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SBS in 3D

3D television was first broadcast in Australia by the SEVEN NETWORK on 29 October 1983. Eager viewers watched that evening with their red and blue-green cellophane 3D glasses. They cost a dollar. A two tone colour 3D feature was shown and some 3D shorts. The publicity leading up to the broadcast was big. The 3D worked. Sort of. But the technology was hardly high tech. Some 27 years later with the advent of digital, high definition and wide screen in many homes, what other advancements could there be? 3D of course. On 19 May 2010, 3D digital test transmissions commenced. Unlike the 1983 analogue experiment, not only has the technology improved but so has the content – if you’re a sports fan. SBS-TV will be broadcasting 15 of the FIFA World Cup matches in 3D from 13 June until 12 July and the NINE NETWORK will be broadcasting some 3D events too (the State of Origin series). So why has SBS decided to be part of the current 3D telecasts and exactly how does digital 3D work? SaveOurSBS.org approached SBS for an interview on their 3D test transmissions. Our interview with SBS is below.

SBS ventured into this with NINE. What is the relationship between SBS and NINE?

In order to facilitate SBS and NINE broadcasting what are effectively test transmissions in 3D the ACMA, which regulates and allocates broadcast spectrum, has made some spectrum available on a temporary basis. NINE and SBS have agreed to share the spectrum, with SBS becoming the “licensee” of the spectrum in some places and NINE in others.

SBS and NINE have devised a broadcast schedule that accommodates the needs of both broadcasters for the World Cup and State of Origin series. When matches are not being played a promotional reel showcasing 3D content from both broadcasters will be played. Replays of 3D matches will also be scheduled.

Is there a commercial arrangement between NINE and SBS in terms of splitting the income and sharing the overall costs?

There is no commercial arrangement between NINE and SBS. No payments or other consideration (other than practical assistance) will pass between the two.

How is SBS funding the 3D broadcast?

SBS has brokered a commercial partnership with Sony and Harvey Norman that covers the costs of broadcasting the World Cup in 3D. SBS has also received technical and transmission support from a number of partners including Broadcast Australia and satellite provider Optus.

Will there be advertising, including 3D advertising?

It is unlikely for technical reasons that it will be possible to insert ads in the 3D broadcast. Very few 3D ads currently exist.

What will be needed to watch the SBS 3D broadcasts?

Viewers will need to have or have access to a high definition 3D set and appropriate glasses to view the broadcast.

What will happen to the 3D digital channels after the World Cup?

After the World Cup and State of Origin series the spectrum will revert to the Government and its future use will be considered as part of the digital television switch over process.

At a future time would SBS like to have access to the 3D digital channel spectrum?

SBS does not have spectrum available to it to broadcast further 3D content at this stage. In any event there is little 3D content in existence [but we] will continue to monitor developments in 3D television and look at options for future broadcasts as and when they become feasible. 3D is still a technology in development. There are not yet agreed standards and at present there is not enough spectrum available to broadcasters for the wide spread provision of 3D programming.

Which cities and what digital channels will the 3D test broadcasts be available?

Frequencies in the UHF band in Sydney (35), Melbourne (35), Brisbane (50), Adelaide (29), Perth (35), Newcastle (35) and Wollongong (50).

Will SBS 3D be available in regional centres and remote parts of Australia?

Unfortunately, the service will not be available in regional areas. However, Austar MyStar customers who can receive a signal from one of the transmitter sites [mentioned] and who have appropriate reception equipment will be able to receive the signal.

The 3D test broadcasts on SBS of the FIFA World Cup will broadcast on the following dates and times: –

South Africa v Mexico LIVE 11 June at 23:45 hours AEST; Germany v Australia LIVE 14 June at 04:15 AEST; Netherlands v Denmark LIVE 14 June at 23:30 AEST; Argentina v Korea LIVE 17 June at 23:30 AEST; Netherlands v Japan LIVE 19 June at 23:30 AEST; Ghana v Germany 23 June LIVE at 04:15 AEST; Portugal v Brazil LIVE 25 June at 23:45 AEST; 1B v 2A (2) LIVE 28 June at 04:15 AEST; 1E v 2F (5) LIVE 28 June at 23:45 AEST; Quarter Final 1 v 3 (A) LIVE 3 July at 04:15 AEST; Quarter Final 2 v 4  (B) LIVE 3 July at 23:43 AEST; Quarter Final 6 v 8 (D) LIVE 4 July at 04:15 AEST; Semi Final A v C (1) LIVE 7 July at 04:15 AEST; Semi Final B v D (1) LIVE 8 July at 04:15 AEST; Final W1 v W2 LIVE 12 July at 04:15 AEST

Further Reading

SBS to broadcast World Cup in 3D SBS press release about 3D TV.

3D TV trials The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the industry regulator and has issued the licence for the 3D test transmissions.

3D television – the technology explained The Wikipedia technical explanation of how 3D works.

3D TV FAQ The CNEWS technical explanation of how 3D TV works.

3D TV SBS Broadcasts – Technical Only How technical buffs are watching 3D on a computer – the hardware and software needed.

Ready or not, the latest 3D technology is coming home What equipment is required to make and view 3D TV.

The History of Australian Television – the eighties 3D was first broadcast in Australia in 1983.

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