Monday, December 04, 2006

Ashes players in the hot spot

It's 100 percent accurate and is mainly used to track fighter jets and tanks. No, this isn't the Army's blog. Yes, Channel 9 has added to the various cricketing TV gimmicks with the new 'Hot Spot' technology.

The kit was picked up from Paris in time for the first Test and has already been crucial in a number of replays. It uses two infra-red cameras positioned above the field of play which sense and measure heat from friction generated by a collision. A black and white negative image of the incident is then generated into a computer which shows the ball’s precise point of contact. (These pictures were taken off the TV, but you should get the drift).

I watched a morning's worth of Channel 9's coverage the other day and witnessed Justin Langer's edge to slip. Hot Spot was summoned and it showed a great series of images where the ball was tracked right onto the shoulder of Langer's bat. It's the best gadget yet and the Nine network continues to impress.

Oh, and I hear the slow motion theme music is 7 Mile by Grooveyard, while Nine's main cricket song is the theme music from an Australian detective series called Bluey...

Watching Nine's coverage can be infuriating as adverts roll in after every over, but that's the only gripe (am I right?). One such advert which has been heavily promoted features Australian swimmer Grant Hackett and the channel's coverage of the national trials in Brisbane. National trials!

The ad serves up gladiatorial-type music, muscular bodies and, like the Ashes battle, says to the viewer: "Bring it on". It sums up Australia's attitude to sport.

A colleague here told a TV news reporter how ITN doesn't even have a sports desk and the Aussie was rightly flabbergasted; every channel here has a nightly round-up and spotlights everything. As far as UK swimming is concerned, a grim Sunday afternoon on the box featuring our British swimmers compete in the pool at Sheffield is, unfortunately, a turn-off. That's the difference.