the site is 3.5" by 2" About the size of a pack of cigarettes. Is this the awesome experience of Silverlight I was missing out on? Ok let me go to "enhanced" version. WOW! 9.5" by 5.5"

    Awesome. With my eyes 3 feet from my monitor it looks like .. maybe the size of a small paperback book. No wonder I never heard of this garbage. These are the 2008 Olympics, not some dude posting a video of his cute kitten.

     

     

     

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:46 PM
  •  I just tried resized the video in FireFox3 and zoomed in. Works great on my MAC and my buddy tried it on his PC and that works too. Almost full screen if you get rid of the google toolbar and the other stuff.

     - MadMike

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 9:57 PM
  •  I also tried it on my gf windows pc - didn't work in FireFox 2 but did when we installed FireFox 3 - the video looks great at that size. Man I can't wait for 2010 olympics when we allget HD video

    MadMike

    Saturday, August 09, 2008 10:00 PM
  • Still waiting for that post from the Silverlight team... Really disappointing, considering all the hype....

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:07 AM
  •  I also tried it on my gf windows pc - didn't work in FireFox 2 but did when we installed FireFox 3 - the video looks great at that size. Man I can't wait for 2010 olympics when we allget HD video

    Interesting. It looks like Firefox 3 does their zooming differently than Internet Explorer - looks like they scale individual elements rather than blowing the final picture up.

    As for an explanation of why there is no true "full screen" mode: I think it's important for people to understand that this is an extremely large and complex project, and we are delivering an incredible amount of content to end users. The Olympics have very broad appeal across a wide range of people and computers, and therefore it's critical that the experience is accessible to as broad of an audience as possible. That means understanding the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband quality, etc. We didn't optimize for the lowest common denominator (e.g. you need to have at least 512k of bandwidth for a good experience on the site), but we did try to focus on targeting as many users as possible. The logisitics of streaming live video from Beijing to New York are substantial - doing this for up to thirty-three live streams at once + commentary is incredible and there are many, many tradeoffs tht must be made along the way.

    If I were you, I would be thinking, "'the range of users, computers, monitors, broadband' includes people like me with a new-ish computer and a larger monitor." Yep, you're absolutely right. We had to make a decision on which to optimize for first, and that was for as many users as possible to be able to access the site. Some folks aren't able to see the site due to bandwidth restrictions or because they have older machines. That sucks, but it was a tradeoff that we had to make. We also had to make a tradeoff at the high end, since we spent most of our time focusing on the broad consumer experience first.

    Again, if I were you, I would also be thinking, "yes, but it's not really that hard to do full screen video in Silverlight. Why didn't you just make a simple full screen mode?" Again, this was a judgement call based on the fact that once you add in browser chrome and the rest of the page, most people can't actually view a video size beyond the current enhanced mode, which is 848x480. Most people have 1024x768 monitors or less. There's also a quality issue for stretching video that far - the live feeds are 650k, which look incredible for most people, but not if you scale it up to a 30" monitor. The encore and highlight content peaks at 1.5mb, which does look much better if stretched that far, but again, we're trying to provide a good experience for all users.

    I heard from a few folks that there's a rumor floating around right now: that we (Microsoft) or they (NBC) made a decision to do this because we didn't want the end product to look "too good". I can guarantee you that this is absolutely false. We all want to be able to push above and beyond anything that's ever been accomplished before - this was simply a decision that we made due to the different tradeoffs that must be made for a project like this. Yes, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be even better in terms of online video delivery, and London in 2012 will absolutely blow everybody's minds. The internet video and media industries are innovating rapidly and we intend to help push things forward as much and as fast as we can.

    So that's the explanation. If you aren't satisfied and you think I'm an idiot or that we didn't care about fulfilling any promises that were made, that's OK. I'm really not offended, because I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Feel free to send me a private message and I'd be absolutely happy to hear your concerns.

    In the meantime, try the Firefox 3 zoom approach described above - this actually worked really well for me on my Mac. It's not true full-screen mode, but I was able to get most of the browser chrome removed, resize the window to fill the screen, and then press [command]+ to zoom up to the point where the video filled most of the screen. I think that Firefox 3 on the PC has a F11 full screen mode as well, which would allow you to remove almost all of the chrome and zoom even larger. This will look best with Encore and Highlight content because it's higher-quality content.

    thanks for listening so far,

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

     

     

     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:42 AM
  • Agreed. I mean "I can" understand where you're coming from. 848x480 .. still trying to digest that. But when 30 min =  3 hours .. it's no wonder there's a huge disconnect. It's kind of funny in a way. To go through all this effort to create this huge disappointment. Over one feature which should have been basic.  If you do some basic searches you'll see this isn't the only site people are expressing their anger over this.

