3D for Wimbledon - the future of TV?

Wednesday 8 June 2011, 09:24

Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler Controller, BBC HD

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Roger Federer in a test image for the BBC's 3D coverage of Wimbledon

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

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    Comment number 1.

    Danielle: While I am pleased to learn that the BBC is keeping tabs on advances in TV Technology and I guess you have to produce in 3D to meet export needs of the events you have been given coverage rights to, may I remind you that you and Andy Questead have convinced me that I should not expect BBC HD to maintain the bit-rated needed to provide us with what HD technology can achieve as to do this is not practicable given the constraints you have to work within. There are so few of us with the home technology needed to display the high definition that the limitations you have imposed on bit-rate and best compression technology you can deliver is an acceptable compromise (this has been agreed by the BBC Trust).

    Yes it still hurts, but my fear is that to provide a 3D service you will have to make even more compromises.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Having heard Chris Hollins on BBC Breakfast saying that Wimbledon would be transmitted in 3D and that this could be viewed with a plain HDTV if one had a Converter Box to change 2D to 3D. I have inquired around TV shops and none know of this Converter Box,

    Does anyone know of this and can they supply me with any information? My email add. is [Personal details removed by Moderator]

    Anyone please.


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    Comment number 4.


    The contraints the BBC places itself under self imposed. It is a case of the suits triumphing over the nurds. Instead of providing an reasonable HD service the BBC has been embarking on a multibillion pound building project. BBC now stands for the British Building Company.

    The BBC is only providing commentary and delivery for this project. It is Sony doing all the difficult video production. Its value seems mainly to be a publicity stunt as the BBC has no plans to introduce a 3D channel. People are not going to invest in a 3D television for the occational programme.

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    Comment number 5.


    No yet more missinformation from the BBC. You need a 3D television and either Freeview HD, Freesat, Virgin or Sky. Make sure Freeview HD is available in you area.


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