BSkyB is aiming to do for sports broadcasting what James Cameron did for cinema with special effects blockbuster Avatar, with the move to air this weekend's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Manchester United in 3D.
BSkyB is aiming to do for sports broadcasting what James Cameron did for cinema with special effects blockbuster Avatar, with the move to air this weekend’s Premier League clash between Arsenal and Manchester United in 3D.
The satellite broadcaster, which is showing the special 3D feed of this Sunday’s Premier League clash in a handful of pubs across the country, claims it will be the first transmission of a live 3D TV sports event to a public audience.
Sunday’s test broadcast comes ahead of a plan to roll out the 3D TV service to hundreds of the tens of thousands of UK pubs that subscribe to Sky TV from April.
BSkyB then has the ambitious plan to bring 3D to the living room by the end of the year. The 3D channel will initially be made available at no extra cost to the million-plus Sky high definition TV subscribers who also pay for its premium sports and movies services.
This weekend’s test, a chance for BSkyB to “kick the tyres” of the service, will see nine pubs kitted out with a number of 3D-ready TV sets.
BSkyB will not name the pubs, for fear of overcrowding, but has said football fans at four London establishments, two in Manchester and one each in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin will find they have the option of watching the game on a 3D screen.
The company estimates that between 450 and 700 viewers will get to see the match in 3D and is confident they will not balk at having to don 3D spectacles to watch the game.
“We have done consumer testing and people forget pretty quickly that they are wearing them and if a large group is doing it people don’t really worry about it. I’ve seen people wear far sillier things in the pub [than 3D specs],” said Brian Lenz, the director of product design at BSkyB.
“People will get a sense that they are looking through a window right into the game, a portal into the Emirates [Arsenal stadium] with the best seats in the house. It is going to become a must-have, a must-want,” Lenz added.
He said TV manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung intend to make sure that up to 40% of their ranges will be 3D ready in the next couple of years.
“The programming has to be top quality, we view 3D TV as an ‘appointment-to-view’ proposition, we don’t intend to try and fill the whole schedule with 3D programming,” he added.
BSkyB plans to make the Sunday 4pm match it airs every week the special 3D broadcast.
Earlier this month mobile operator O2 said that it intended to screen two of England’s rugby matches in this year’s Six Nations tournament in 3D in 40 Odeon and Cineworld cinemas.
In 2008 the BBC broadcast one of the world’s first live matches in 3D when it beamed back the Six Nations match between Scotland and England to a cinema in London.