Intel has teamed with sports Webcasting company OradNet, an offshoot of virtual set manufacturer Orad, to produce the first major use of Intel and Macromedia’s Internet 3-D Web3D technology. The companies have developed a system that allows users to watch football games over the Web in a three-dimensional, graphical rendering that looks a bit like a video game.
Called ToPlay Soccer, the system lets fans watch a game by choosing from multiple camera angles or by focussing on specific players. They can also watch the game from field-level as if they were seeing it through a player's eyes, and watch replays in slow motion, the companies said.
The system puts a Web-based, user-controlled interface onto Orad’s Virtual Replay system, Virtual Replay, aimed at creating sports graphics and effect for television broadcasting, works by capturing the image of a football game through a standard camera, and then translating that image into a graphical rendering that's stored in a database. Under ToPlay Soccer the information in the database is requested by users via a standard Web browser, and delivered to them using the XML programming language in Internet 3-D format.
The companies plan to license the technology to individual football teams, broadcast companies and others, who will offer it to users from their Web sites. It takes providers about 24 hours to convert a full, 90-minute game of soccer into the 3D format, though a 20 second clip can be converted in less than an hour, the companies said.
Providers that offer the service can generate extra revenue by placing clickable banners around the field or putting a brand name on the pitch, much as football teams raise money at real stadiums.
ToPlay Soccer was announced at the Sports Business 2001 conference in London. Users will be able to try the service starting April 30 from OradNet's Web site, officials said.
The system makes use of Intel's Internet 3-D technology, which helps reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to view graphics over the Web by making a PC's processor do more of the work, removing the stress from a user's Internet connection. The technology works over a standard 56k bit-per-second Internet connection, Intel has said. Internet 3-D was unveiled just last week and developed by Intel and Macromedia for use with version 8.5 of Director.