Wimbledon to be first BBC 3D broadcast
23.01 Europe/London, June , 2011 By Julian Clover

The BBC has confirmed it is to stage its first 3D event when it broadcasts live coverage of the Men’s and Ladies’ Finals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships via the BBC’s HD Channel.

The free-to-air transmissions will be available to anyone with a 3DTV, regardless of which TV provider they use, also making the broadcast the first 3D transmission on the UK’s terrestrial system. They will be distributed via Sky, Freesat, Virgin Media and Freeview.

“I’m delighted that in this anniversary year we’re bringing UK audiences a new way of getting close to the action on Centre Court. I’m sure that 3D will only add to the drama as the world’s greatest players compete for the championship,” said Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD and 3D.

3D transmissions have been mooted since Nagler’s May appearance at the 3DTV World Forum in London. Late last week the BBC made a sudden decision to switch its HD broadcasts from DVB-S to the bandwidth saving DVB-S2.

The move was welcomed by Freeview MD Ilse Howling, who said that since the launch of Freeview HD some 225,000 (10%) of Freeview HDTVs sold were capable of displaying 3D pictures. “Through exciting technical innovation, 3D on Freeview is no longer a twinkle in the eye of the broadcast industry but is now becoming a reality. We hope this 3DTV editorial experiment by the BBC is a sign of new things to come for Freeview viewers.”

The live 3D coverage of the ladies’ and men’s finals on Saturday July 2 and Sunday July 3 will mark the 125th anniversary of the Wimbledon Championships. ‘Regular’ HD coverage will be screened on BBC One HD.

The BBC’s coverage is being provided in partnership with the AELTC and Sony Professional. It will also be available in a limited number of cinemas across the UK and the BBC is offering a small number of 3D screenings that will be free to members of the public.

Previously the BBC has restricted its 3D work to short experiments, such as last November’s cinema trail for the Children in Need Strictly Come Dancing special.