Intel wants to turn instant replays into a multibillion-dollar VR business

Intel is video-gamifying the NFL with its True View cameras that transform normal videos into 360-degree, 3D VR experiences.

Yesterday, live audiences watched Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley sprint down FedExField for a 40 yard touchdown against the Washington Redskins. Minutes later, 2 Intel engineers released a fully immersive, 360-degree replay

This “True View” replay system is part of the chipmaker’s plan to transform the humble instant replay into a multibillion-dollar VR industry. But, this virtual world looks a lot less like reality.

Designers used to make video games look more like real life…

Now, they’re making real life look more like video games. Intel records 3D video footage with 38 HD cameras installed in a ring around NFL football fields and then processes a terabyte of data to construct a 15-30 second clip.

The result is a 360-degree video that can be frozen and viewed from any angle, just like a video game.

Intel currently uses pros to edit its replays, but it plans to make its VR systems available in real-time to let viewers choose their angle. 

A virtual-reality Hail Mary

Intel’s making a big bet that VR technology will score an easy touchdown with viewers. In 2016, it acquired Israeli startup Replay Technologies, and since then it’s installed its True View systems in 13 NFL stadiums and partnered with Paramount Pictures and ESPN.

But, the company has already scaled back ambitious plans to create a VR headset that lets viewers “go anywhere on the field… with maybe a two-second delay” due to low demand, and the payoff from Intel’s investment is still under official review.

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