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Get Ready for 3D Sports TV

March 03, 2010

Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated has seen the future – in 3D. And yes, it works. Pretty much, anyway.
Staples recently wrote a column on the wonders of 3D sports broadcasting. He was given a demonstration of a college football game recorded in 3D, and said “As I stood there looking like a Roy Orbison impersonator in my specially polarized glasses, I made a mental note to call my wife and apologize for the money we’ll be dropping on 3-D televisions in the next few years.”
ESPN’s (News - Alert) first live broadcast of an event in 3-D will be at the World Cup in June, specifically the Mexico vs. South Africa, match, Staples says, adding that “the network’s first regularly planned 3-D coverage will come in the form of a 3-D college football game of the week.”
It’s not quite all there yet, but it’s getting close. “We’re closing the gap between what we know and what we don’t know,” Staples quotes Chuck Pagano, ESPN’s executive vice president in charge of technology as saying: “It’s still a science project.”
Some of the quick camera cuts were disorienting, Staples noted. “Every once in a while, I had to remove my glasses to get my bearings.” ESPN vice president of production enhancements Bob Toms said it’s different: “Everything needs to move more slowly. The graphics have to be a little simpler. There’s so much information that the human eye has to take in that it doesn’t take
in real life.”
Samsung has announced a line of 3-D-ready LED units to be delivered beginning this month, with a 46-inch unit on sale now on (News - Alert) for $2,359.96, Staples says, adding that “the Sony glasses I tested had some issues. They cut out at times, and occasionally an odd color pattern crossed my field of vision. But when they did work -- which was most of the time -- the picture was incredible.”
And some are not so crazy about it – Smarthouse has reported that “LG's flagship 3D TV, which it showed off at CES (News - Alert), has been pulled with retailers told that it will not be launched.” LG officials are tight-lipped on the reason why.
Staples is convinced this won't be a passing fad. “This isn't going to be like Laserdisc, MiniDisc, or any of the other technological marvels now relegated to the junk drawers of America. People will want to watch sports in 3-D. I remember the first time I saw a football game in HD. Multiply that feeling by 10, and that's how I felt the first time I saw one in 3-D.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri