Thursday, June 3, 2010

Broadcasters to deliver the World Cup in 3D, or via iPad

Thank you to the publisher behind the Bloggasm site for passing along a note concerning a post on the Comcast blog: ESPN 3D will be broadcasting up to 26 matches in 3D starting with the first match between Mexico and South Africa on June 11.

Now I don't know if Mr. Owen knew that I am a soccer fan, but he definitely hit a soft spot as I tend to watch all the U.S. national team games (men's and women's team). Of course, I also tend to scream at the TV in frustration as I watch Clint Dempsey lose the ball again, only to find the ball at his feet at the most opportune time and score a goal (guess you'd have to be a fan to understand).

Comcast actually made their initial announcement about ESPN and the World Cup a few weeks ago, but the first collaboration with ESPN in 3D goes back to the Masters, which (I believe) was offered not as a dedicated channel, but on-demand.
“ESPN was a pioneer in HD, and continues to move the industry forward with the first 3D sports network,” Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation is quoted in the original statement. “We delivered the first live national 3D sports event to consumers homes earlier this year with the Masters Tournament and believe that 3D sports will drive the adoption of this technology and continue to revolutionize how we deliver entertainment.”

DirecTV will also be carrying ESPN 3D, and Dish and Cox are expected to land the network, as well. According to Mediapost, though, the market is incredibly small. "One estimate calls for .009% of U.S. TV homes to have a 3D set by the end of the year. Also, 3D set owners need special glasses to watch and have to do some tinkering with set-top-boxes to ensure a clean feed," David Goetzi of Mediapost wrote a couple of weeks ago.

I don't own a 3D television, and those glasses have to go, but I do own an iPad and am waiting for ESPN to introduce something concerning broadcasting the World Cup via that device.
U.K. satellite broadcaster Sky, on the other hand, wasted no time launching an iPad app (though it can only be found in the U.K. iTunes store). The Sky Mobile TV app is free, but like all of the mobile and web offerings from Rupert Murdoch owned properties the subscription prices to actually receive content are high -- in this case £35 or €54 per month for non-Sky subscribers. If you are a current subscriber the cost is an additional £6 or €7 per month, assuming you are already subscribing to the Sky Sports Pack. Oh my.

But the Brits go World Cup crazy every four years (this time we can win it!) so the company is giving it away to current customers for the first three months. No matter, if you log into the UK iTunes store you will be entertained by the comments from iPad owners who are not exactly thrilled with the pricing scheme -- I guess the U.K. has its share of people who demand free, as well.