04.09.2007 12:00 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NFL mandates instant replays in HD

The NFL has agreed to install HD equipment in each stadium so referees can view plays with much better resolution than they ever had access to before.

In a recent 30-2 vote (with the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals with the dissenting votes), the league mandated that HD technology be added to each stadium at a cost of between $250,000 to $300,000 per team.

Since the league approved the use of instant replay technology before the 2004 season, football referees have watched the replays in SD. Now, with the replays being used to make game-making decisions, the use of HD imaging will give the officials a much clearer view of plays under review.

The decision means that cabling and monitors required for HD playback will be installed in 29 stadiums in time for the 2007 season. Two stadiums — Texas Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys, and Giants Stadium, shared by the New York Giants and Jets, won't be required to upgrade their equipment because they are getting new stadiums.

Rich McKay, president and general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, said the HD upgrade was necessary because the replay equipment the league was using had become dated.

The league would not comment on specific equipment suppliers and model numbers to be used, but the new HD system will include a video server and control panel like the ones now used for instant replays.

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