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Australian broadcasters dabble in 3D TV - 18-January-2010, 16:31

Australian broadcasters dabble in 3D TV

Australians will get their first taste of the latest trend in home entertainment next year when cable television provider Foxtel screens high definition 3D broadcasts.
Foxtel says it has been watching developments in the technology for more than a year and has successfully trialled 3D in its labs and offices.
The move follows a decision by the US porn industry to adopt 3D and plans by several television manufacturers to launch 3D sets in time for this year's soccer World Cup.
Foxtel said it plans test broadcasts in 2011 and may announce a full 3D rollout soon after.
Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said: "It will be an exciting addition to our range."
While global cable sports network ESPN plans to trial 3D broadcasts from this year's World Cup in South Africa, local soccer broadcaster SBS has no short-term plans to use the technology.
Channel Ten is planning to jump aboard the 3D bandwagon later this year, with a brief 3D segment in the quiz show Talkin' 'bout Your Generation.
Ten said it would give away the special 3D glasses needed to view the broadcast as part of a national promotion.
Channel Nine said it was monitoring the technology and Seven said it was interested in 3D's impact, particularly on sport.
But Seven's general manager of group broadcast services, Andrew Anderson, said it could be years before there was a large number of 3D television sets in Australian lounge rooms.
Sci-fi blockbuster Avatar has given 3D a huge boost recently but it is more than 50 years since movie-goers first thought the technology had arrived.
3D cinema technology has existed since the 1890s but its golden age was in the 1950s, when American movie-makers made schlocky 3D films, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The latest 3D technology is no passing fad, however, with dozens of Melbourne cinema screens converting to the format in the past six months.
London-based Australian trend-predictor, Benjamin Harrison, said 3D was being heralded as a "saviour" of the film and television industries, mostly because the new format is hard to pirate.
But the technology still has limits. "2010 will see 3D grow in special-event entertainment, but it will not impact on everyday programming. We won't put on glasses to watch the news while doing the ironing," said Harrison.
He believes the economic climate means people will initially stick to watching 3D at the movies, rather than shelling out thousands of dollars to install it at home.
Nic Healey, Australian managing editor of gadget magazine T3, said that it would take time for movie studios and television networks to maximise 3D's potential but the technology would undoubtedly become mainstream.
"I think it's just something people like having. On a cheesy level, it feels a bit futuristic," he said.

How it works

- Images are filmed using two cameras. Frames from each are interspersed and broadcast.
- Glasses trick the brain into seeing different images with each eye to create "depth".
- New 3D TV sets and Blu-ray players are needed for the full 3D experience.
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