NewTek’s 3Play Tips Off With NBA D-League Finals
By John Rice
The NBA Development League (D-League) Finals this week mark the first commercial use of NewTek’s new 3Play multichannel HD/SD slow-motion replay system. The NBA is live-streaming the best-of-three finals between the Colorado 14ers and the Utah Flash.
Shawn H. Smith, VP of business development/chief marketing officer for the NBA Development League, says the implementation of 3Play is “really a game-changer for us because it allows us to show the key moments of the game” game-changing moments” without our fans’ ever missing a moment of the finals. It essentially creates a new model for our live sports. It increases the efficiency of what our teams do and how they produce the broadcasts. [3Play] increases the efficiency of the quality of the content we can deliver to our fans.”
The NBA D-League tested 3Play during the NBA All Star events in Phoenix in February, where it “exceeded our expectations,” says Smith. “It was still in beta [at that time],” says NewTek SVP of Strategic Development Philip Nelson. “The D-League Finals is the first major event since we started shipping.” He calls 3Play “replay reinvented. In sports, replay is [now] a necessity. It’s not just added value, it’s expected.
“HD on multisource instant replay has been out of the reach of a lot of projects because of the cost,” he adds. 3Play offers three channels of HD and four digital or analog audio streams per input. The system is available in an HD/NTSC SD version for $21,995. A multistandard international version carries a $24,995 price tag. “The price point is unheard of for this technology,” says Nelson. “It’s turnkey. Plug in the monitor, give it some sources, and you are ready to go.”
(Nelson will also be directing and TDing tonight’s game.)
Although the NBA D-League is using 3Play in conjunction with NewTek’s TriCaster for Web streaming, Nelson says the 3Play is really “designed more for broadcasting than streaming. It’s always recording.” The system offers more than 20 hours of storage.
This season, the NBA D-League became the first sports league to offer all of its games free of charge via live streaming. Although free registration was required initially, Shawn Smith says that, about two weeks ago, the registration requirement was dropped.
The NBA Development League, considered the minor league for the NBA, began in 2001 with eight teams. In 2005, it was expanded to 15 teams to develop it into a true minor-league farm system with each D-League team formally affiliated with one or more NBA teams. The 2008-09 season roster included 16 teams throughout the U.S.
The D-League final began on April 22 with the Colorado 14ers defeating the Utah Flash 136-131 in OT. Game 2 tips off at 9 p.m. ET tonight in Denver. Game 3, if necessary will be played on Monday April 27, also in Colorado.
The live stream and archived past contests can be accessed at http://www.nba.com/dleague/news/dleague_webcasts.html.