Rugby League first 3D free-to-air broadcast

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(Image: State of Origin II 24 June 2009, Sydney, image by Pierre Roudier, CC2.0)

Channel Nine has announced it will broadcast the first 3D sports event in Australia next month when Queensland takes on NSW in the State of Origin.

The game takes place on May 26 and will only be viewable in 3D by owners of television sets with active shutter glasses -- which at this stage is the C7000 range of Samsung LED LCDs.

The government has given Nine extra spectrum for the event, and customers with compatible equipment will need to retune their TVs to receive the "one-off" channel.

A Channel Nine spokesperson has confirmed that the 3D broadcast will be in 1080i, and the new channel will essentially bond two ordinary channels together.

Sony and Panasonic have announced their 3D TVs will arrive in June.

"Being first to market, we will also be the first TV through which Australians can enjoy this 3D broadcast experience; a landmark occasion in Australian broadcasting history," said Mark Leathan, Samsung's head of marketing for consumer electronics.

Viewers will still be able to see the game in regular 2D on the broadcaster's regular channels.

In a press release, Channel Nine said "future developments in 3D encoding and video compression may allow 3DTV events to coexist as an enhancement to regular HDTV broadcasts. While the current trial requires additional temporary spectrum, the future may yield new solutions for 3D encoding that is backwards compatible".

Nine said it is investigating proprietary encoding formats from companies such as 3ality Digital, RealD and Sensio to assess the best system for free-to-air broadcasts to improve the resolution of the decoded 3D images.

Despite rumours of SBS showing select FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 matches in 3D, the only other broadcaster to announce 3D plans has been Foxtel, which has said it will be conducting tests in 2011.

Considering that this should mean further 3D broadcasts, will this convince you to buy a 3D TV? Let us know below!

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