Super Bowl XLIX: Why Tech Changes Everything

BreakingModern — How are you watching Super Bowl XLIX?

To say technology has dramatically changed the way you can choose to watch the big game is an understatement. It has totally altered the entire experience of the Super Bowl since about 1990 or before. Today’s TVs would have blown people’s minds back then.

Take HDTV. HDTV has made TV viewing, the simplest and oldest method of experiencing the Super Bowl, so much more stimulating. Images and motion are clearer and brighter, sounds have more clarity with SurroundSound depth — and there’s huge, vivid screens.

And then there’s the apps …

Super Bowl

The Mobile Super Bowl

But with today’s tech, you don’t necessarily need to find a television in order to experience Super Bow XLIX. It’s simple to find an app that enables watching the game on a PC, Mac, laptop, tablet or cell phone. No one in 1990 (let alone before) could imagine watching the Super Bowl on a telephone — yet today, it’s easy.

NBC, Verizon, Fox and ESPN all have online streaming options and apps that let you see the action and hear the sounds of the big game in real time, all without you being planted in front of a television. This is perfect for today’s on-the-move and intensely private culture. Furthermore, these options are perfect for people who don’t feel the need to own a TV.

Super Bowl

Remote Interactive Super Bowl XLIX Partying

The mobile Super Bowl doesn’t stop there. Today’s cell phones, chat options and social media platforms make it a snap for people who are not in the same place, possibly many thousands of miles apart, to instantly share their Super Bowl experience with each other.

Chat and hangout apps, as well as text messaging, allow you to comment on the game with a remote friend without ever needing pick up the telephone, as you would have had to do 25 years ago. And, of course, Twitter allows you to instantaneously send out a comment on the game to an entire group of people, a group that may be a cast of thousands. Indeed, even the players themselves can Tweet while they’re on the bench waiting to go back on the field — a phenomenon precious few people would have dreamed of in 1990.

With smartphone cameras and social media, people today can instantly upload and transmit photos or short videos that show absent friends and family how they’re partying down at the Super Bowl party … or, if they’re lucky enough, at the game itself.

How the Game is Brought to Fans

Today’s technology also allows more cameras on the field, bringing more viewing angles than ever before. Even people who are actually at the stadium for the Super Bowl can see the instant replays with close-ups, slow motion and freeze framing on giant screens delivered by approximately 30 cameras. The cameras feature computer-controlled fine tuning, and many rely on robotics for swiveling and rotating. The now-familiar “super-duper slow motion” technology which helps viewers “play referee” (and also helps the refs play referee) debuted in 2009.

Super Bowl

And then there’s SkyCam. SkyCam is the most complicated of all the camera systems used at the Super Bowl, but it’s worth it because it shows viewers the best angles and shots ever dreamed of.

Who knows? Maybe 25 years from today football fans will routinely be able to flick a switch or tap a touchscreen and be virtually transported onto the Super Bowl playing field in 3D. But for today, it’s fun to think about how technology has allowed fans to experience the Super Bowl with more depth and excitement than ever before — even for those fans who are actually at the game.

For BMod, I’m

First image credit: Samsung Curved UHD TV” by Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr Creative Commons

Second/Featured image credit: The iOS family pile (2012)” by Blake Patterson - Flickr: the iOS family pile (2012). Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Third image: Screenshot Brant David Courtesy of Cablecom International

Brant David

Author: Brant David

Based in New Jersey, Brant David covers sports and tech lifestyle at BreakingModern. Follow him on Twitter at @mabriant

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