IN PICTURES: Behind the scenes at Sky TV's Olympics coverage
"There is no question the coverage has been fantastic and eclipses anything before it ... good job Sky!"Featured comment
Sky TV's Olympics coverage hasn't been without its glitches.
Events have occasionally cut off at odd times, the electronic programme guide (EPG) has been a moving feast as schedules change or events run late, and iSky blacked out at the worst possible time as it got overwhelmed during the men's 100m final.
There have been grumbles about displaced regular content and, in the grand tradition of big sporting events, Keith Quinn's commentary (Keith, if you're out there, I love your work).
And shareholders may catch their breath at the cost of sending 65 staff to London plus, as we'll see below, an "Olympic village" of temporary buildings that has sprung up to house the network's expanded local operation during the games.
A Sky TV rep would not comment on the total cost of the operation, but did say it ran into the millions and was bigger than the World Cup.
Anyway, enough grizzles. Sports fans have also had loads of good feedback – with the only "complaint" often being that they are overwhelmed with choice.
Sky TV says by day 11 it had run 242 hours of Olympic coverage on its Prime free-to-air channel.
TV One had run 139 hours by the same point in 2008.
Then on top of Prime, Sky TV has five dedicated Olympics channels (not counting a highlights channel and a nifty Olympic Mosaic channel  that lets you see thumbnails of everything screening) for Sky Sports subscribers, and eight for those with its HD ticket.
And the usually subscriber-only iSky (delivered over broadband via a Kordia-run content delivery network) has been open to the public for Olympic highlights and catch-up coverage.
Yesterday morning I had a look behind the scenes at Sky TV's famously grungy-on-the-outside, high-tech-on-the-inside headquarters in Mt Wellington.
Here are a few pics from my tour (broadcasting boffins – if you've got a question, leave it in Comments below and I'll relay it Sky.)
Click any image to zoom (and do keep scrolling down for a hint of igloo):
Above and below: the control room for Prime's coverage.
Presenter Melodie Robinson is recharged between Prime Olympic updates.
A close-up on the technical director's desk.
Twin rows of portacabins and containers are used to house the "Olympic Village" in Sky TV's rear carpark, home of all the operations pictured below.
Monitoring the feed from IOC-controlled Olympic Broadcasting Services, which provides the footage used by NBC, Sky TV and other broadcasters worldwide. OBS hasn't always always stuck to its official schedule, meaning some fast footwork has been required by Sky TV producers and those responsible for updating the EPG (electronic programming guide).
Daily meetings between Sky head of sports Kevin Cameron and OBS in London have helped get things on an even keel, the broadcaster says.
"Clippers" take the official Olympics feed, then splice in local content – for example, the fire at Kiwi House this morning, or Nick Willis' interview after his 1500m final. This is a clipper for each Olympics channel, plus a producer and a team of loggers who mark highlights – the better for speedy editing.
It was relatively quiet when NBR visited around midday. Many staff, including Olympic broadcasting veteran Keith Catchpole who is overseeing the operation, are working a 7pm to 7am shift to coincide with the live action in London.
Like a couple of other commentators who couldn't make it to London, Hamish Carter co-commentated the men's triathlon from this tiny sound booth in Auckland.
"This is where most of the money's gone," Sky broadcasting services manager Stephanie Whyte said, ushering NBR ONLINE into a portacabin containing two racks of servers used to ingest and store the avalance of video streaming off the satellite from London, then network it around the village. A lot of the kit is rented from a US provider.
Monitoring Sky's live Olympic broadcasts, including the HD version of Prime (only available to Sky subscribers; Freeview viewers still see the channel in standard definition). Prime returns to SD after the games.
Back iin Sky's main building now (or buildings plural I should say – the pay TV broadcaster now has 1100 staff and has invaded surrounding offices and warehouses; there are also around 50 agency sales staff in Newmarket, closer to the CBD). Above and below: some scenes from the nerve centre of the regular broadcast operation. Above: staff monitor incoming transmission feeds.
One of the many "Pres" suites were channels are put together.
Monitoring live broadcasts.
If you click to enlarge the above photo you'll see that igloo channels are among those that seem to be working hunky dory, broadcasting to around 100 trialists (igloo being the 51% Sky TV, 49% TVNZ joint venture that was due to launch mid-year, and is now looking at a possible early September start date). Could it be that everything is going swimmingly on the technical front, but new TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick has listened to NBR criticism of the recorder-less service (great for upsell to the hard drive-equipped MySky but a dead-end for TVNZ) and is instead taking a look at Freeview's on-demand channel working concept, supported by a faction inside the state broadcaster? Maybe, maybe not.