Saturday, June 11, 2011

TNT Brings Online Innovation To NASCAR


Nothing brings the disparity of what is vs. what could be more into focus than these next six Sprint Cup Series races. TNT and Turner Sports have been pushing the online video envelope over the past several years, but this summer is going to be off the chart.

Monday the details began coming out about the TNT races, but the real item that grabbed hardcore fans was the Internet expansion. FOX just completed its portion of the Sprint Cup Series season without any online video and it looks like the final seventeen races on ESPN will be the same way.

Meanwhile, this summer Turner will use the NASCAR.com website to launch a newly renovated RaceBuddy application. Once again provided free of charge, here are the details from the media release:

This season, fans can choose from a total of ten camera views, twice as many as last year,including two Mosaics. Eight individual camera angles include four In-Car Driver Cams, up from one cam last year, two Battle Cams highlighting head-to-head competition between drivers, a Backstretch Cam and a Pit Road Cam. The two Mosaic Views allow fans to view four streams at once. Returning features to the site include the DVR Function, an Enhanced LIVE Leaderboard and RaceView’s position tracker.

The availability of these additional video resources is coupled with a live online chat that can integrate users from all the major social media sites. It should be interesting to see the new layout of the page and just how many fans come to the site for RaceBuddy chat.

There are a couple of details to be discussed. There will be no live pit reporter assigned to RaceBuddy this season. That took away from the live TV broadcast. TNT will instead continue to be interactive during the races on Twitter, Facebook and the NASCAR.com website.

A couple of big additions will be having a second battle-cam. The biggest complaint we get at TDP from fans is that the Sprint Cup Series networks stay at the very front of the pack with coverage and do not look for the best racing on the track.

Battle-cam lets online viewers watch endlessly the best battles on the track regardless of position. Now, there will be two different cameras each chasing the best battles throughout the entire field. That is really going to make a big difference.

Turner got great feedback from last season about carrying the in-car cameras with both video and audio from the team radios on RaceBuddy. To have the total increased to four in-car cams for every race is going to give fans a lot of choices.

The idea of RaceBuddy is to be an online addition to the TV race coverage. This is not the TV race streamed online, but a tool provided free of charge to enhance the telecast. It's a really interesting concept that has been met with very positive reaction by fans.

Like everything these days, technical issues chase RaceBuddy around. Prior to this weekend's race, we will offer an updated list of preferred browsers for this application and whether or not iPad users will be able to access the live video this summer.

This is not a smart phone app. Sprint has its own updated version of that for the sport as a part of the title sponsorship. Lots of video is made available, including shows from SPEED on the weekend and live scanner audio.

For those of you asking about the TNT on-air team, here is the information:

TNT returns its marquee announce crew with analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach joining play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander in the booth. Veteran reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will be joined by Chris Neville, a ten-year veteran motorsports reporter, on pit road. In addition, Lindsay Czarniak will once again host the network’s 60-minute pre-race show, with Petty and McReynolds joining her on the TNT rig along with special guests each week.

The challenge for fans this season is going to be getting all the available technology sorted out before the TNT races. Some folks suggest using two computers and one TV, while more sophisticated types reminded us that RaceBuddy can be plugged into most HD-TV's to really get the full experience.

It is going to be interesting to get your opinion after the Sunday Pocono race of just how much this online content will change the way you "watch" the race at your home. Please feel free to offer your comments on this post about TNT and RaceBuddy.

To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds good!I might actually watch the whole race this Sunday.Thanks TNT.

Mike said...

I all ready use a TV two computers and my cellphone when I watch races. Last year I found myself watching racebuddy more than the TV I think I might have to bring another TV in just for racebuddy now but I will probably get killed if I try that someone already thinks I'm . Any word how the mosaic will work? I hate truckbuddy with 2 car cameras. I want to see the battle cams, the backstretch and maybe the pits.

Roland said...

Glad they added a DVR feature, now I can sync it up with my radio if I were to use it. The problem is I like TNT, and theres so few TNT races I kinda want to enjoy the coverage. Racebuddy would be perfect for FOX and ESPN

Anonymous said...

this could happen everyweek if bzf wanted it to. that tv contract is big enough to make this happen. bzf simply will not let the money go.

Anonymous said...

I plan to watch the race on my big TV with the Mute on and listen to MRN. I have no interest in listening to Kyle and Wally. Sorry.

GinaV24 said...

Call me a geek, but I am really excited about the new additions. I hope that I can work out any bugs beforehand so that I can really enjoy it.

Two battle cams! Awesome.

It's a shame that TNT has some of the worst tracks to cover - Pocono twice, heaven help them, but still, wow, what an opportunity.

It's a shame that Fox and ESPN refuse to work out a deal with Turner that would benefit the fans.

AncientRacer said...

Wow. Your tone is positively glowing, JD. I hope it works out as well as you seem to think it will.

