Indy Cars Adopt NASCAR Technology

Coverage of auto racing's IndyCar Series on ABC and ESPN will soon feature the same Sportvision car-tracking technology that NASCAR broadcasts have used for years. Beginning with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26, all IndyCar Series races on ESPN and ABC Sports, including the Indy 500, will feature Sportvision's RACEf/x system. RACEf/x uses a combination of on-board Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) computers, trackside data receivers and specialized cameras to provide viewers with graphic effects and data that allows them to better follow the action.

RACEf/x's featured “pointer” graphic will identify the Indy cars and track them as they race in excess of 220 miles per hour. The on-board GPS system captures all telemetry and positioning, including speed, acceleration/deceleration, time behind the leader, exact car position and RPM (revolutions per minute).

RACE/fx will incorporate elements unique to Indy Racing League coverage, including measuring the “G-force” exerted on the driver in a turn. Beginning with the Indy 500, viewers will also be able to track real-time data of any car competing in the race on

“Fans will be able to better identify the drivers and will have vital information—the same information that the drivers and their crews have,” says Rich Feinberg, senior coordinating producer for ESPN and ABC Sports.

Snell Launches Format-Conversion Product

U.K.-based Snell & Wilcox, known for proprietary hardware such as video upconverters and format converters, is introducing a software-based video-conversion platform named Helios. Helios is designed to convert video to whatever format is required, whether it be HDTV or low-res video on a cellphone, and also process audio tracks and metadata.

“It's anything in, anything out,” says VP of Marketing Joe Zaller, who notes that Helios brings Snell's compression- and signal-processing expertise into the file-based domain.

The product will run on generic, open-standards-based IT hardware and support the Windows operating platform initially, and Linux later this year.