March Madness Goes Online with HD

Last year, nearly 5 million viewers watched more than 5 million hours of online coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, also known as “March Madness”. This year, CBSSports.com is relying on Microsoft’s Silverlight media player to deliver the sights and sounds of the 2009 tournament starting March 19. Coverage will include all 63 games, all for free. Check out ncaa.com/mmod for more information and to download the player.

March Madness is available online for free, and in HD.

The player will have the familiar “Boss Button” (can anybody say with a straight face that this won’t impact productivity?), but the other feature to note is that video quality will be tied to bandwidth. If you have 550 Kbps bandwidth for your Internet connection, you can watch the standard quality. If your broadband gives you 1.5 Mbps or better, however, you get to watch in “high quality”. The CBSSports press release does not specifiy the resolution of the better image, but does mention “high-definition quality” in the “enhanced” player so it sounds as though you’ll get an HD image.

Now might be a good time to figure out how to connect your notebook computer to that big screen or projector in the conference room. Of course, you’ll only watch during your lunch hour, right?