Imagine seeing up close how NFL quarterback Tom Brady avoids a linebacker barreling down on him as he throws a game-winning touchdown pass -- or how he scarfs down a pancake.
Intel is giving a glimpse of its new 360-degree replay technology called "Be The Player," debuting at this year's Super Bowl LI by featuring Brady in a funny 30-second commercial. The New England Patriots star is seen waking up, brushing his teeth and making breakfast, complete with the tagline: "Intel replay 360 makes anything look epic."
And just as the ever-competitive Brady beats his dog to devour a pancake that falls to the floor, the camera spins around to show crumbs falling from his mouth.
"This feature is going to be the football fan's ultimate dream," said Jeff Hopper, general manager of strategy for Intel's Sports Group. "It's going to be like if you're right on the field seeing why Brady threw that pass, right from his point of view."
That's if Brady's heavily favored New England Patriots can make it all the way to Super Bowl LI in Houston on Feb. 5. The team must first beat the upset-minded Houston Texans in an AFC divisional playoff game on Saturday.
"I'm excited for the potential of this incredibly unique 360 replay technology to transform the viewing experience for sports fans," Brady said Thursday in a statement.
The 360 replays, which are already used in National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball games, could be the star of the Super Bowl. The replay feature comes as the NFL is trying to boost ratings after last year's big game in the heart of tech-rich Silicon Valley, attracted 112 million viewers, a reported 2 percent dip from the previous two years. Overall, NFL TV ratings are down this season as many fans are turning to streaming games online or simply just watching highlights.
To bring "Be the Player" to life, Intel has installed 38 separate 5K resolution cameras inside Houston's NRG Stadium, creating a "volumetric capture," Hopper said. The cameras will be connected by five miles of fiber optic cables to a control room where a half-dozen Intel producers will be working with Fox Sports, which is airing the game, to sort out which replays to show.
"The magic will start in the control room that will then take fans right onto the field and inside the players' head," said James Carwana, general manager of Intel's Sports Group.
Only the biggest plays, expected to be around 20, will get the 360-degree treatment, Carwana added. With each replay using about 1 terabyte of data, it could take up to two minutes to get the replays ready for broadcast.
But after testing the technology across 15 stadiums during the NFL regular season, Carwana said he knows it will be worth it.
Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility. Check it out here.
Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET here.