    Honestly I never heard of Silverblight before this and I'll be glad to never hear of it again.

    No problems with Flash. Thanks Adobe!
     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:46 AM
  •  So .. "blah blah blah WE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT" ..

    USE THE SUGGESTION / WORK AROUND WE DIDN'T ANTICIPATE (that was posted by someone else) AND SEE IF THAT MAYBE WORKS FOR YOU. IT'S A SHOCK TO US! 

     

    Oh, also COMPUTERS ARE COMPLICATED! We're just Microsoft, cut us a BREAK .. geez. We're tryin folks. IT'S COMPLEX. THAT'S HOW WE SOLD IT TO NBC AND THEN ASKED OURSELVES LATER IF WE COULD EVEN DO IT! lol (we couldn't)

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:53 AM
  • USE THE SUGGESTION / WORK AROUND WE DIDN'T ANTICIPATE (that was posted by someone else) AND SEE IF THAT MAYBE WORKS FOR YOU. IT'S A SHOCK TO US! 

    Did you try this workaround? Like I said, I tried it out as well and it seems to work.

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 1:00 AM
  • Why are you even suggesting it? Won't it ruin the design dream? Won't I have tearing and pixels? The fact that you suggest I even try is the exact SAME reason why the choice should be there in the player inherently.

    I run FireFox2 and I don't plan on upgrading to 3 before the Olympics are out. I shouldn't have to. Your product is supposed to work correctly on this platform.  You, obviously, get to enjoy the full screen video that was promised to every fan of the Olympic games by your own press. By using a work around posted here by people who are angry at the STUPID design decisions you made for this project.

    At some point you need to grasp reality. 30" monitors are not the high end average. Their not even a high end DREAM for most people. 1024x768 WAS the avg. maybe 5 Years ago. Dell drops 20" widescreen monitors onto $500. computers for YEARS AND YEARS now.

    In any event .. your world wide demonstration has served one purpose .. SilverBLIGHT is not ready to scale to meet the needs of consumers, when the big event hit .. people wanted to consume it in full screen .. and your product was a worldwide failure. At any resolution that matters.

     
    IT IS ONE LINE OF CODE TO ALLOW FULL SCREEN.

    Just do it.
     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 1:14 AM
  • I am suggesting the workaround because larger video seemed to be what you were interested in getting, and this seems like a pretty good way to do it. If you're in interested in having a separate discussion about how we brought this project to market or what constitutes a typical consumer PC, then It seems to me that we should have a separate thread on this. If you want to send me a private mail with your contact info then I'll even call you and I can answer your questions over the phone.

    thanks!

    - Tom

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 1:29 AM
  • You can put your phone number here and I'll call it. You can send it privately if you like, also.

    What about these workarounds:

    Application.Host.Content.IsFullScreen = True
    -----
    VB.NET
    Application.Host.Content.IsFullScreen = Not Application.Host.Content.IsFullScreen
    -----
    C#
    Application.Host.Content.IsFullScreen != Application.Host.Content.IsFullScreen;
    -----

    Any of that help?

    Also, not for nothing, but YOU are the one who brought up the avg PC experience here. And you are also the one who said YOU would make a separate post explaining the (terrible) decision to not allow full screen for this. Also, are you suggesting that FireFox 3 is the browser of choice if one wants to get the FULL experience at nbcolympics.com?

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 1:45 AM
  • ashes2flames and I talked on the phone. I don't think that we came to an agreement on this but we do appreciate the feedback & I understand his frustration. No, I don't normally ask people to call me to discuss forum postings.

    One thing that was brought up in the call that I didn't mention in my post above. There are actually two reasons why we don't do true full screen mode for this player:

    1.) the player was designed and built to target the broadest range of consumers possible first and foremost - that was my point above.
    2.) there are some restrictions placed on the usage of full screen video by the IOC. That also factored into the design of this video player.

    thanks!

