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Enhance Your Experience: Game broadcasts have come a long way

This post is sponsored by Samsung.

Last week in our ‘Enhance Your Experience' post we explored how current information sharing tools such as non-stop sports channels, the internet and more specifically Twitter allowed Heat fans to stay right on top of all the free-agent rumors and news this past summer. This week I'm going to focus on television broadcasts and how they have evolved into a complete in-game experience that we get to enjoy from our own homes.

Thinking about how game broadcasts went back in the 90's, they sure seemed pretty good at the time. But then I thought about all the new things that we have to enjoy while watching the game on TV, and it made those great Heat-Knicks and Bulls-Whoever game broadcasts seem prehistoric.

First of all, if you are anything like me then you'll understand why I have to pay homage to the wonderful, beautiful, amazing thing known as High Definition Television. Crystal clear pictures that make feel like you are watching it from inside the arena. You can actually see individual people in their stats, as opposed to a colorful fuzzy blob that you know is the crowd.

Along with the much better picture, we also have a lot more cameras at games now. For every single NBA game you are guaranteed to get at least 5 different camera angles. The basic shot you see most of the time that captures the full court from the side. You also get a shot from the corners and one from a cameraman sitting on the sideline, usually on some kind of little rolling chair. Then there is the baseline shot, which is from the floor under the basket, and the ‘slam' shot which is the robotic camera on top of the backboard.

Many of the newer arenas have other cameras that are built in, like ones on the bottom of the scoreboard that hovers over center court. All those camera angles allow fans to see great plays from all different perspectives, making things much easier to see and sometimes showing things that would never have been seen otherwise. As you know, even referees will turn to the replay for help with certain calls, like time-related plays or to see if a player was behind the 3-point line.

Along with all those, there is also the roving camera guy. He is key for some of the cooler aspects of current game broadcasts. It allows hosts to do in-game reports from on the court, or if its in between quarters or after a half or game the host will interview players or coaches. This gives fans the chance to hear what their favorite players have to say within seconds of playing the game.

One of the best things that fans get to see is when that camera guy is allowed to film what happens during a timeout when a team is gathered around their coach, watching him draw up a play. To make this a complete viewing experience, it also means that either a microphone is held above the huddle or many times a player or coach will be ‘mic'ed up' for a game.

That lets fans hear what these players or coaches have to say to each other, to the other team, or when they're bitching at the refs (though now that would likely get you a technical foul, as would raising your hands, sneezing or farting in the general direction of a ref). Mic's are just another way that brings a fan watching the game from his home right into the action.

Like with all other advances in sports multimedia, just thinking about how far we have come in a relatively short time makes me excited for what unknown goodies are in store for us in the future. Regardless, the ways they are able to bring fans right into the game is amazing. Many fans wont even bother spending the money to go to a game. Tickets, parking, food...it adds up.

Or they can just stay home in their comfy house, watch the game on a nice HDTV and not worry about spending money on all those extras. I am a guy who absolutely loves going to games and being a part of the crowd, feeling the excitement and electricity of being in a stadium or arena. That being said, I'm never upset about staying home and watching the game on my Samsung LED, with a bathroom and kitchen full of food just a few feet away.

With all the ways that networks try to bring fans at home the best possible game experience, it's hard to be upset about not getting to see a game in person. Staying at home lets you get up to the second stats, lets you hear what players have to say, see replays over and over...the list goes on and on. Even if you are a fan that can never make it to a game, it's hard to be upset with the awesome experience you can still get from the comfort of your own home.