Erik Linask : Sports Technology
Erik Linask

September 2009

You are browsing the archive for September 2009.

ESPN, NBA-Turner Venture Pursue Fantasy Basketball Super-Site

September 28, 2009

I'm planning next year to serve as commissioner in a fantasy baseball league whose owners will include relatives, friends, colleagues and my brother-in-law Bill, a guy I sometimes feel bad for.   Not that his wife isn't great. My little sister is what our mom would call "a great gal."   But Bill - like me - gets hooked on gadgets and computer games sometimes, and my sister has demonstrated little patience for that.   A few years back, I bought Bill a pocket-sized electronic chess game whose beeping drove my sister absolutely insane.

ESPN Pursues Local Sports Coverage Online

September 14, 2009

I met my buddy David Fine nearly 25 years ago, when the two of us came up as swimmers at the New Canaan YMCA here in southwestern Connecticut.   Dave, more than I, would form part of a core group of guys that would emerge as one of the state's elite men's teams about a decade later, as a group of 16- to 18-year-olds - from New Canaan as well as surrounding towns - peaked late in high school under the direction of an insanely dedicated coach, Rich. The club would send more than one swimmer to what was popularly known as the "Junior Olympics," including a relay team.   We practiced from 5:20 to 7 a.m. every weekday morning, and then again from about 3 to 6 p.m. every week night, with a grueling 6 to 9 a.m. practice on Saturdays, for which Ludeman saved his most sinister set creations.

Stealing Sports Programming through Cable, Satellite or IPTV: Ongoing, International

September 11, 2009

One of the auto mechanics who worked at my dad's repair shop here in Norwalk, Conn., moonlighted for a while as a Cablevision TV technician.   The technician - let's call him Timmy - had still another side-job where he'd get some pocket money "de-scrambling" signals through illegal set-top boxes, effectively giving basic package Cablevision subscribers access to premium channels for a one-time, cash fee. The Dinans participated in that program. (It was easier than pressing the old A and B buttons - A B A B A B A B - as fast as possible to get access to Playboy after 8 p.m.)   The art of stealing TV access - cable, IPTV or satellite - knows no international borders.   We hear today that the popular Arabic-language Al Jazeera Network's sports TV division - Al Jazeera Sport - has forged a deal with a Dutch company that helps companies protect access to their digital access.   Amsterdam-based Irdeto is set to protect the network's premium content with more than a half-million of its so-called "Smart Cards."   Specifically, the agreement is targeting the Gulf region's prolific illegal TV set-top boxes, which decrypt pay-TV channels - including pay-per-view and video-on-demand options.   Here's what David Canellos, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Irdeto, had to say: "Irdeto and Al Jazeera Sport have been successfully partnering in the Middle East for more than three years. We are very pleased to expand on this strong partnership and look forward to continuing to support the success of Al Jazeera Sport as a leading pay-tv operator in the region."   A glance at Al Jazeera Sport's Web site gives us a good idea of why the company's services are so desirable.

Nancy Kerrigan Eyes Rink-Side Return via IPTV

September 10, 2009

We heard this week from iSuppli Corp. that the IPTV market is on track to see subscriber growth of more than 50 percent this year - from 21.3 million in 2008 to 33.3 million in 2009.  
That's not surprising, given the mobility that IPTV services deliver and the ever-increasing strength of wireless networks that deliver video to more and more portable screens, in the form of smartphones, netbooks and other devices. When fourth-generation or "4G" wireless networks see deployment in earnest over the next few years, the rate of adoption for IPTV services surely will get another boost.   And that's great news for tech-savvy sports fans who demand live feeds of their favorite teams and real-time news updates. Imagine what it would be like to be a New York Yankees fan and iPhone user this afternoon, if Derek Jeter were poised to break Lou Gehrig's all-time hits record for the franchise and the captain came to bat during a day game? (He's not - the Yanks take the field versus Baltimore tomorrow at the new stadium tomorrow night.)   Much was made of the technological feat in Beijing last summer that saw Olympic Games organizers work with the IT world to deliver more sports to more screens in real-time than ever before.