Powered by XOS, Pac-10 Tries HD Instant Replay On for Size

By Carolyn Braff
While high-definition has already become a standard in college football broadcasts, HD-quality instant replay is still the wave of the future — although the future may arrive this evening. During tonight’s USC vs. Oregon State game in Corvallis, OR, XOS Technologies will demo its new HD instant-replay technologies to Pac-10 officials, allowing them to see the HD replay alongside the official SD feed being used by the officiating crew.
“We’ve shown our HD instant replay to all the conference offices that have our instant-replay system in use,” explains Ray Thompson, VP of product marketing for XOS Technologies. XOS currently provides instant-replay services for the Pac-10, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, and Sun Belt conferences. “They all knew it was coming, and the Pac-10 expressed interest in being one of the first ones to potentially adopt it, so they wanted to get an evaluation to see how it works.”
XOS has been coordinating with the Pac-10 office for nearly two months to set up tonight’s evaluation.
The USC-OSU matchup is a perfect testing ground for the new technology, not only because heavily favored USC has lost two of its last three games in Corvallis but also because Oregon State’s instant-replay booth is large enough to accommodate two replay systems side by side, as well as the three XOS officials operating the unit and the Pac-10 officials evaluating the system.
“The ref is not going to use the HD feed, but the Pac-10 Conference officials are going to monitor it and decide if they want to use it,” explains Joe Gill, marketing manager for XOS. “It’s really there for the Pac-10 Conference to take it all in, absorb it, and see how it works.”
With so many college football games already broadcast in HD
including tonight’s, which airs on ESPN
it is only a matter of time before colleges make the same leap to HD instant replay, giving the on-field officials the same looks that viewers get at home. Still, given that the NFL just made the move to HD replay a year ago, tonight’s demo is no small feat.
Should the Pac-10 representatives in the replay booth leave the game unconvinced, at the conclusion of the contest, two DVDs of each officiating call will be sent to the league office: the official SD feed and XOS’s trial HD feed. Watching the content side by side should answer any lingering questions the conference might have.
“If the Pac-10 chooses to adopt it, they’ll be the first college conference to go HD,” Thompson says. And once this one does, the rest are sure to follow.