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 3:12 AM
  • I will say, Tom is a great guy and a credit to the team as far as public relations goes, just ridiculous how honest and forthright/giving he was. All that praise aside, I still disagree with the design choices made for this project in regards to it's full screen application, and there were no technological obstacles explained to me that prevented them from providing a full screen experience to those people who wanted it / with systems that could handle it. The choice should have been there for the consumer IMO.

    The Silverlight's player's functionality will not be changing for NBCOlympics.com so, as far as I'm concerned, I got to say my peace and I'm done.

    Thanks Tom. 

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 3:44 AM
  • I signed up to say thanks for bringing us the online olympics for FREE. I don't have cable and I watch it on a 15.4" laptop anyway.

    I was looking for a full screen solution, but I can live with the enhanced version.

    It's free and the quality is good, so I am not complaining. I d rather have it running smoothly on a smaller screen, instead of a lagging, server time-out full screen.

    Not a lot of people have a 24+"LCD, and if you do, you should try lower your resolution, firefox zoomin, tvtonics, or watch it on a laptop?

    The silverlight is not a TV substition. 

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:26 AM
  • Screw using a work-around! That's just an insult after what you all promised and failed to deliver. You guys really screwed the pooch with this one.

    Your day to shine only shows off an extremely gimped, unimpressive player that's basically worthless in my opinion. Enhanced mode? Control center with 3 PIP screens that are so small that they look like postage stamps with tiny animations!? Hello? Silverlight team, don't you realize this whole setup is a complete joke? 

     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:38 AM
  • Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

    Tom,

    First question: After the stream has reached the end computer can Silverlight stretch the stream to fit the screen? If Silverlight can stretch the stream then I'd expect the video quality to be degraded and I'd also expect Silverlight to make a best effort at maintaining quality. I'd also expect Silverlight to cope with screen sizes and resolutions automatically. And Tom, this is not a question just for the Olympics -- it just a question in general. It's also not a political question (i.e. NBC won't let us or whatever) it's a technical question. If we assume no political obstacles then can Silverlight make a best effort to stretch any video stream to fullscreen? These are questions folks will ask when evaluating whether or not to adopt Silverlight over Flash. For the others who are reading this thread: Does Flash offer this functionality? I'd assume yes.

    Second question: Assuming Silverlight can make a best effort to stretch any quality stream to full screen while gracefully handling any screen size and resolution then how much coding effort is required to do this and offer the end users this functionality via a button on the player? Is it one line of code? (I'd actually expect that it'd be more than just a bit flip to enable. I wouldn't be surprised if I, as the developer, had to specify letterbox, stretch to fit, zoom-in, etc. E.g. all the same options offered by an widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio TV when it's displaying a stream coming in at a 3:4 aspect ratio.) Again this is not a political question but a technical one and one which will be asked when considering Silverlight against Flash. The preferable form of an answer to this question would be a link to the MSDN docs. This way those of us considering adopting Silveright will know, authoritatively, that widescreen is possible and how to implement it in code.

    Third question: Assuming widescreen is possible, is not too much trouble to implement, and is orthogonal to any challenges getting the stream to Silverlight, is there another technical reason why MS\NBC hasn't decided to offer fullscreen mode. (Please don't post, "Because we were trying to maintain the best possible quality for the end user." Many end users are perfectly willing to accept and even prefer degraded quality full screen video to small high quality video. See YouTube. And more to the point most developers would like to use a video player platform, Flash or Silverlight, that makes it easy for them to allow the user to make a fullscreen-or-not choice.) And Tom, for the sake of your platform, I hope your answer is, "We made a mistake and it's actually very easy to provide fullscreen mode!" and not because there actually is some technical deficiency in Silverlight not shared by Flash.

     

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 3:06 PM
  • Great questions:

    #1 - no, this is not a technical limitation of Silverlight. This was a limitation of the constraints around this specific project. Under most circumstances, fullscreen video is very easy to enable.
    #2 - we didn't do it because we felt that it would be a bunch of additional design, development, and test work to support this and yet fit within the restrictions placed on us by the IOC. We also felt that stretching some of the lower bandwidth feeds to large sizes would be a pretty bad user experience.
    #3 - No, there's no other technical reason - if your computer is capable of stretching and displaying video at that size, then it should work fine in Silverlight.

    If there's one thing that's come through loud and clear in the feedback on this, it's "Don't decide for us what tradeoff we want to make between video size and quality. Let the end user make that decision." We'll discuss your feedback with NBC this evening and see if there's anything we can do.

