Intel Buys Replay Technologies' 360-degree freeD Format To Deliver Immersive Sports Experiences

Intel is very much an active participant in the immersive 3D category with its RealSense technology, though it has bigger and more ambitious plans. To put those plans in motion, Intel today announced that it's acquiring Replay Technologies, an Israeli startup that specializes in sports replay technologies that allows viewers to re-watch highlights in 360 degrees.

If you watched the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities last month, then you would have caught a glimpse of the company's proprietary "free dimensional" or "freeD" video technology. It was mostly utilized during the slam dunk contest. During replays of spectacular throw downs, TNT would pause the action to seemingly rotate the feed, giving viewers a panoramic view of the person attempting a fancy dunk suspended in mid-air.

freeD dunk

What you were actually viewing was a 3D video rendering of the court using 28 ultra high-definition cameras positioned around the arena. Those cameras were connected to Intel-based servers running 6th Generation Core processors (Skylake), which Intel says freeD is optimized for.

Intel was so excited about the possibilities of its collaboration with Replay Technologies that it went and signed an agreement to buy the startup. Going forward, Intel plans to create a new Immersive sports category.

"Immersive sports requires the high-performance computing Intel is known for, and it’s also data driven – fueling the continued build out of the cloud. For athletes, coaches, broadcasters and fans, the ability to capture, analyze and share data adds compelling new dimensions to the game," Intel said.

The initial focus will be on delivering faster freeD processing (perhaps with Xeon processors) and introducing new features to manipulate and edit personalized content. From there, it will be up to Intel and its partners to figure out new and interesting applications for freeD.