Mar 15, 2010

Comcast to Deliver The Masters Golf Tournament in 3D to TV and Internet

Moments ago, Augusta National Golf Club announced our partnership to deliver the Masters Tournament in next generation 3D to US homes. For the first time ever, consumers with new 3D televisions and 3D-enabled PCs will be able to watch the next evolution of 3D in their homes on television and on the Internet when the Masters broadcasts live in 3D from April 7-11. This historic broadcast will be a glimpse at the future of entertainment, and we couldn't be more excited to bring it to consumers first.

In fact, this event will mark a series of industry firsts - the first live national next-generation 3D broadcast of a major sporting event on TV, the first live simulcast of a next-gen 3D event online, and the industry's first live multi-camera next-gen 3D production.

We'll be providing consumers with access to a never-before seen Masters coverage of the Tournament through a dedicated 3D channel that will show about two hours of live footage per day. This channel will show customers a unique viewing experience from the traditional Masters coverage using different camera angles produced by the Masters for this rare 3D experience.

Our engineers in Comcast Labs have been testing transmission of footage from Augusta National over the past few weeks and I can tell you that it's nothing short of spectacular. You can see how 3D can dramatically enhance the viewing experience, giving a unique, immersive perspective of the golf environment. The challenges to the players represented by the varied contours of the course come alive and I particularly liked one shot where the sand flew from the bunker. Wow.

To make the experience possible, Comcast will use our fiber network to carry a 3D production feed provided to the Comcast Media Center where we will package it for distribution to our systems and the Masters website. Sony and IBM are playing critical roles in working with us and the Masters to make this 3D broadcast available to consumers.

As our industry experiments with new ways to deliver live 3D content to the home, consumer electronics manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung are beginning to make 3D-enabled TV sets available at retail. If you're one of those early adopters who had to get your hands on an HDTV set in the late 1990s and like to try every new device first, then this is your chance to watch the next big thing. You will also be able to play the live 3D stream at on your PC, using a 3D media player, 3D monitor and 3D glasses. Traditional Masters Tournament coverage will continue to be available in HD on CBS and ESPN with highlights On Demand and online.

The Masters has long been a leader in the adoption of new broadcast technologies and holds the distinction of being the first golf tournament presented live in HD. Similarly, Comcast was one of the first cable companies to offer HDTV content to our customers. Since then, we've dramatically increased the amount of HD content we provide and seen the number of HDTVs skyrocket from zero to fifty percent household penetration today. Similar to HD, Comcast has consistently offered traditional ("anaglyph") 3D movie content though On Demand and has seen a strong response from its customers. This past December, Comcast was recognized in a research study as one of the top three trusted 3D brands, and the only video provider, along with Samsung and Sony.

We'll be providing additional updates and news here as the events draw closer. Until then, see you at the 19th hole.

Update: We updated this post to clarify the coverage details.

Tags : 3D, Augusta National Golf Club, Comcast Labs, golf, The Masters Tournament


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