    - Tom

    Tom Taylor    |    Microsoft Silverlight

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 3:40 PM
  • Hi Tom,

    I'm pretty happy with the image quality of the SL player at nbcolympics.com.  Very cool to watch the women's cycling road race last night.  Like being there in the pack.

    Regarding the lack of full screen mode:
    I wondered if this might partly be a deliberate limitation imposed by NBC so that the website streams didn't cannibalize their broadcast TV cash cow?  You're saying that didn't play a part?

    There don't seem to be that many ads in the player banner so far (just a static 728 bit wide JPG from GE mostly).  Of course, that's good for viewing, but I'm wondering if it was hard to find advertisers who wanted to buy ads there?  And why no ads in SL?

    One thing that would be cool (but unlikely to happen) would be a web page showing a map of North America that displayed in real-time how many users were using the Olympics player, including the total bits streamed, total streams, etc.  It would help build an appreciation of the magnitude of the "event".

    Thanks,
    Alan Cobb
    www.alancobb.com/blog (Silverlight blog)

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 10:32 PM
  • I must say I was extremely disappointed to not have a full screen option with the video player at first as well. However, after I read about how to get full screen in Firefox and tried it out, I'm very happy with it. I have my computer hooked up to 2 monitors, one of which being my 37" HDTV. I just finished watching USA vs. Netherlands soccer game on it and it was fantastic quality at nearly full screen on the tv. It's a bit of a pain to align the video when it's in full screen because when the mouse is hovered over a Silverlight app (or a Flash app) it disables the keyboard for the most part. What I mean is that Ctrl- and Ctrl+ don't work, F11 doesn't work, arrow keys don't work. Even Ctrl T (open new tab) and Ctrl F4 (close tab) don't work. This is a limitation of Firefox, though, and as I said it happens with Flash content as well.

     For those complaining about having to upgrade to Firefox 3 and refusing to do so, that's just an outright silly complaint unless there are some add-ons you absolutely must have that haven't been updated for 3.0 yet. Firefox 3's F11 full screen mode is much better than 2.0's, that alone makes it better for watching full screen video in the browser.

     To those who say they'll uninstall Silverlight after the Olympics, I think that's a bit ridiculous, too. Silverlight will be around more in the future, you may as well accept it. You don't uninstall the Flash add-on after you visit one website (and trust me, there are many) that executes it horribly, do you? The lack of full screen video on the Olympics site has very little to do with limitations of Silverlight, so there's no reason to hold a grudge against it for the poor decision to not have a full screen option. Silverlight is an excellent technology and it's not going away.

    In summary, yes it sucks big time to not have a full screen option, but instead of yelling and screaming about it, maybe try the work around which works quite nicely. If you're normally an IE user, maybe this will show you what you're missing :).

    Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:34 PM
  • Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

    Tom, three more questions:

    Question 1: What are the "limitations of the constraints around this specific project" that prevent using fullscreen? Developers who are evaluating using Silverlight over Flash would like to know. You say under "most circumstances" it's easy to enable full screen. Under what circumstances is it not easy to enable? Is there a white paper or MSDN post describing the limitations?

    Question 2: What test, design and development work does Microsoft expect developers building Silverlight applications to do before they can enable Fullscreen? They need to know so they can compare that matrix to Flash. Right now your developers are asking themselves, "If Microsoft can't even run the fullscreen test matrix what chance do I have?" What is your response? Or is it the scale of the Olympics is the problem? In which case the question is in what dimensions does Microsoft Silverlight fail to scale? And where is the white paper and where is the MSDN post describing the scale limitations?

    Question 3: Why not take this whole episode as an opportunity to show the world and your developers how easy it is to enable fullscreen by throwing the switch right in the middle of the Olympics? If there are bugs to be found at this scale when else are you expecting to flesh them out? Your developers expect you to find and fix those bugs at Olympics scale so they have confidence that when their product is under heavy load it'll work. If you don't want to distribute full screen to everyone then limit the distribution to folks that find this page. Add a disclaimer if you like. Say that this fullscreen version of the browser is not fully tested and there may be bugs that'll be reported and fixed. Prove to your developers just how easy it is to enable and just how robust your technology is! Put your money where your posts are! Are you trying to compete with Flash or what?! Come on! Throw the switch. Why not?

