BBC, The3DFirm present live 3-D HDTV rugby delivered via satellite

The BBC tested a live 3-D HDTV presentation of the RBS Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and England March 8 to a select audience at Riverside Studios in London.

The test, a joint venture of BBC Sport and The3DFirm, a consortium of media communications firm Can Communicate, 3-D specialist Inition and hire and post house Axis Films, required six months of preparations.

The3DFirm spent six months testing live 3-D with BBC Resources. The3DFirm and BBC Resources produced a stereoscopic (2X HDTV) signal from a three-camera production from Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh and delivered the signal via satellite to an audience invited to view the 3-D presentation in London.

The event at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith relied on big-screen projection to create a sense of 3-D immersion among the audience as it watched the production capture by 3-D camera rigs from The3DFirm.

The event is believed to be the first-ever live test screening of an international sports event in 3-D HDTV delivered via satellite. The effort required bouncing “dual HD signals around” via satellite and re-encoding them to create the 3-D experience that closely resembled the visual experience of actually being at the stadium, said BBC Sport Innovations Executive Aashish Chandarana.

The Riverside Studios, site of the 3-D HDTV presentation, was formerly owned by the BBC and served as the location of the BBC's first broadcast of color transmissions in 1967.