UPDATE: To find out where to watch the 2010 NCAA tournament, go here.
So live video has finally, finally come to YouTube this morning. CBS has embedded its Silverlight March Madness bracket and live game coverage directly onto a YouTube channel. Go to http://www.youtube.com/marchmadness to check it out. Butler-LSU just started, and it looks great. The Silverlight player looks exactly the same as on the free March Madness on Demand site — it’s just on YouTube. Archived videos on the page appear to be hosted by YouTube.
YouTube has not offered live video to its users, in part because it would be a serious infrastructure demand and expense with the site’s massive audience. But we’ve heard from people at the company who were upset they missed out on big live video events like the Obama Inauguration. Not being able to participate in real-time kind of steals the biggest video site in the world’s thunder. YouTube used Akamai to live stream its own user festival to hundreds of thousands of viewers last year, but that seems to have been a one-off.
It’s also worth noting that, until today, YouTube has mandated that content providers use its own player and hosting service. If the site becomes more flexible about allowing outside players and hosting, it could have a lot more luck negotiating with major media companies.
It’s also pretty funny that Microsoft is powering Google’s first real live video offering. And we just saw a promo for CBS’s competing video site TV.com.