As we told you about previously, the NBA debuted a whole new way of broadcasting their game last night for HDTV owners. I caught it and came away pretty impressed. The angle provided by the two SkyCams was far superior to the usual camera angles used. It brought you in a lot closer to the floor and made it feel like sitting close to courtside instead of simply being in the arena way up in the upper deck.

One of my complaints about NBA broadcasts in high definition in the past has been how far out the cameras zoomed. There was often too much empty court or stands in the view and the players seemed small and far away (although amazingly detailed). Maybe having a bigger TV would have helped, but I don't and so I'm complaining. With these new camera angles I did not have that complaint at all.

(Sorry about the painfully SD screenshot, but hopefully you can get an idea of the angle as Chris Wilcox goes in for a dunk)


Even when the players were on the other side of the court, I could better appreciate the speed and athleticism almost as well as if I was present. I went to a couple Detroit Pistons games last month with seats in a similar area and the new cameras compared quite favorably. Check out these screens as Ray Allen shots a jumper over Rasho Nesterovic, and then later the Sonics get out on a fast break.


My only complaint was that the cameras did sometimes have a noticeable vibration. It wasn't horrible but could be disconcerting. I don't know how much they can do to alleviate that, but it was the only negative I noticed. The new cameras are almost like watching a videogame; they are impossibly close to the action and always well focused. I certainly hope we get more broadcasts like this in the future from NBA TV and others. It brought me back to the old days (mid-90's, I'm not that old) of NBC and Marv Albert, they would constantly use cameras at the sidelines and baselines during the game to give a close up view of the players.

Did anybody else see the game, and what do you think of the new camera system?

Update:
As Travis reminded me below, I forgot to mention the unique audio portion of the game, featuring no commentators, only arena sounds.

It was very similar to their previous silent game. All you heard was the stadium announcer and court sounds.That was excellent as well. They kept the score and ticker viewable so you could see various stats during the game. While you could hear the crowd and arena music, it never overpowered the sounds of balls bouncing and sneakers squeaking. It was great. They also fixed one of my criticisms of the silent game, the segue into a commercial break. Instead of just jumping suddenly, they faded in the music indicating they were going to commercial. It was a small touch but it helped.

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Did you catch the NBA's dual SkyCam special HDTV broadcast?