The NHL is always looking for new ways to improve their broadcasts and HWKI, a helmet-mounted front-facing camera, could be the future of NHL telecasts if the company can address a few things that could hinder the device.
When Rogers made their landmark deal for the NHL’s television rights in Canada, it became evident that the very way we watched hockey would change. Already this season, we’ve gotten looks that we’ve never seen before, for better or worse.
Now a new product has come along, called HWKI, which could revolutionize the way we watch big moments, the view of the referees, or see our favorite players game by game. You can see the product in action below:
The tiny, helmet mounted camera boasts interesting specs. For one, it says the recordings are 1080P high definition, something that would be suitable for home television broadcasting, and it’s a tiny six square inches. Compared the comically sized helmet cameras referees have been wearing this year, the HWKI would be a dream.
That said, there is some cause for concern. First, the battery life seems minimal. On the product page it says a 5V battery powers the device. While that’s obviously a big reason for the unit’s minuscule size, it would certainly hinder the recording time and its use in NHL broadcasts. Listed simply as “greater than 80 minutes” of recording time, that would mean the camera would only allow for roughly half a games worth of footage when you factor in remotely transmitting the video and the length of an NHL contest.
In addition, if this were to make the jump to use in the pros, would the transmission system make the unit more bulky? The current system makes referees look like ice-bound submarines and makes it impossible for players to wear helmet-mounted cameras. If there were a simple, minimalistic way to make the HWKI transmit the live video, then that would serve to make the unit more viable for game action.
None of this is to say the possibilities aren’t intriguing. Pairing player audio with a helmet-mounted camera would be another good broadcasting tool and an interesting vantage point for fans at home.
If it is to make the jump to professional use, there are obviously adjustments to be made. The battery life and a method of sending the video to a broadcast center would need to be addressed, but if changes can be made, the HWKI might be the next great innovation those watching at home have been waiting for.
For the time being, it’s an interesting piece of hardware that could be some fun to play with. Not currently on the widespread retail market, you can order a unit online for $189.