As the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver get kicked off today, users of the Windows 7 operating system can download a free theme pack from Microsoft to help mark the event. The Winter Sports theme for Windows 7 is available as a free download via the Windows Personalization Gallery and is designed to integrate exclusively with the latest iteration of the Windows client. As users will notice immediately, the content is provided by Samsung, which is a mobile-phone partner of the US Olympic team.
Samsung is the latest company to take advantage of a pilot program run by Microsoft Advertising and designed to let customers take advantage of the Windows Personalization Gallery and Windows 7 for brand advertising. Windows 7 users are also able to download themes featuring content from CocaCola, Pepsi, Ducati, Ferrari, Infinity, Porsche, etc. One thing that users need to be aware of the Samsung Winter Sports theme is the fact that the wallpapers contained are tailored to wide-screens.
Of course, the Samsung Winter Sports is not the only way in which Microsoft is making the 2010 Olympic Games available to end users. The Redmond company has worked with NBC on putting together the NBCOlympics.com. Via Silverlight, sports fans will be able to watch on-demand and live video of the games in high definition.
“It’s really been amazing to see that partnership and friendship with NBC grow over the last year and a half,” Jason Suess, principal technical evangelist for Silverlight, said. “I expect many more events as our partnership gets tighter and tighter.”
Microsoft also provided access to online coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for NBC for 52.1 million people, who watched 9.9 million hours of video. Now, with the combination of Silverlight and Smooth Streaming, NBCOlympics.com is capable of delivering video content in resolutions of up to 720p. “After Beijing, what we heard loud and clear was if you can provide a higher quality experience, users will definitely spend more time in that experience,” Suess added.