     

     

    Monday, August 11, 2008 1:24 AM
  • Created account just to second Kingces's suggestion... At the given bandwidth the quality seems just fine to me using the Firefox 3.0 workaround (good thing we all have firefox).  Take the plunge... the "enlarged video" mode sucks.

    It's sad when the History channel has full screen videos w/ Flash and Microsoft won't even step up to the plate with their Silverlight Olympics expo.

     If you're truly worried about bandwidth issues, give it a couple more days with the current set-up and I'd wager that viewership will have dropped so low that bandwidth will be the least of your concerns.

    ... almost forgot... I may be mistaken, but isn't one of the great features of Silverlight supposed to be that it can dynamically resize video (by the end user)?... if this is true, why not let the user decide the size and make their own judgement call about video quality? (which will be good anyway)  You guys seem to be missing out on an excellent opportunity to showcase here by limiting the functionality so much.  If you're only goal was to get the Silverlight plugin on machines, couldn't you just send it out w/ a Windows update??
    Monday, August 11, 2008 2:55 AM
  • There is one more thing that seems to contradict some of those arguments where no full screen = better quality. Shouldn't switching to full screen theoretically improve watching experience? After all - the process can be prioritized and more ‘focused’ on decoding the video to entire viewport while de-prioritizing all other windows that could cause slow downs . This includes browser windows, worst case with flashy banners etc.  Sure you can’t make up for number of pixels but still. This should be left totally for user decision.  All those workarounds with FireFox, which is pain, just ridicule the technology in front of those people who stumble upon it first time. What was the outcome of your meeting with NBC? Any go-ahead, write that one-line of code and make thousands of users happy? Thanks…
    Monday, August 11, 2008 12:53 PM
  • Tom,

    I believe a quick fix is available for IE. In IE, press F11 for full screen mode. I zoomed the video by 200% (from combobox in the status bar) to fill my 28" (twenty-eight) Viewsonic monitor (1920x1200). I scrolled the video into view and pushed the chrome away. The video is great!

    The only problem seems to be the Javascript (or SL) in the HTML page wants to reset the scrollbar every 20 seconds, when the banner disappears from view.  Could you have NBC move the banner to the left-hand side of the HTML page to prevent the scrolling?

     Mike

    Monday, August 11, 2008 5:08 PM
  • 2.) there are some restrictions placed on the usage of full screen video by the IOC. That also factored into the design of this video player.

    This is probably the only reason they don't have full screen in the Olympic video player. I signed on just to say the lack of a full screen mode is incredibly thickheaded and makes Microsoft and NBC and the IOC look very incompetent and archaic. Why even use Silverlight? Why not just have NBC staffers post videos to Youtube where they actually have full screen capability?


    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 12:18 AM
  • I agree that the lack of full screen mode is an incredibly poor decision, but what they do offer is not even in the same league as YouTube. YouTube video quality is horrible, plus I'd rather not watch the Olympics in 10 minute segments like YouTube would have. I've watched a few videos in the Silverlight player, some of which were nearly 2 hours long and what I saw was fantastic video quality with no interruption.
    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 12:29 AM
  • I ended up in this discussion because i was searching for fullscreen in silverlight, more exactly about "how to make my app work fullscreen"

    well, i'm a developer, and i use forums to help me developing software.... i usually read helpful and nice posts of programmers halping each other...

    and what do i found here? people with really bad education and lack of respect that are frustrated because they can't watch the olympics in full screen..

    i have to say: so what? how pathetic are your lives, so that you're angry over something really not important? i mean, you're not even paying!

    off course, most of you are american (i suppose, because we're talking about nbc) and everybody (except americans theirselves) knows that american people don't care a lot about the world..... so i would like to point somethings for all of my overweight dumb and narcisist fellows:

    - silverlight is not being developped to display video in full screen, it's something A LOT BIGGER AND COMPLEX. video display is just a really small part of it.. i've been working with it for the past 4 months doing a lot of other things (i never had to put a video in my silverlight apps)...

    - silverlight 2 is in it's BETA version, meaning it's still being developed, and it's not in it's final shape...

    - there are other countries around the world, where people don't have 22" lcd monitors...

