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Report: FIFA Reconsiders 3D for World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO— The governing body of the World Cup is reconsidering the use of 3D for television coverage of the 2014 event to be held in Brazil. Niclas Ericson of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association said the use of the stereoscopic format is under review, according to an AP report in the Boston Herald. Ericson, FIFA’s director of television, made the statement Wednesday at a briefing during the Confederations Cup now underway in Brazil.

Niclas was reported to say that ESPN’s announcement last week to put a bullet in its 3D channel is giving FIFA pause about proceeding with the format. Several broadcasters have expressed interest in retaining the feed, he said, thus FIFA is reviewing the costs.

ESPN launched its 24/7 stereoscopic channel in 2010 specifically in time for the World Cup in South Africa. ESPN 3D went live that June 11 with coverage of South Africa vs. Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, and subsequently carried all 25 matches in 3D via a feed produced by FIFA.

3D was all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2010, but consumer interest did not materialize anywhere near industry expectations. Of the 115.6 million TV homes in the United States, only a fraction have stereoscopic screens.* Ergo, ESPN pulled the plug. (See “Au Revoir, ESPN 3D.”)

Meanwhile in Brazil, Sony is working with FIFA on producing the Confederations Cup in 4K, for which there is not yet a transmission standard. 4K, aka “Ultra HDTV,” has been used primarily in sports production to carve out high-resolution, close-up, replays, as CBS did this year with the Super Bowl. (See “CBS ‘Supersizes’ the Super Bowl.”)

By 2022, Japan expects to go far beyond 4KTV. In its bid to host the World Cup nine years hence, the nation said it would employ “giant, 3D hologram-style flatbed screens,” according to The Japan Times. Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies demonstrated what U.S. video expert Mark Schubin described as “actual electronic holography” at the 2009 NAB Show.

Countries vie for the World Cup in part because of the perceived economic benefits, which actually are difficult to quantify, ABC News and Univision report. In Brazil, for example, local citizens are protesting the Confederations Cup due to the billions being spent on stadiums that likely will be money sinks in the long run, the report notes. Much of the spoils go to FIFA and the broadcasters to whom it sells the TV rights. Individual telecasts of 2010 World Cup matches broke viewing records in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Germany and South Africa, according to FIFA. In the Netherlands and Australia, more than 90 percent of TV viewers watched home-team coverage. The 2010 was shown in “every single country and territory on Earth,” and “reached over 3.2 billion people.” FIFA said.

*Each U.S. home had, on average, 2.86 TV sets, according to Nielsen figures from 2009, meaning Americans possessed 330.6 million TV sets. Roughly 13.1 million 3DTVs—4 percent of the total in homes—have been shipped to dealers since the format was introduced in 2010, according to figures provided by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Also see…
April 29, 2013
, “Sony to Test 4K at FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil
Sony has announced that it plans to partner with FIFA to test 4K technology at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, which starts June 15 in Rio de Janeiro.

March 26, 2013,NEP Deploys Two New HD Production Trucks in Brazil
Casablanca Online will deploy NEP’s BR1 and BR2, new mobile production units designed specifically for the Brazilian outside broadcast market, as part of a production and transmission solution.

May 20, 2010,Japan Pledges 3D Holography for 2022 World Cup
The Japan Times said the country unveiled its bid for the 2022 World Cup on Monday. Japan and South Korea would co-organize the event and employ 3D, holographic display technology into the coverage.

April 20, 2009, “NAB 2009: Holography Update
The system shown at NAB used 28 fixed cameras in a semi-circle. It did not capture or reproduce any holograms in the sense of holography being wavefront-reconstruction photography