But how does one link the computer to the HDTV? I have heard of that, but I do not know how to do it. Seems a cheaper alternative than getting another computer...

Wisconsin Steve said...

GinaV24 - I think TNT only covers one Pocono race (twice would probably qualify as torture), but I agree; for the job they've done over the last three years, they deserve a better slate of tracks. I suppose Kentucky is sort of a "get" since 2011 is the inaugural race, but then again its another 1.5 mile track so whats the difference.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching Sunday night off DVR, so none of this Racebuddy means anything to me. Sunday afternoons are for doing stuff! (This week the CNY Kidney Walk)

Photojosh said...

I both love and hate the TNT races every year. Love because they do the job that the other networks COULD and SHOULD be doing. Hate because it's just 6 races and reminds me of just how dysfunctional NASCAR is in regards to the online media/entertainment world. While I know that there are many people who have no interest in anything but seeing the race on TV, there are millions and millions of us who want to watch online, time shift, use an online/TV combo, and so on.

It's bad enough that stick and ball fans/press view us all as redneck hillbillies who can't operate anything more than a tractor. But NASCAR's continued "head in the sand" over this issue just makes me feel like Prince France & his royal court look at us the same way.

John in Chico said...

Acientracer asked; But how does one link the computer to the HDTV? I have heard of that, but I do not know how to do it. Seems a cheaper alternative than getting another computer...

With the onset of on-line testing this winter and now F-1 practice and TNT and on and on (Hopefully) we went looking for the PC-to-TV thing. My wife found a cable that goes from the Windows7 lap-top to the back of a small HDTV. So when the trucks are on, Le Mans this weekend and of course anything Cup we have two TV's on the 60" with the race, the PC to HDTV and my wife reading Twitter.
Gona' be a fun and long wekend.
:)

KoHoSo said...

I am very much looking forward to seeing all of these new features. While not an overall solution to NASCAR's various woes, it's nice to have, a good move to attract the increasing number of people that want more options, and will at least add some buzz to this run of mid-season races that many see as unattractive events.

Gymmie said...

Sounds exciting :) Love Pit Buddy & they seem to make it better & better each year!

Anonymous said...

for the technically challenged, there are even videos on Youtube that can show you how to connect these things.

OSBORNK said...

My newest HDTV has an input on the back just like my computer monitor. The HDTV is simply a replacement for the monitor. I have not tried it as it is a 26" in the bedroom. My old 52" HDTV does not have that option.

Buschseries61 said...

I plan on taking advantage of the resources RaceBuddy provides. I will finally be able to "legally" watch a race outside in the beautful summer weather.

GinaV24 said...

Wisc Steve -- that means the PocoNO 2 will be even worse since it will be covered on ESPN!

Anonymous said...

FOX is better. They have 43 cameras zoomed all the way in to the window netting all race long;-)

John in Chico said...

OSBORNK said...
My newest HDTV has an input on the back just like my computer monitor. The HDTV is simply a replacement for the monitor. I have not tried it as it is a 26" in the bedroom. My old 52" HDTV does not have that option.

I think it came along with the HDMI connector and that's only been a few years.
Our's is called a "Male to male 15ft PC monitor VGA cable" and was $8.69 on eBay. It's got 15 male pins, a monitor cable.
The picture on the PC-to-HDTV pops.

Vicky D said...

This sounds great let's hope the broadcasts are better with all this. By the way, we'll be at the truck race tomorrow night so hope to be back home by the cup race, although too bad it's Ponoco.

Anonymous said...

Pocono may not be our favorite track but everything will be really great with no DW to screw things up. Always enjoy the way Wally and Kyle come across and the pit reporters are allowed to do their jobs the way it should be done. Good blog JD. A lot of good points to ponder.

cdh said...

I would pay for Racebuddy. The fact that its free is awesome. Forget side by side commercials, I want RaceBuddy for every race. Adam Alexander will probably get better with time but for now I'll use mute. Rick Allen needs a promotion to the Cup series.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 9:39,no DW to screw it up, just don't ruin the enjoyment of watching the race. I think TNT gets that point. Wally may not have a superb resume as a driver, but he knows what listeners want to hear,much unlike DW who is clueless in that regard.Racebuddy and other gimmicks are fine, but for me just don't buffoon up the telecast, keep it simple so people can relax and enjoy it.

AncientRacer said...

Thank you all for the computer to TV suggestions. I appreciate it.

Now, all I need is a tween or teenager still in residence to handle it.

But I'm tough and I'll buck up and muddle it through without one handy. It will take me 20 times as long, but I shall persevere.

Anonymous said...

I use an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to my TV.

Zieke said...

Bring it on TNT. I know you will beat FOX to the hilt!!! Show them how it is done.

Anonymous said...

I give TNT 0 credit. When you own the online rights, it makes things very easy.

Anonymous said...

http://www.h1unlimited.com/2011/06/bill-weber-to-anchor-h1-tv/