First all high definition Games proving irresistible as viewing figures climb

NBC Universal is attracting an average of 29.1 million US viewers to its coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games, according to figures just released.

While viewership was undoubtedly helped by the extravant opening ceremony and early coverage of US swimming star Michael Phelps, the unprecedented high def footage must take some of the credit.

For the first time by a US broadcaster at a Summer Olympics, NBC is broadcasting the whole Olympic Games entirely in high definition.

This will stretch to some 3,600 hours of Beijing coverage, the most ambitious single media project in history.

The viewing results make it the most highly rated broadcast of the Summer Games held outside the United States since 1976.

A total of 114 million viewers turned on their TVs for at least part of the broadcast in the first two days, about 20 million more than the 2004 games in Athens, NBC said, citing figures from Nielsen Media Research.

Meanwhile, Fuji Television Network and NTT Corp are using the Games to test out “non-compressed HDTV video transmission using a wireless technology based on the 120GHz milliwave band” in live feeds from Beijing events.

By utilising the technology, the duo say they have demonstrated “simultaneous, wireless transmission of multiple HDTV video channels without delay”.

This enables camera-toting employees to capture footage from more places by being able to walk around untethered.

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