football kick football kick Replay Technologies' 360-degree instant-replay system has been used by several major sports leagues. (Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr)

FreeD technology puts a 360-degree spin on instant replays

Startup lets TV viewers watch sports highlights in slow motion from every angle.

An Israeli startup called Replay Technologies is changing the way we watch professional sports on TV.

You may have already seen its freeD technology in use during broadcasts of New York Yankees games, for which Replay, in conjunction with YES Networks, received a New York Emmy award in the Technical Achievement category.

FreeD (short for "free dimensional video") allows fans to see a replay from every possible angle in slow motion, and the resulting visual effect looks like something straight out of the "Matrix" trilogy.

freeD instant replayMajor League Baseball uses the freeD instant-replay system to get a 360-degree view of home plate. (Photo: Vimeo)

At the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans in February 2014, millions of TV viewers got to experience freeD technology during both the All-Star Game and the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

The Smoothie King Center in New Orleans was equipped with 22 high-speed, UltraHD cameras. With five times the resolution of regular high-definition, these cameras capture and store 3D pixels in a freeD database, which can be used by a computer to render a virtual 3D model of the action for replay.

UltraHD cameraOne of 22 UltraHD cameras placed around the Smoothie King Center for the NBA All-Star Weekend. (Photo: Replay Technologies)

Fast Company magazine, which ranked the company as No. 4 on its 2014 list of The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Sports, said Replay Technologies “turns sports highlights into jaw-dropping 360-degree clips.”

Replay Technologies has ongoing partnerships with Yankee Stadium in New York, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to televise NFL, MLB and NCAA football and basketball games.

The company’s first major-league gig came several months after its founding in 2011, when the London Olympics committee helped it secure an investment to create a prototype of the freeD technology to use during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Olympic gymnastics events, broadcast by NBC on international television, marked the official introduction of freeD technology to the world.

“It was the first time the public saw and accepted 3D reconstructed scenes as reality, and it had details and angles never seen before,” Replay Technologies Chief Technology Officer Mateo Shapira told NoCamels.

The company, which this year raised $9 million from investors, hopes to integrate with smart TVs by 2016.

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