BBC confirms Wimbledon 3D broadcast

Confirming long-standing rumour, the BBC has announced that it will be broadcasting the Men’s and Women’s Singles Finals from Wimbledon in 3D. The BBC’s broadcast, produced in collaboration with the AELTC and Sony Professional, will use the existing BBC HD channel, meaning coverage will be available to all those with a 3DTV in the UK via a mix of Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media. There are also plans to run live 3D screenings of the Men’s Final at selected 3D-enabled cinemas and at BBC Television Centre in West London.

Paul Davies, BBC executive producer of sport, commented: “During our 75 years of televising the Wimbledon Championships the BBC has continually broken new ground in broadcasting techniques. This unique 3D transmission is the latest innovation to bring to life all the tension, drama and excitement on one of the most iconic arenas in the world”.

At first glance, it seems to fly in the face of the Corporation’s own established standpoint on 3D, which waspishly states that “S3D is a consumer display manufacturer driven technology [and] much of the current hype has come from the success of recent movie titles and the imminent release of these on Blu-Ray.”

However, that statement goes on to say that “The BBC has stated publicly that it will not be investing in S3D programme making but intends to continue to investigate via limited trials and commercially available equipment.”

The Wimbledon broadcast arguably fits into this description nicely. “This is one of a small number of 3DTV editorial experiments the BBC is currently undertaking, on behalf of licence payers,” says a Corporation statement.

Perhaps more importantly, the trial (which is bound to be subject to the BBC’s usual rigorous audience research and monitoring) definitely opens the door to a far more aggressive standpoint on 3D capture at London 2012 that has previously been witnessed. Watch this space.

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