Another dimension for 3D fans

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The country’s first foray into live 3D sport was well-received by the regulars at Fagan’s pub in Dublin.

The Drumcondra pub was chosen by Sky Television to demonstrate their latest technological advance yesterday, with punters donning special glasses as they prepared for Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United.

One local wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. “Sunglasses lads? When it’s minus five outside, Jesus,” said former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

An initial test run was held early yesterday to ensure everything was in working order by kick-off. An area with the sole 3D screen was cordoned off and it was jammed with around 70 people around 10 minutes before the game got underway.

The technology had an immediate impact. Sky’s graphics exploded off the screen, drawing a gasp from the crowd. Not bad for just the team-sheets.

Following that sensory assault, those present appreciated some of the more subtle touches of 3D.

“The depth of the picture is really impressive,” said Afrim Shala from Kosovo. Shala was unsure about whether the technology was suited to live sport.

“I think it worked well but that it would work better for movies because the special effects are so interesting.”

Even Nani’s opening goal for United failed to impress but the potential of the technology became more apparent as the game wore on.

Then Wayne Rooney provided a one-man advert for 3D football. The striker’s run down the centre for United’s second elicited a reaction from all but the few Arsenal fans in attendance.

It didn’t hurt that Rooney stuck the ball in the net but the crowd present realised they had never seen anything quite like it. In normal, or 2D, television fans simply couldn’t appreciate the quality of the run or of the final pass in the move.

Justin O’Brien from Bray had seen enough by half-time to be convinced. “It’s definitely the future,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get a 3D television of my own house in about a year.”

The biggest reaction from the crowd to the technology came during half-time. Sky ran a series of sample clips from other sports. When a rugby ball nearly came off the screen the crowd at Fagan’s gasped. Aside from wowing the crowds this sample served as an indicator of what 3D can do with sports more suited to the format.

Boxing and rugby, both of which are high impact and allow cameras to get closer to the action, looked the most impressive.

“It’s magnificent, it’s just unbelievable and an amazing picture,” said Eamonn O’Malley, owner of Fagan’s. “It’s just so amazing compared with ordinary television or even HD.”

Sky are banking on other pubs and consumer users sharing O’Malley’s view. The broadcaster has committed to showing one live Premier League match a week in 3D as well as events in other sports.

“This was a true TV milestone,” said Mark Deering, director of Sky Ireland. “With 3D we’re hoping to enhance the viewer experience and hopefully our customers will be impressed.”

In the short-term the technology offers an immediate potential boost to pubs that deploy the technology. Sky is rolling it out to pubs first in the spring, well ahead of its consumer launch towards the end of the year.

“I think it will be like HD. As [3D] sets become available you will see the number of people buying 3D TVs increase,” said Deering.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner on Monday, February 01, 2010

5 Responses to “Another dimension for 3D fans”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by action81: has a report from the first Live 3D sports broadcast in Ireland or Britain

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