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Sports TV to move into 3D this year- how long until F1 follows?

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Sports TV to move into 3D this year- how long until F1 follows?
Jan 7, 2010, 7:42 PM

One of the strong messages coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is that 2010 is the year of 3D TV becoming a reality ...

One of the strong messages coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is that 2010 is the year of 3D TV becoming a reality and sport is set to be one of the early adopters.

An ESPN 3D camera in action (Photo ESPN)

American sports network ESPN has announced that it will be broadcasting games from this year's football World Cup in 3D, as part of an offering of 85 shows starting in June.

“The sports genre is probably the best suited to exploit this technology,” Sean Bratches, an executive vice president at ESPN told the New York Times.

One of the pioneers of 3D TV is LG Electronics, which is a technology partner of Formula 1, now entering the second year of a five year contract with FOM. LG has been advising FOM TV on High Definition, and has run some test exercises, such as at Monaco this year where HD cameras were trialled around the track. But HD is probably not going to happen in F1 until 2011. It took about 10 years for HD to catch on but many sports are now broadcast in HD and F1 is dragging its heels.

On that basis it could be quite a few years before viewers at home will be leaping out of their seats as they see a car hurtling through the Swimming Pool chicane at Monaco and into their living rooms. Industry experts agree that the consumer already has a bewildering array of TV viewing choices to make and 3D just complicates things further. But F1 would surely be a perfect sport for it, once the technology and production facilities are mature.

“The stars are aligning to make 2010 the launch year of 3-D,” John Taylor, a vice president for LG Electronics USA said in the New York Times. “It’s still just in its infancy, but when there is a sufficient amount of content available — and lots of people are working on this — there will be a true tipping point for consumers.”

The 3D TV works by dividing picture images into two sets, one for each eye. The viewer wears special glasses, so each eye captures a different image, creating the illusion of depth. Filming involves two linked cameras, one serving the image for the left-eye image and the other for the right.

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