Harris’ range of 3-D-compliant broadcast TV equipment is being used by Nine Network and SBS to support Australia’s first stereoscopic 3-D TV trial broadcasts, which include coverage of this year’s Harvey Norman State of Origin Series rugby tournament. SBS is also screening several World Cup matches live from South Africa.
Nine Network and SBS jointly applied for a test broadcast license for the two-month 3-D TV trial, which began on May 19 and concludes on July 19. The sporting events are being broadcast in 3-D in Australia’s five major metropolitan centers: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, as well as in Wollongong and Newcastle. Viewers must have access to 3-D DTV receivers to watch the broadcasts.
Dozens of Harris’ X50 frame synchronizer/converters are being used to ensure synchronous transport of the 3-D signals in a side-by-side, HD, frame-compatible format from the stadium to Nine Network’s 3-D master control facility. There, the content is processed through the Harris IconMaster master control switcher, where bugs and watermarks are laid down and presented live to air. Demonstration and replay content is also being recorded onto a Harris NEXIO sever for playout at times when live events are not scheduled. The X50 signal processors will also be used by SBS for side-by-side signal generation before passing it on to the playout facility.
Harris provided additional support by fast tracking two DVB-T digital transmitters into Australia and supplying its engineering services for the transmission installation and commissioning process. The Harris transmitters included in these 3-D trials are the Maxiva 5.5kW ULX solid-state, liquid-cooled and the Maxiva 1kW UAX air-cooled transmitters — both incorporating Harris’ PowerSmart technology for power density and efficiency.
Given the limited availability of 3-D TV receivers across Australia, it is expected that the audiences for the initial 3-D TV trials will be largely found in key retail venues. Additionally, material captured during these live sporting events will be recorded and replayed on the 3-D trial broadcast to assist retail outlets in demonstrating 3-D TV displays to interested consumers.
Harris Morris, president of the Harris Broadcast Communications division‚ said that recent studies predict that more than 20 million TV homes globally will be watching 3-D TV within five years, with 4.6 million of those expected to be in the Asia-Pacific region.