2008 Olympics tech by the numbers: 100% high-def, unprecedented online streaming

When the 2008 Summer Olympic Games officially begin on Friday, it won't just be a massive congregation of athletes — it'll mark the most ambitious undertaking in the history of broadcasting. Bolstered by the largest complement of high-tech video gear ever assembled, thousands of hours of Olympics competition will be delivered to TVs and computers all over the world. And it will be the first Olympics to be covered entirely in high definition.

Along with all those superlatives come some remarkable numbers, including unprecedented fleets of cameras, remote trucks, gigantic facilities and thousands of people making this all happen. China will be supplying tons of HD gear to cover the games, and our sister company, NBC (which has the exclusive U.S. TV rights), is spending some big bucks to impress us all in what amounts to a billion-dollar TV production test laboratory to see what works and what doesn't.

Hit the Continue jump below to get an idea of the tremendous numbers of tech, people, money, and gadgetry involved in putting together this upcoming 17-day production, the largest the world has ever known.

$4.2 billion Olympic rights package that extends to Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012

$1 billion in ad revenue from the Beijing games

$900 million for the rights to the Beijing Games

203 million viewers watched last Olympics, this one should be even bigger than that

$40 million investment from China for HD equipment

$5 Million spent by Obama campaign on Olympics ads

75,000 square footage of NBC's International Broadcast Center

20,000 journalists

3,600 total hours of HD programming

3,000 hours of on-demand video including highlights and encores

2,900 hours of live broadcast coverage

2900 NBC Universal personnel in Beijing; over 1100 of that group are local Chinese citizens

2,200 hours of live streaming broadband coverage

1080 scan lines for the HDTV production, interlaced (1080i) at 50 Hertz

1,000 HD cameras provided by Beijing Olympic Broadcasting (BOB)

800 hours of HD broadcast coverage

700 NBC staffers working on the Olympics at network HQ in New York

500 terabytes of disk storage — a half a million gigabytes (or a half-petabyte)

224 terabytes of storage just for the Avid editing facilities

170 Sony XDCAM HD recording decks

100 outbound video feeds from Beijing to NBC New York, compared with 13 from Athens, 4 from Sydney

100% produced in HD, a first for a U.S. broadcaster in the Summer Olympics (50% of 2006 Torino games was produced in HD)

70 "up close and personal" features about the athletes, less than years past

60 mobile units provided by Beijing Olympic Broadcasting (BOB)

48 EVS XT servers to "ingest" live video feeds

42 Sony HDC-1400 studio cameras

40 Web-dedicated streams from the NBC "Streaming Factory" in Beijing

35 Olympic sports

34 seats of Avid Symphony Nitris and Media Composer nonlinear editing software

30 Sony PDW-700 camcorders

25 sports covered

17 days of Olympic games

12 hours of difference between Beijing time and Eastern Daylight Time

1 News anchor (Brian Williams), reporting NBC Nightly News from Tiananmen Square

1 Prime time NBC sports anchor, Bob Costas

0 minutes of standard-definition coverage

Via Broadcasting & Cable, NBC Olympics, Internal NBC sources