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NFL Officials to Use Harris Corporation High Definition Systems


LAS VEGAS — National Football League (NFL) referees will be soon be using high definition (HD) technology from Harris Corporation.

The NFL has placed an order with Harris for the purchase of hardware, software and services that will enable the league to upgrade its officiating instant replay system to HD at its 31 stadiums nationwide. The instant replay systems are used to help make determinations that are challenged by coaches and booth reviews.

The order includes 33 Harris® NEXIO™ HD servers as the primary servers with another 33 providing redundancy, an HD version of FORCE software (Football Officiating Replay Challenge Expeditor), routing and distribution gear. The new NEXIO™ HD server systems will replace the current analog instant replay system, which have been in use since 1999. The existing systems have been based on the Leitch VR-300 server, now considered older technology. One of these systems will be sent to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio for display purposes. The original system was developed by Leitch Technology Corporation, a company since acquired by Harris Corporation.

The new NEXIO™-based HD instant replay system will be deployed and ready for use at the opening preseason game on August 5th at the Pro Football Hall of Fame between the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers on NFL Network.

“The NFL wanted to move its instant replay systems to next-generation HD server technology to maintain a continued, high-level of reliability for future broadcasts,” said Rich Zabel, vice president of sales for the Eastern region, Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division.

“We are pleased to upgrade our systems to reflect innovations in technology,” said Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of officiating. “The new HD systems will provide our officials with state-of-the-art equipment to further enhance their ability to make proper calls.”

“Since today’s NFL games are being broadcast in HDTV, it was critical to have this official replay system also support all the major HDTV broadcast formats,” added Jeff Howard, the NFL’s senior executive of engineering and broadcast technologies. "

These Harris products are a part of an NFL initiative to provide HD upgrades to the infrastructures of the 31 NFL stadiums nationwide. At each stadium, the new HD instant replay system will be installed in the replay booth, which are manned by replay official, a video technician, a video operator and a communicator.

The two remaining HD instant replay systems will be used by the NFL to train officials at its annual officiating clinic, slated for July in Dallas, and at other training sessions.

“Our customers are transitioning to HD on a global scale, and we see them embracing the reliability of our NEXIO™ HD server technology as they do,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division. “NEXIO™ is a reliable technology -- with thousands of channels currently operating at broadcast facilities worldwide. The NFL has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Harris, and Harris met the NFL’s specific needs by working with the NFL on the FORCE development that customizes the control application for Instant Replay.”


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