CNET First Look
NFL FanVisionThis year's hot piece of stadium gear streams live NFL games and multi-angle instant replay in a compact 4-inch-screened device, available for use at twelve teams' stadiums in 2010. We give it a test drive at the Jets-Patriots game in the Meadowlands.
-Hi! I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor at cnet.com and this is FanVision. Now, if you're an NFL fan or you're a season ticket holder specifically and you go to games, there's a good chance that you're not getting a chance to hear what's going on on the game or be able to get instant replays like you're getting at home. It's great to be at the game, but you get locked out over a lot of the features that you're getting used to, sitting in front of your computer and watching them on HDTV. Well, enter a device like FanVision. These are available this year in 12 NFL stadiums to start and they cost $199 for the unit. What that gets you is a year of service at the home games for this year. You get to keep the device. And then next year, there will be a licensing fee per game per stadium. They'll work that out. But what it gets you when you're in the stadium is the live feed of the game itself the one that you're sitting, watching but that you can also see it here in TV view, plus you can watch a couple of other games around the league that are relevant to the game like divisional matchups. You can hear audio feed of the game that's been played and you'll get instant replays by hitting a dedicated button up here that will show instant replays for each play from up to 5 different field views. Now, the device actually works, as a-- if you wanna get under the hood, as a UHF television. It works over a local UHF channel in the stadium and beams this device streaming it in there giving you all the video feeds. Now, why that matters, have you ever tried using your smartphone in a lot of stadium, it doesn't work a kickoff. Usually, 3G and other bands get overwhelmed and Wi-Fi is usually not that reliable either. Now, this device might look like it came from 2002 before the iPhone or the smartphones existed, but that is almost the kind of the appeal of it. It's definitely durable, feels pretty shockproof, and it's a little bit-- feels a little bit beer and stadium resistant. It has a screen that's 4.3 inches that looks good even in bright light and has a dedicated headphone jack, plus it comes with a pair of noise isolating earbuds that worked pretty well even in loud stadium environments. The unit is not exactly pocket-sized, but it does come with this little clip underlying here that you can wear around your neck. It might look a little silly but it's actually kind of useful, and hey, you can take it to the bathroom with you and watch the game there. Now, when I was at the game, I use the instant replay button to bring up the plays 'cause I'm gonna watch the game itself. But what's really cool about this device is it works pre and post game even in the parking lot because of the UHF range. So, if you're tailgating or you're walking out of the stadium afterwards, you can actually catch the postgame conference or watch other games before the game. The service runs from 1 o'clock games up to the end of the 4 o'clock games. You can follow NFL. So, it's a pretty wide range of content, and with the 6-hour battery life, that will last through the game, plus give you enough of that window. We found that the battery life lasted just enough to be able to work for us. Whether it's worth $199, well, when you consider price of $9 beers and other concessions including very expensive tickets, it might be worth your while especially if you got a couple of people going to the game with you as a fun device that will work a lot better than your smartphone well. In certain stadiums, these are being given out with the highest end tickets of the Jets game. The top $5000 PSL season ticket holders will actually get these units for free this year. Other people are gonna have to pay $199 but even though there are only 6 games left, it might be an interesting value for some. I'm Scott Stein and this is FanVision.