New TSN/RDS Immersive In-Game 5G Experience Lets Hockey Fans Choose Their Own Angle
New feature in the app leverages 80+-camera 4DReplay system at Bell Centre
Montreal Canadiens fans can now control how they watch the action on the ice like never before, courtesy of the new TSN 5G View/Vision 5G RDS experience in the TSN/RDS app. The experience teams Bell Canada’s 5G mobile network with 4DReplay’s 80+-camera system at Montreal’s Bell Centre to allow users of the TSN and RDS apps to rotate around the bowl and zoom in and out seamlessly at any time during live coverage of home games.
“We believe this is transformational for the sports-viewing experience,” says Bell Mobility President Claire Gillies. “It’s really the first of its kind. We thought, ‘How do we revolutionize the sports-viewing experience?’ and this is what we came up with. It is an entirely different viewing experience for consumers that puts the control in their hands. Now I, as a sports fan, get to see what the goalie sees and what the shooter sees. I’ve always seen only what the broadcasters choose to show me, but now I actually get to control what I see.”
In the App: Choosing Your Own Angle
TSN 5G View and Vision 5G RDS, which debuted during the Canadiens-Canucks game on March 19, is a live interactive feature that enables users to seamlessly navigate among various angles around the ice, rewind/pause/rewatch a play in slo-mo, and zoom in at any time during a live game.
“As you’re moving your finger within the app,” says Gillies, “it is so seamless that the consumer doesn’t even know they’re moving from camera to camera. One minute, you are looking over the goalie’s left shoulder, and then you drag your finger to the right, and now you are behind his right shoulder. It’s just rotating camera to camera, but you would never know. There’s no lag, there’s no jitter, there’s no jumping; it just moves.”
In addition, 5G View on-demand highlights provide the same immersive capabilities as the live interactive view, with showcased highlights during the broadcast (especially on official review) and postgame. A time-slice feature also allows the user to rewind up to four minutes within the game.
“If you’re watching a game and the [officials] have to send it upstairs to review the play,” Gillies explains, “you can select your own view to see that play and review it yourself.”
In the Arena: 4DReplay Surrounds the Ice
The experience is made possible by 4DLive, the latest technology innovation from 4DREPLAY that provides live interactive time-slice video and multi-view camera options for fans to customize their viewing experience on their mobile devices.
The 4DReplay system featuring more than 80 time-slice cameras has been installed around the bowl at Bell Centre. In addition, 1,500 meters of fiber, 96 dedicated servers, and a specialized control center serve the TSN 5G View/Vision 5G RDS experience.
“All around that perimeter,” says Gillies, “more than 80 cameras capture every angle, with a concentration in three key areas: the hot zones in front of the goals and at center ice. Within the app, you can drag your finger to move to different places on the ice and rotate around the ice seamlessly, with no lag from camera to camera.”
Development on 5G View began more than 18 months ago, when Bell Canada was looking to leverage its 5G mobile network to create a new kind of experience for sports fans.
“We were looking at some different applications that we had seen and looking at our assets,” Gillies explains. “We knew we were going to have a 5G network, we have great relationships with multiple teams, and we have incredible media assets in TSN and RDS. How can we bring all this together to do something that is compelling and start to deliver on all the hype surrounding 5G? We teamed up with 4DReplay, and this is what came out of it.”
“Testing was very challenging,” notes Gillies, “because we didn’t have sports teams in the arena for the majority of the time. But we were able to heavily test every aspect: the media integration, the wireless integration, the broadcast elements, everything. When you put something like this to the market, we want to make sure that it is consistent with Bell’s reputation of delivering superior products and experiences.”
TSN and RDS analysts are using the 4DReplay system for in-game and studio analysis throughout Canadiens broadcasts.
“4DREPLAY is proud to partner with TSN and RDS to bring a new and immersive viewing experience to hockey fans through our 4DLive technology,” says Hongsu Jung, CEO of 4DREPLAY. “Working with TSN and RDS provides 4DREPLAY with a significant platform to showcase the immersive and interactive power of 4DLive for wide adaption of this technology in North America.”
The 5G Factor: Going From Hype to Reality
The 5G View experience is available to TSN and RDS subscribers on the Bell 5G network with a 5G device for selected Montreal Canadiens home-game broadcasts on TSN/RDS within the team’s designated broadcast region (Québec, Atlantic Canada, and Eastern Ontario).
“Essentially, all 80 cameras are being broadcast to your device,” Gillies says, “so you need a 5G connection or a really high-quality Wi-Fi network using your 5G device.
Although 5G has been a major buzzword in the sports-media industry for years, this 5G View technology represents one of the first real-world product offerings for sports fans. One example was Fox Sports’ usage of the Samsung Galaxy 5G View app at the World Series last year. Powered by 4DLive, the 5G View app also allowed fans to live stream games to mobile, rotate their camera angle, zoom in/out, choose multiple camera angles, and watch on-demand highlights. However, the permanent installation of the system and Bell Centre marks a longer commitment and a big step forward for 5G View experiences.
“What is 5G all about? Speed, low latency, capacity. This takes advantage of all the attributes of 5G and provides consumers with something brand-new,” says Gillies. “This is just one of many things you’re going to see come to market, and there are infinite possibilities when it comes to 5G for video and streaming, gaming, AR and VR, industrial applications, smart cities, and so much more.”
She adds that TSN 5G View/Vision 5G RDS will expand to more sports events, teams, and venues over time, as well as to properties beyond sports.
“Obviously, we’re not just keeping this in Montreal,” she says. “Over time, we’ll look at a few different things: what other venues, what other sports, and what other activities [can use this technology]? You can imagine being able to see a concert like this and seeing your favorite star on a stage and controlling the perspective from where you’re watching. There are lots of different extensions and applications of this particular use case that we’ll bring to life in the coming months.”