Like a lot of sports fans, now that I’ve had an HD set since the Seattle Seahawks were in the Super Bowl, I’ve been ruined for watching sports in anything less than high definition.
The sport really doesn’t matter. Football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, bike racing: it is all better in high definition.
But what about watching sports in 3D? Is it the new standard? I’d say yes, and here’s why.
First, we need to clear our heads of preconceptions.
This is not the 3D technology of flimsy blue and red glasses. The games are shot using two side-by-side HD cameras. The glasses are battery-powered, cost about $150 each and work in conjunction with the 3D set.
While the glasses may seem expensive, the 3D sets don’t cost as much as you would think. They start at about $1,500, and look no different than a standard HD set.
Gradually we’re seeing this catch on.
At Comcast, we carry ESPN 3 on channel 898 which shows nothing but sports in 3D. All you need to watch is a subscription, a 3D set and glasses and an HD set top box.
This weekend, Comcast will be showing the Mariners v. Yankees games in 3D on channel 897. The Saturday game starts at 7:10 p.m. with Sunday’s game starting at 1:10 p.m.
The final of the FIFA World Cup between Spain and the Netherlands will be showing on ESPN 3 in 3D with coverage beginning at 10:30 a.m. If you don’t have a 3D set, you can watch the game at SPORT Restaurant and Bar at Fisher Plaza 140 – 4th Avenue North.
So is 3D worth it?
I’ve had an opportunity to watch the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament and a couple of FIFA World Cup games in 3D.
Golf is absolutely amazing in 3D. When I watched the Masters, it was the first time I had ever seen sports shot in this latest generation of 3D technology. I have to admit, the experience exceeded all of my expectations.
I’m not a big fan of golf, but the game was so much more interesting to me in 3D. The greens undulated and seemed so much scarier in 3D than even in high definition. The fairways looked much narrower. I could clearly see the gallery not only of the hole the cameras were focusing on, but on the hole in the background.
Soccer is also impressive in 3D. However, with a lot of moving elements and different camera angles, the whole 3D experience wasn’t as consistent as watching golf.
For example, the more static shots from field level or near field level were amazing. The players appeared to pop from the screen.
I could focus on different elements in the shot—the players seated on the bench in the foreground or the players on the field in the background—instead of on what the camera person was focusing on.
Just like I would do when watching an event live.
But the 3D effect wasn’t as pronounced on shots showing the entire field. And in some cases, when there was a lot of movement on the screen, there was a shadowing effect as the cameras struggled to keep up with the action.
Still, these issues didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for 3D. My guess is as the technology progresses and the production people become more experienced at shooting sports in 3D, they will get better at capturing fast moving action in 3D.
So will 3d be the new standard?
Bottom line: if I were I shopping for a new set, I would definitely go with 3D, because I think it could become a game changer when it comes to sports.
Here is KJR radio personality Dave “Softy” Mahler talking about this weekend’s games in 3D.
Either click on the link or press the button to hear the spot: