MSNBC’s awesome Super Tuesday primary coverage

This, my friends, is the future of television.

Saw on Twitter a couple of hours ago that Ed Kohler (from Technology Evangelist) recommended‘s coverage of Super Tuesday. “Click on the red dashboard button” he said and up popped the window with live, streaming video and constantly updating primary results you see at left.

Using this dashboard let me move out of the family room (where my son was finishing homework and was distracted by the TV) and head upstairs with my laptop. I surfed other web sites while keeping tabs on what was happening.

Constantly updating and refreshed “Race results” along with the live video feed was just awesome. Really fabulous execution and it worked flawlessly.

The player was Flash and this was the best streaming I’ve watched yet (assume H.264). I still want a form factor that is bigger than an iPhone, smaller than my laptop that I can carry about with me like a portfolio (no, the Macbook Air isn’t it since you still have a lid to open), but well packaged content like this is viewable fine on a laptop or desktop machine.

The smart aspect of MSNBC’s delivery — and why I say this is the future of television — was the total experience of “the dashboard” instead of just the streaming video. It provided me, the viewer, with a comprehensive perspective of near real time results along with the commentary, interviews and banter of live television coverage. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed some scrolling race result on live TV and been bugged that I have to wait for another cycle until they display the results again. This time, it was all at my fingertips. Great job MSNBC.

Now imagine watching PBS, National Geographic, History or Science channels where they always scroll text that says something like, “See more about _________ on our website” but I never do. This way it could automagically appear alongside the video at the right time and augment my viewing of the video providing me with a much richer experience.

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  1. Ed Kohler on February 5, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    This would kick but for watching sports. Things like marathons, NASCAR, or anything else where status updates are key. Even things like baseball where stats are something people love to check out between plays would be awesome in this format.

  2. Jim Ray on February 7, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Steve, thanks for the kind words, we’re working hard on figuring out new ways to build engaging interactive news experiences. My colleagues (I actually didn’t have a hand in this, but I am a producer at really burned the midnight oil on getting this out, it’s always nice to see that hard work appreciated.

    Converging television and interactivity is always going to be tricky, and I think you’re point about needing a new device with a form factor between an iPhone and a notebook is spot on (you weren’t one of the four who bought a TabletPC?).

    Thanks again,

    editorial concepts producer,

  3. Jim Ray on February 7, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Curses. You’re -> your – my news writing 101 prof would be ashamed.

  4. Steve Borsch on February 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    @Jim Ray: Actually, there are at least seven tablet PC users. ;-)

    Again, really great job on it. What could be cool (if it’s not a competitive advantage for MSNBC) would be to have someone do a technical writeup on how you guys pulled this off and, most importantly, how much it cost to stream live to God knows how many people.

  5. JD on EP on February 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    MSNBC Super Dashboard

    MSNBC Super Dashboard: For US political races, MSNBC seemed to have the best web presentation. I didn’t watch the political contests myself, but was struck by this quote from Steve Borsch: “This, my friends, is the future of television… It provided m…

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.