The first time I visited Wimbledon I expected it to look and feel exactly like it does on television. After years of sitting in front of the screen watching the balls, and spectators' heads, swinging backwards and forwards I thought I knew what sitting on Centre Court would be like. I realised that I didn't, and that while TV can do a great job it can't capture the magic of actually being there.

Like most of us I've never been lucky enough to sit and watch a finals match on Centre Court. But this year - the Wimbledon Championships' 125th anniversary - I've been working with others inside and outside the BBC to try to bring you the next best thing - the Wimbledon Singles' Finals, in 3D.

Wimbledon always feels timeless - but actually it has been home to successive TV sport innovations from an early appearance in colour, through to Hawk Eye technology.

We know that tennis can look thrilling in 3D - it can really bring the power players put into shots to life. I've been lucky to see some of the incredible test shoots we've been running, as the team are busy working behind the scenes to get everything in place for the broadcast, but I can't wait to see what a real match played by two of the world's finest will look like.

The broadcasts will be available to everyone with access to an HD service and a 3D TV set, via BBC HD, whether you get your TV from Freesat, Freeview, Sky or Virgin Media. And if you don't have a 3D TV, there are some opportunities to watch the broadcast in the cinema.

The BBC's been experimenting with 3D for decades - but as we all know the latest developments in 3D technology have made it much, much more sophisticated as a viewing experience, and we've been working with the All-England Club and Sony Professional for this BBC first. It will also be the first time that 3D broadcasting has been tried out across all the different TV providers so that it's accessible without subscription.

For all of us who don't have a 3D set at home, or a Centre Court ticket, the finals will of course be shown on BBC One and in HD on BBC One HD, as well as all the BBC's regular Wimbledon coverage - on TV, radio, and online.

I don't know yet whether 3D will be the future of television, or the future of Wimbledon: that's why we're doing this experimental trial. But I am really excited to experience the finals this year in 3D. And if you are able to watch in 3D I'd love to know what you think.

Danielle Nagler is the Head of BBC HD and 3D

  • Danielle made a speech about the BBC's plans for 3D at the 3D World Forum in May.
  • BBC Sport covered the news that Wimbledon will be the first 3D programming on the BBC.

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by Andy Quested

    on 7 Jul 2011 12:22

    Dear trevorjharris - we cannot escape each other! The cinema feed was a completely separate output from the OB truck, converted to 720p/60 and RealD encoded. 720p/60 had to be used for projector compatibility world wide.

    Andy

  • Comment number 35. Posted by Mike

    on 7 Jul 2011 10:52

    I do hope the BBC is not planning to waste any more of our funding on this experiment. Please concentrate on better HD coverage on Freesat instead, eg, all channels in HD, with proper DD sound and not just upscaled SD with stereo.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by meditek

    on 5 Jul 2011 16:10

    I have to say that I am amused that my comment has been removed for 'consideration'. It mildly scolded a BBC employee of some, it seems, significant seniority. I assume expensive meetings will take place before a decision is reached and the customer's hand is slapped..

    It is time all you people understood that we are forced to pay your premium in order to watch TV. I, therefore, also assume that answers will be available from the perpetrators...in this case a certain Ms. Nagler. So far they are not.

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by Trev

    on 5 Jul 2011 10:51

    I assume that the cinima took this offair in which case it will be using the side by side method of transmission. This reduces the horizontal resolution by half. The BBC did upgrade to 1920 which results in a 3d picture of 960x1080. I guess this is just not good enough for a large cinema screen. The other issue is bitrate of course. The BBC did increase the average bitrate by about 2 Mb/s but this is still far too low quality pictures.

    We must remember that this was produced by Sony and not the BBC. The BBC has very little experience in 3D production and from what Danielle has said will not start to get experience until 2012. It looks as though the Olympics will be their first attemt so don't expect a very good production.

    Sky is at the opposite of the spectrum and have alot of experience in a wide variety of material. ITV is transmiting a test channel and so I expect they will start a 3D service soon.

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by malmcleod1408

    on 4 Jul 2011 18:19

    P.S. I don't know if he's been doing commentary for a few years back in the UK, but that was the first time I've heard Greg Rusedski commentating and I was very impressed.

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by malmcleod1408

    on 4 Jul 2011 18:15

    To follow on from the cinema experince of the two users above I have to say that I watched the men's final in a cinema in Vancouver, Canada and I thought it was absolutely fantastic.

    I didn't notice any problems with the resolution as mentioned above. I have no real knowledge about the technological side of things but I wonder if the experiences above may have been to do with the particular cinemas?

    I will agree that the lower camera-angle took a little getting used to, but I would have to assume that this was deliberate. A steeper angle would reduce the impact of 3D because there's nothing 'behind' the floor, whereas shooting from the low-angle made the depth come through.

    Thrilled that I made the effort to get up at 5:45am and I would definitely plan to go again if there will be similar broadcasts during Wimbledon or the Olympics next year.

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  • Comment number 30. Posted by meditek

    on 4 Jul 2011 16:50

    Does Danielle Nagler not read and answer these comments which, after all, were addressed to her, not Steve Bowdrick?

    One must suppose that actually dealing with negative comments from the peasants who actually watch her stuff is beneath her salary scale!

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by Steve Bowbrick

    on 4 Jul 2011 13:34

    Thanks for your many useful comments. I'll pass them all onto the 3D team.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, About the BBC

  • Comment number 28. Posted by Jon Perry

    on 3 Jul 2011 20:55

    I had precisely the same experience as Sw180. We watched at the Odeon in Bath and half the audience left after the first set. I came home and watched in HD - a far superior experience. By way of compensation the cinema ordered strawberries and cream for those who stayed!

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  • Comment number 27. Posted by Sw180

    on 3 Jul 2011 17:47

    Just watched Mens singles final at Odeon cinema in 3d. We were very disappointed and agree with everything that NickDVL has said above. The resolution on faces and the far distance was very poor. It seemed that there was a middle band where things were clear and anything that fell out of that was blurred including the score in the top lefthand corner. Again the fact that you could not see into the next court lost all the excitement for me, knowing if a shot was in or out. Most of us in the cinema complained to the management who said there was nothing that they could do to alter the resolution. I would have had a better experience watching at home. I had no feeling of anything in 3D other than the wimbledon LOGO that came spinning into the auditorium. Watched 3D films and they are fantastic, never watched any other 3D sport so have nothing to compare with. I am sure the technology will get better!!!

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