Online viewers of the Summer Olympics, will need to download a small plug-in to their computers to watch some 2200 hours of live and on-demand video coverage from Beijing.

The Web application is called Silverlight. It was introduced last year by Microsoft. To check it out, you might want to watch a baseball game this weekend on on

For NBC and the International Olympic Committee, the issue of piracy of the online video coverage is of considerable concern, as Victoria Ho of ZDNet Asia reports today.  She says that NBC is using fingerprint technology and is having discussions with "user generated sites such as YouTube" about using material from the Olympics.

She reports that NBC will use DoubeClick to serve ads into the video streams.

Microsoft has been taking steps to protect the security of content delivered in Silverlight. Earlier this month at the NAB convention in Las Vegas, the company announced a new digital rights management solution.  To get the explanation about Silverlight and DRM, I spoke with Microsoft’s Steven Sklepowich on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

— Andy Plesser