SVG Year In Review: Wireless HD, 3D HD top technology innovations list for 2007

2007 once again showed that sports broadcasting is a driver of technology innovation as a number of broadcast firsts will no doubt change the nature of all future sports broadcasts. Here with is a quick overview of some of the top innovations, from wireless HD to 3D HD and beyond.

At the end of January, for example, CBS Sports began its PGA Tour coverage with a new wrinkle: wireless HD microwave systems at the Buick Invitational from Torrey Pines golf course in La Jolla, CA. Not only did the technology meet expectations but it exceeded them, as transmission latency was nearly half of what it was in tests during the summer of 2006.

A little more than two weeks later the NASCAR season revved up with its largest broadcast sports compound ever, featuring more than 22 remote production trucks as both Fox Sports and ESPN looked to make every telecast a high-def dream, complete with HD in-car cameras. NEP’s SS21 unit was the most impressive new gadget, with four mobile units ensuring ESPN keeps up with the nation’s fastest drivers.

That same weekend in Las Vegas the NBA did its part by debuting 3D HD coverage of the NBA All-Star game weekend festivities during a closed-circuit broadcast at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. With the help of Bexel, Sony, and PaceHD the NBA delivered 3D HD signals across town from the Thomas and Mack Center via fiber. It was such a hit that it was used again during the NBA Finals to let fans in Cleveland see the Cavaliers in 3D HD while they were in San Antonio losing to the Spurs.

Doppler radar technology made its debut in golf coverage, put to use by ESPN on ABC to show the trajectory and velocity of shots on the sixth and 16th holes. Open coverage also featured Golf Trak, created by New Zealand-based Animation Research, Ltd.’s Virtual Eye sports division, uses the latest aerial photogrammetry to build 3D real-time virtual animation of every hole at Carnoustie Golf Links.

In July wireless HD once again changed the sports TV production landscape as it was used by France Televisions to deliver Tour de France coverage in full HD glory. Wireless HD links got pictures from cameras on motorcycles and helicopters back to the broadcast facilities.

Golf fans in August were treated to another new innovation: Swingvision, the Super-slow motion system that can shoot up to 1,000 frame per second. CBS Sports, BSI and Tech Imaging Services managed to find a bright spot, literally, as the ample sunshine allowed a new portable version of Swingvision to shine in all of its super, duper slow-mo glory.

The NFL, continuing a move towards building a global presence, held the first regular season NFL game in London on Oct. 26, challenging both Fox Sports and CTV OB to transform a soccer stadium into a venue that is American football friendly. Toss in dealing with a wide variety of formats and standards and all involved had their hands full.

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