Friday, January 29, 2010

Arsenal vs. Man United to Make History: First Football Match in 3D

History will be made this Sunday when Manchester United travel to the Emirates for the top of table clash with Arsenal, but it won't be for the football on show.

When the match is beamed across the world, nine select locations across the British Isles will be the first match to be broadcast in 3D.

Sunday's "test broadcast" of the match comes ahead as part of a plan to roll out the 3D TV service to all pubs in Britain and Ireland that subscribe to Sky TV.

BSkyB then has an incredibly ambitious plan to bring 3D to the living room. The 3D channel will initially be made available for free to all Sky high definition TV subscribers, who pay for the broadcaster's premium services.

This weekend's 3D test match will see nine pubs kitted out with a number of straight off the shelf 3D-ready TV sets. They will also supply the drinking establishments with a large number of 3D glasses for the spectators.

BSkyB have refused to name the pubs for fear of overcrowding but has said football fans at four London pubs, two more in Manchester, and one each in Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Dublin will find they have the option of making history and watching the game on a 3D screen.

"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 intended to make sure that up to 40 percent of their ranges will be 3D ready in the next couple of years, as 3D becomes the next generation of television from LED and HD.

"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 then plans to make the Sunday 4 pm match it airs every week the special 3D broadcast.

In 2008 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, and that will be followed up this year, as O2 have said they plan to broadcast two of England's Six Nations matches across 40 3D-ready screens at the Odean Cinema chain.

How people take to seeing a match in 3D is one thing, but at some stage of the game Wayne Rooney or Bakary Sagna are bound to get on the ball, and how fans take to seeing either of those in two in 3D is another!

If that were to happen, the event might become the first horror broadcast live across the world...

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