NFL taps Harris to provide HD instant replay system for all 31 stadiums

National
Football League (NFL) referees for the first time will be able to
review instant replays with the sharpest images possible thanks to high
definition (HD) technology from Harris Corporation, an
international communications and information technology company. The
NFL has placed an order with Harris for the purchase of hardware,
software and services that will enable the league to upgrade its
officiating instant replay system to HD at its 31 stadiums nationwide.
The instant replay systems are used to help make determinations that
are challenged by coaches and booth reviews.

The order includes 33 Harris
NEXIO HD servers as the primary servers with another 33 providing
redundancy, an HD version of FORCE software (Football Officiating
Replay Challenge Expeditor), routing and distribution gear. The new
NEXIO HD server systems will replace the current analog instant replay
system, which have been in use since 1999. The existing systems have
been based on the Leitch VR-300 server, now considered older
technology. One of these systems will be sent to the Football Hall of
Fame in Canton, Ohio for display purposes. The original system was
developed by Leitch Technology Corporation, a company since acquired by
Harris Corporation.

The
new NEXIO-based HD instant replay system will be deployed and ready
for use at the opening preseason game on August 5th at the Pro Football
Hall of Fame between the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers
on NFL Network.

“The
NFL wanted to move its instant replay systems to next-generation HD
server technology to maintain a continued, high-level of reliability
for future broadcasts,” said Rich Zabel, vice president of sales for
the Eastern region, Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications
Division.

“We
are pleased to upgrade our systems to reflect innovations in
technology,” said Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of
officiating. “The new HD systems will provide our officials with
state-of-the-art equipment to further enhance their ability to make
proper calls.”

“Since
today’s NFL games are being broadcast in HDTV, it was critical to have
this official replay system also support all the major HDTV broadcast
formats,” added Jeff Howard, the NFL’s senior executive of engineering
and broadcast technologies. ”

These
Harris products are a part of an NFL initiative to provide HD upgrades
to the infrastructures of the 31 NFL stadiums nationwide. At each
stadium, the new HD instant replay system will be installed in the
replay booth, which are manned by replay official, a video technician,
a video operator and a communicator.

The
two remaining HD instant replay systems will be used by the NFL to
train officials at its annual officiating clinic, slated for July in
Dallas, and at other training sessions.

“Our
customers are transitioning to HD on a global scale, and we see them
embracing the reliability of our NEXIO HD server technology as they
do,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast
Communications Division. “NEXIO is a reliable technology — with
thousands of channels currently operating at broadcast facilities
worldwide. The NFL has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with
Harris, and Harris met the NFL’s specific needs by working with the NFL
on the FORCE development that customizes the control application for
Instant Replay.”

See Harris Broadcast Communications Division at NAB2007 North Hall, Booth N2502.