U.S. Open fans get smart with WiseDV handheld device

By Ken Kerschbaumer

For golf fans attending the U.S. Open golf tournament following the action around the course can be a losing proposition, as, unlike PGA Tour events, video scoreboards have still not made an appearance. But WiseDV once again partnered with American Express to give fans a chance to watch six video channels and track the latest scores and even play-by-play and location of players on the course.

WiseDV’s handheld device has a four-inch screen, audio, and now a Shadebox to make it easier to watch video on a bright, sunny day. After last year’s success at the U.S. Open tennis tournament WiseDV found continued momentum in the market by being used at the Byron Nelson PGA Tour event in April (the sponsor partner was AccuVue) and can now incorporate Shotlink data and the scoreboard.

Atul Anandpura, WiseDV president, says the company hopes to eventually have a presence at many major sporting events with devices available for free via sponsorship deals or for rent. The dedicated functionality of the device, he believes, gives it a competitive edge versus other handheld systems like PDAs or Apple iPhones.

“When one device is trying to do too many things it can’t do anything perfectly,” says Anandpura. “Video in a cellphone is fine but who is going to watch six hours of video on a cellphone and drain the battery while at a sporting event? And even if they can do it it is hard to jump around from video to Web sites for information.”

The U.S. Open programming stream included NBC and ESPN’s on-air content, the USGA Web cast, coverage from a par three hole, cameras at the first tee and 18th green, and Skyview, a blimp shot channel. “There is enough content here to make it very compelling for real golf fans,” he says, and the success speaks for itself as all available devices are out of stock within the first hour or two of the first tee shot of the morning.

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