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This Just In: Streaming Still Has a Long Way to Go

You needn't look long or hard to find evidence that NBC is angering Olympic fans taking to the Web for real-time coverage of the Summer Games in London. Searching for "#nbcfail" and "streaming" on Twitter brings new complaints every few minutes.

But don't take my word for it. Check out these recent comments:

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.These complaints wouldn't be so bad were it not for comments made by Danny Winokur two weeks before the opening ceremony. As Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE) vice president for interactive development, he's a member of the team that built the app for live streaming Olympic coverage on mobile devices.

Source: Twitter.

These complaints wouldn't be so bad were it not for comments made by Danny Winokur two weeks before the opening ceremony. As Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE) vice president for interactive development, he's a member of the team that built the app for live streaming Olympic coverage on mobile devices.

"Since this has never been done, it's a little hard to predict a certain number" of viewers, Winokur told CNN in an interview. "For major events like opening and closing ceremonies, you plan for that peak and build out from there." [Emphasis added.]

Adobe doesn't appear to be taking much heat in the Twitterstream. Perhaps that's fair. Adobe is a software developer, after all, and it's NBC and parent Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA  ) whose servers capture and deliver streams to devices. How they manage traffic plays a huge role in broadcast quality.

Meanwhile, the ferocity of the backlash raises doubts about the business of streaming. Yes, I realize Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) has us watching more than 1 billion hours of on-demand programming monthly. I'm also aware that streaming infrastructure specialist Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) is still growing revenue and earnings at about 20% more than a decade after its founding.

What matters is that Olympic streams aren't being delivered at the pace or quality users expect from a broadcast experience, and that means -- no matter how much any of us want to cut the cord -- we still need traditional cable and satellite providers. Where do you stand? Does NBC deserve the criticism it's getting? What about Adobe? And finally, what about the business of streaming? Are you a believer? Please weigh in using the comments box below.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of, and had a long-term call options position in, Netflix at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix and Adobe Systems and creating a diagonal call position in Adobe Systems. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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