March Madness On Demand In Demand

Service providers offer hoop fans pre-tourney tune-ups

Bird vs. Magic in ’79; Duke vs. UConn in 90; Louisville vs. Kentucky in ’83 and Christian Laettner’s game-ending shot in the 1992 regional final.

What do they all have in common, beyond legendary matchups and milestones in the history of the annual NCCA Men’s Division 1 Basketball tournament? (a.k.a March Madness).

Footage of these timeless classics are available now, or whenever you want, thanks to the server farm-based video-on-demand (VoD) system telephone companies and cable operators operate to give customers a much-needed, and typically free, alternative to "appointment TV."

So you don't have to wait for the opening game tipoff at 12:20PM EST Thursday to start drinking in the multi-week sports ritual that is March Madness.

Programming, from cable giant Comcast Corp. for example, is available in standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) formats free of charge. You simply press the On Demand key on your remote and click your way, through the sports category in this case, to NCAA March Madness.

Let the games begin!

Programming includes game footage, clutch moments from tourney games, interviews with key players and coaches, greatest moments segments, and content previewing this year's installment of the nationwide live sports frenzy.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to carrying content from past contests, some operators plan to use their VoD systems to offer highlights and footage from games after they conclude. That provides fans priceless options when you consider that many firms block employees from watching daytime games in the work place; not everyone has an iPhone and the latest March Madness iPhone App Download, and that games are played in all U.S. time zones.

While no one wants to miss a live telecast or streaming media cast from CBS, the VoD opportunity provides a viable option that provides the gamecast, not just the final score minus the excitement, for viewing at the consumer’s convenience.

CBS Sports, CBS College Sports Network and the the NCAA are teaming with over 20 video distribution partners for the second consecutive year to deliver NCAA VOD: THE BEST OF MARCH MADNESS, a HD, VoD program dedicated to March Madness 2009.

CBS Sports and CBS College Sports Network claim they will produce over 50 packages including customized highlights of all games from the NCAA Sweet 16 through the Championship Game on Monday, April 6. Add in the Official NCAA Tournament Highlight Show from the first and second rounds beginning on Thursday, March 19, and historical NCAA March Madness vignettes that will all be available for free to VoD subscribers nationwide.

The roster of players includes Comcast, DIRECTV, Verizon FiOS, Charter, Atlantic Broadband, Armstrong Utilities, Bend Broadband, Bresnan Communications, Insight, Mediacom, Midcontinent Communications, Suddenlink Communications and others.

CBS says the content will be available in HD and SD, and distributed via TVN Entertainment through participating MSO's VOD platforms. TVN claims it will be distributing the NCAA March Madness Highlights within hours of each game's original airing using its TVNow fast turnaround service.

The VOD programming includes NCAA March Madness Highlights which is a daily recap of each day's action from the first and second rounds featuring extensive highlights along with selected post-game interviews and team press conferences. Individual game highlights will be made available, the team says, giving fans immediate access to games from the Sweet 16 through the Championship Game with the ability to search for specific games.

NCAA VOD: THE BEST OF MARCH MADNESS also will include a fully-produced recap program of the 2009 Tournament, as well as one from last year's tournament. The recap programs will include game footage, post-game interviews and press conferences, according to CBS.

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