Big Score for Super Bowl Viewing Technology

Unless your team makes the big game or you just have more money than you know what to do with, you’re probably resigned to the fact that you’re watching Super Bowl 51 from the comfort of your living room. But we’re about to let you in on a little secret that might just make everyone who bought tickets a little jealous, because this year’s television viewing experience is going to be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Not to mention the fact that you can buy one heck of a 4k or UHD television for less than the price of one Super Bowl ticket.

For this year’s game, FOX has partnered with technology giant Intel to create a new at-home viewing feature called “Be the Player.” And yes, this really is as awesome as it sounds. Now fans will be able to see things as any player (or any person on the field, really) would have seen them for any given play. And before all you purists begin to worry that FOX is going to be cluttering the players’ helmets with some newfangled technology that is going to interfere with their ability to play quality football, take a moment to hear how this all works. It’s pretty amazing and it’s all done without any direct interaction with anyone on the field.

According to Sports Illustrated, Intel has installed nearly 40 5k cameras along the metal structure of NRG Stadium. How this works is that each of these cameras acts like a sensor that transmits visual data back to a server which can quickly synthesize the information to recreate a moment in 3D from any point on the field. So, now you won’t just have to wonder “what was that guy thinking” when your team’s quarterback throws an interception, now you’ll be able to put yourself in his shoes. You might be surprised how different everything looks when you’re actually in the moment, standing on the field with a bunch of defenders coming towards you.

At present, this technology is still very data heavy and does require highly skilled Intel staffers to quickly instruct the computer to stitch together static images into a 360-degree viewing experience, which can take up to several minutes to complete, so no instant replay just yet. But that certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL starts to invest heavily in the development of this technology as it could one day be what is used to review on-field decisions from a variety of different perspectives to ensure the right call is made every time.