Intel buys Israeli startup Replay Technologies for 'freeD' video tech

Replay Technologies develops 3D and 360-degree video technology for sporting events.

Intel announced overnight plans to acquire Replay Technologies, an Israeli startup that develops 3D and 360-degree video technology for sporting events.

Intel remained mum on the purchase price in a blog post describing the deal, but Israeli media outlets have reported it was about $175 million.

Intel's interest in the startup stems from what Intel CEO Brian Krzanich refers to as the "digitization of sports" and how data is changing the way people consume sports media.

Intel has been working with Replay since 2013, most recently teaming up during the NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest, where fans got to experience "free dimensional" or full 360 degrees view of the event.

With Replay's technology, the companies created a 3D video rendering of the court using 28 ultra high-definition cameras positioned around the arena and connected to Intel-based servers.

Intel says the data-intensive viewing experience requires high-performance computing, which just happens to be the chip giant's bread and butter.

"Together, we will scale this new category for sports entertainment that we call immersive sports, which is attracting the attention of leagues, venues, broadcasters and fans," Intel Capital presdient Wendell Brooks wrote in the blog post. "Immersive sports requires the high-performance computing Intel is known for, and it's also data driven - fueling the continued build out of the cloud."

Speaking of Intel Capital, the investment arm of the chipmaker has been especially active in Israel in recent years. At last year's Intel Global Capital Summit, Brooks said Intel Capital invested roughly a half-billion dollars in startups in 2015, making the last year "one of our strongest years ever."

For Intel (and a bevy of other tech companies), Israel has been one of the go-to foreign destinations for technology acquisitions and investments. A slew of key components and chips can already be found in some of Intel's most popular products, including the company's current flagship Skylake processor family, which were developed at Intel R&D labs in Israel. Intel Capital has also funneled money into numerous Israeli startups.

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