See the Groundbreaking Replay Technology That's Coming to Professional Tennis

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 14 2014 12:20 PM

See the Groundbreaking Replay Technology That's Coming to Professional Tennis

478526869-roger-federer-of-switzerland-returns-a-shot-to-kevin
Roger Federer

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Professional tennis—a sport not exactly defined by its loving embrace of technological advancement—is about to see a big-time upgrade in its television broadcasts. Starting this weekend at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., TennisTV's coverage will feature an innovative type of replay system known as FreeD.

The groundbreaking technology—which has been used to cover the Olympics, NFL, and the NBA's All Star Weekend festivities—provides viewers with a 360-degree view of the action by placing 22 state-of-the-art 5K cameras around the field of play. This allows producers to pause a live action shot and rotate the viewers' POV on any plane, thereby giving the commentators a chance to provide analysis on, say, a Rafael Nadal backhand, while the audience enjoys an unprecedented view of Nadal's hypothetical return.

Advertisement

“This is a world-first for tennis," said Steve Plasto, CEO of ATP Media, the ATP World Tour's media rights distributor, about the implementation of the new replay technology for tour events. "We expect it to be a game changer in the way the sport is covered for broadcast.” 

As the video above shows, the technology definitely brings a lot to the table. It provides a glimpse into the intricacies of the game never before seen on TV and helps to highlight the freakish athleticism of the Federers and Djokovics of the world. At the very least, FreeD should go a long way toward closing the gap that currently exists between tennis broadcasts and the big-budget productions typical of other major professional sports. Plus, it's pretty cool to see Federer's million-dollar serve broken down by the millisecond.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.