    - microsoft is a powerful company with lots of power to "decide" new technologies... so don't say  you won't use silverlight again.. it's a waist of time... you are goint to eventually

    but ok, i think microsoft made a huge mistake: it underestimated the "dumbness" of the end users... they should not have advertised "full screen video" and they have had to put a huge note telling that silverlight 2 is in beta version, so problems may occur

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008 4:41 PM
  •  I was aproaching this from a different viewpoint than you suggest. I too have been working with and learning Silverlight for months now. I'm actually banking on the fact that Microsoft succeeds with Silverlight, that is why I'm converting my company's main product over to using it. From that frame of mind I was really wanting them to put their best foot forward in the big debut with the Olympics site. I knew it was perfectly capable of going fullscreen because I had used the MIX08 site a lot to watch the recorded sessions. I was simply dissapointed when I went to check out the site and realized it was disabled and I personally couldn't think of a good reason for them to have done that from a technology point of view.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008 4:58 PM
  • everybody (except americans theirselves) knows that american people don't care a lot about the world..... so i would like to point somethings for all of my overweight dumb and narcisist fellows

    always amuses me when someone insults an entire country/group of people, what great form/manners!!

    as to the full-screen aspect, it's definitely a mistake on the development teams' view of the issue, imo.  when you are trying to highlight a technology, especially one going up against an established market leader like Flash, you should really put your best foot forward showing off the technology.  a simple solution of having certain, key videos full-screen enabled would alleviate the design issues outlined and allow the user to experience the full power of the Silverlight platform. as it is, a decision was made across all the videos that limited them and hence, limited the 'pop' that people see in the technology.  a shame, really, given how simple a solution is to the issue.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 9:52 AM
  • Could you also post something that tells how to stop the video from "improving" itself and then showing up blurry on my monitor.   After a few minutes watching Olympics my screen freezes and I get a flash of a blurb that says I'm being updated for improved image viewing, and then when the video starts up again my screen is blurry and difficult to see.  I don't need this type of improvement.

    Friday, August 15, 2008 8:42 PM
  • Souleao, I've moved my reply to the other thread: http://silverlight.net/forums/p/22929/81101.aspx#81101

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 2:12 AM
  • For anyone who doesn't want to use the workarounds already described (Firefox 3's zoom-in mode works well), I have posted a blog article showing a simple 2-line CSS tweak that you can make to force the NBCOlympics.com player to fill the whole width of the IE7 browser window, regardless of how big your monitor is.

    Please see:
    http://www.alancobb.com/blog/2008/08/17/TweakingTheNBCOlympicscomSilverlightVideoPlayerToRunFullScreen.aspx

    Alan Cobb
    www.alancobb.com/blog (Silverlight blog)

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 2:16 PM
  • Hi mypam,

    >The silverlight is not a TV substition. [Silverlight is not a TV substitute].

    Well according to this article by Will Zachmann there are a lot of people at Microsoft working to make Silverlight exactly that (at least long term).  Below is a partial quote from Will's article: 

    "Breaking Broadcast
    The common theme behind all this is an extremely bold and ambitious effort by Microsoft to supplant traditional TV video-distribution with a Web-based alternative model built on Silverlight. The essential idea is to offer everything currently available from your local cable company and much more -- not via channels on a traditional TV tuner but directly through a Web or Xbox game interface. If Microsoft succeeds in this effort, just who makes money and how they make it in TV distribution will change dramatically over the next few years."

    Alan Cobb
    www.alancobb.com/blog (Silverlight blog)

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 3:51 PM
  • Im surprised no one made a bookmarklet / favlet yet, to set the style to 100%.

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:00 PM
  • Hi slyi,

    >I'm surprised no one made a bookmarklet / favlet yet, to set the style to 100%.

    Hmm.  That's a great idea.  I'd never done a bookmarklet before, but I just made one.  It tests fine in both IE7 and FF2.  I have added it to my blog article.  For those who haven't used them before, a bookmarklet is a tiny Javascript program living in the href of a bookmark.  Very useful.

    BTW: One feature of the player that really rocks at 1600x1200 is the wall of 24 thumbnails you get in the "Highlights" view.  I've uploaded a screen capture (286KB) of that at 1600x1200 in IE7.  The thumbnails have enough detail that they really benefit from the big resolution.  Actually, the highlights videos themselves (higher bit rates as Tom Taylor from MS pointed out) look impressive at 1600x1200.   

    Thanks for the tip slyi,

    Alan Cobb
    www.alancobb.com/blog (Silverlight blog)

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:56 PM