At the end of last year, BSkyB demoed what could well be a large part of the future of sports broadcasting: the transmission of sporting events in 3D. The system, which is currently being developed, uses an ordinary Sky+ box to decode the two separate images required to create the three-dimensional effect.
Users then simply view the screen through a pair of 3D glasses. Sky has already tested the technology at live sports events including Ricky Hatton's victory over Juan Lazcano and Liverpool's Champions League encounter with Marseille at Anfield in November of last year. 3D technology has already been adopted in Hollywood, with a number of films being filmed and released in 3D.
Many have predicted that 3D HD television is the next logical step in the evolution of broadcasting. Despite being able to use their current satellite receiver, users will be forced to upgrade their television sets. However, manufacturers believe that new 3D TVs will cost no more than a standard HD-ready plasma set.
The 3D television set that BSkyB used in its demonstration at its headquarters in Osterley, London, currently retails at over £2,000, but experts have predicted that the price of the technology will drop significantly, especially if it proves popular. The British broadcaster described 'Sky+ 3D' as "a vision of the future" as the company continues to develop the system, which would involve Sky having to use adapt or upgrade their cameras for 3D at live events.
"From our point of view this is just the next stage of our innovation plan following on from Sky+, from HD and now to 3D is the way we see things might go in the future," said BSkyB's Head of Product, Design and Innovation, Brian Lenz. "What we're looking at today is firstly that we can do it, and we think we can do it and at a quality level that makes it interesting to begin to look at whether there is an appetite for it from the consumer." The implementation of 3D TV in viewers' homes is clearly still a number of years away, however as Sky have demonstrated through the trials, watching your favourite team in three dimensions from the comfort of the sofa may well be an everyday occurrence in the fairly near future.