Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Best Possible View of What They Can't See

It's not like the National Football League to be bashful about its progress, but maybe commissioner Roger Goodell is the shy type. Starting news about professional football was found buried in the technology section of the April 23rd issue of "Broadcasting and Cable" magazine.

Electronics giant Harris Corp. proudly announced it had signed a contract with the NFL to provide the hardware, software, and services for the league's newest broadcasting project-converting the instant replay system for the officials in all 31 of its stadium to high definition presentation. Welcome to the 21st century, Ed Hochuli!

Harris Corp. stockholder should all name their next child Roger even it's a girl. The size of this transaction is staggering. The expense of converting ONE television studio to high def is enough to gave entire networks the jimjams. The NFL is building 31 of 'em, complete with high definition tapeless camcorders which were only developed around last Thanksgiving. If you ever wondered what happens to all the money the league makes off the Super Bowl, now you know.

There is one aspect of its wonderful new toy that I'm not sure the NFL thought through. The entire point of high def is to give the viewer a picture that's as close to actual reality as possible. In the case of instant replay, it was the officials' view of actual reality that caused the problem necessitating its use in the first place.

Fans are cautioned to expect even longer replay delays thanks to high def. "Wow, this is great!. Come here, Frank, Jimmy, take a look at this picture! Call up to the booth and ask them to run those pictures of whales from the Discovery Channel!"


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