Can Wimbledon serve up success for 3D TV?

08 Jun 2011


I don't know if it's the strawberries and cream or the smell of freshly cut grass, but there's certainly something about Wimbledon which sparks a sense of adventure in the BBC.

Andy Murray could win Wimbledon in glorious 3D

The Beeb broadcast its first colour pictures from the Championships in 1967 and made its first steps into interactive television from Wimbledon in 2001. Now it has announced plans to show this year's men's and women's singles finals in 3D, its first foray into the third dimension.

When the BBC put out Wimbledon in colour back in the 1960s, it was a pioneer in this country. But this time round Sky, ESPN and other broadcasters have already taken the first bold steps with 3D TV sports coverage in the UK.

But with 3D still yet to make it into the average man's living room, perhaps the BBC can still produce the watershed moment in sports coverage.

All 3D needs to do is give us that 'being there' feeling when Roger Federer hits a winner or Wayne Rooney scores a bicycle kick. So does it do the job?

The opinion so far is that some sports have more of a wow factor than others.

Football is primarily shot from a wide angle view, so the depth of players on the pitch does not appear dramatically different.

Special 3D cameras are used to capture the action at sporting events

Pitchside views are where 3D TVs really excel with football, giving you the perspective the assistant referee would have had when he made that controversial offside decision. It's an enhancement rather than a game-changer.

But there are other sports which are dramatically improved by 3D coverage.

Anyone who watched the Ryder Cup in 3D on Sky will vouch for its worth to golf coverage. You could almost read the greens with the players as they lined up their putts and got a feel for exactly how undulating the fairways were.

Snooker's popularity exploded when colour television went mainstream and allowed people to pick each colour easily. Perhaps a sport like table tennis or darts, where the action is close up, will enjoy an unexpected bounce from 3D TV. I'm not sure I want a better perspective of a darts player's belly though…

There's little in the way of high-tech tricks to be had with sport, we just want it to feel like we're sat in the front row. Directors will probably take a while to get used to the new technology at their disposal and work out what shots work best, then we'll see how awesome 3D sport can be.

3D coverage of great sporting occasions may not have started with the BBC's broadcast at Wimbledon, but it could still be as historic a moment as Andy Murray winning his first Grand Slam title.

Well, fingers crossed, eh?

Are you planning on watching the Wimbledon tennis finals in 3D? What sports do you reckon will benefit from a 3D bounce? Comment below…