The media industry hopes that a technology created to make film monsters scarier might be the next big thing for football. The "third wave" of 3D now sweeping through the industry is hanging its hopes on sport, in particular the world's most-watched: football. Sky TV made history last month by broadcasting the first live football game in 3D - Manchester United's win over Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in the UK. The broadcast, viewed by a handful of media representatives, fans and industry leaders in a few secret hotels that had been fitted with 3D-enabled TV sets, was designed as a promotion for the launch of Sky's 3D service in April.
Sony, which announced the launch of its 3D-enabled products in the GCC yesterday, is also relying on football's ability to drive 3D technology into the marketplace. The company signed a deal with FIFA, with whom it already has a sponsorship contract from 2007 to 2014, to cover up to 25 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa using Sony's proprietary camera technology. This, too, will be a promotion of sorts, albeit a very large one. Sony expects the impact of seeing football stars in 3D will send fans racing to their consumer electronics stores to buy their own 3D-enabled experience, from glasses to TV sets. But some analysts are concerned that less developed markets are not yet ready for 3D.
Manaf Ahammed, the director of operations for Ten Sports, told Digital Production Middle East last month the Middle East would not be ready for 3D for three years at least, largely due to a lack of infrastructure. Doubters even exist in developed markets. Fergal Ringrose, the editor of Europe's broadcast technology magazine TVB Europe told BBC News that Sky was in a unique position and that the majority of broadcasters were reluctant to embrace 3D TV.
"Sky is going to be broadcasting through its existing high-definition infrastructure, through its satellite network and then through the Sky set-top box," he said. "Very few broadcasters are in the position to control the entire process." email@example.com