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

Future Tense
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

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.