CSTV looks to give coaches, players an ‘Edge’ with portable video

By Carolyn Braff
College Sports Television has come up with the latest in time-efficiency coaching technology, designed for those college football coaches who can barely tear themselves away from game film long enough to board the team bus.

CSTV Edge is designed to let coaches and players quickly transfer game video to Apple video-capable iPods almost immediately after the final whistle blows.

We want players and coaches to be able to look at a play-by-play index of the game right after the game, literally as they walk out of the locker room, explains Brett Shamosh, senior director of multimedia for CSTV and developer of The CSTV Edge. There s a distinct advantage of having something in your mind an hour after it happened, versus traditionally people just wait until Monday.

The CSTV Edge, which is available for the 2006 season, is built around the Apple iTunes interface and designed to err on the side of simplicity. Live video from game film or television broadcasts is simply played through the interface and categorized, play by play, according to the game time, play type, down, and yards to go. Text notes can also be added to any play. Each play is instantly added into a playlist that is transferred to the connected iPods.

It was designed to be that simple, says Shamosh. We speak to a lot of schools, a lot of athletic directors, and a lot of coaches, and they are not necessarily tech-savvy people. An intern, a student, anyone who s familiar with football can sit down and log the plays.

The new coaching tool is also simplistic in its operations, designed deliberately without the capabilities to diagram plays or superimpose images.

We don t intend to compete with in-depth coaching tools on a Monday or Tuesday, explains Shamosh. We want to keep it simple play-by-play and give it to you instantly and portably and on iPods, devices with which most players are already familiar, and coaches can easily learn.

On the iPod interface, each game appears as a video playlist, and each play is listed in chronological order, with the first column designating the play as offense, defense, or special teams.

We feel that coaches and players are going to want to look at things by position, says Shamosh. That s what we see as the advantage here.

The dual hardware/software package, available only directly through CSTV, includes two 13-inch Apple Macbooks, two USB hubs, 10 video iPods, 10 iPod docks, and the cables necessary to connect all of the devices. An unlimited number of iPods can be connected to the system.

The CSTV Edge records in MPEG4 H.264 format and at the highest quality video setting a 10-second play takes approximately 30 seconds to copy onto 60 iPods. Increasing the compression rate (and lowering the video quality) will accelerate the process.

CSTV created the tool to give teams the advantage not only of having access to game film immediately following the game, but also being able to take that game film outside of the viewing room.

If you re on the treadmill, or the bike, or in the weight room, you can be studying, says Shamosh.

Tim Pernetti, EVP, Content, CSTV, and a former Division I tight end at Rutgers University, says the technology will be quickly and widely accepted in college football as its design allows teams to use their travel to and from games more efficiently and productively. With The CSTV Edge, college football players will now be able to instantaneously evaluate individual assignments, mechanics, and team performance, vastly improving the way they analyze and prepare, he adds.

Although the tool was designed for collegiate football programs, The CSTV Edge has identical applicability at the high school and professional levels, and may eventually be adapted for use with other sports.