Wimbledon in 3D: Sky, Virgin and Freeview respond

Wimbledon in 3D: the umprire strikes back
Wimbledon in 3D: the umprire strikes back

The BBC's decision to broadcast Wimbledon in 3D on its HD channel has been met with praise in the television world, with Sky, Virgin and Freeview quick to comment on its significance.

Perhaps the most interesting comment comes from Sky, who was the first to promote 3D broadcasting in the UK and must be a little frustrated that it has missed out on showing Wimbledon on its 3D channel.

In a statement, the satcaster explained: "For everyone with an interest in the development of 3D in this country, this is encouraging news, with the promotional might of the BBC helping to create further interest in, and awareness of, 3D TV."

It didn't miss the opportunity to promote its own 3D endeavours, though.

"From the outset of 3D TV, Sky has embraced the opportunities it presents – indeed within just a year of the channel being available to customers, we've broadcast over 100 live sports events in 3D, major Hollywood movies including Avatar and a raft of specially commissioned UK 3D productions, including Sir David Attenborough's BAFTA award-winning Flying Monsters."

But it manages to reign its own 3D love, by the end of its blog post: "This move to broadcast Wimbledon in 3D is a significant step in the right direction, and gives confidence that the UK will continue to break new ground in this hugely exciting area."

Exciting technical innovation

Virgin Media was also quick to jump on the 3D bandwagon and kind of claimed the BBC's broadcast as its own.

"We're delighted to be offering our customers their second Grand Slam tennis tournament in 3D following on from the success of our exclusive coverage of the Roland Garros French Open – the first 3D tennis in the UK," said Virgin Media's statement.

"Virgin Media TV customers will be able to watch the Wimbledon men's and women's finals in 3D for no extra cost on channel 187."

What Virgin Media failed to explain is that as the BBC is a free-to-air channel, you can also get BBC HD at no extra cost on Sky, Freesat and Freeview HD.


Which brings us to Freeview, which contacted TechRadar with the following statement from Isle Howling, MD of the service: "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're delighted that anyone that has access to a 3D TV set and to Freeview HD can get closer to the action on Centre Court as they experience the Men's and Ladies' finals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships in 3D for the first time."

"We hope this 3DTV editorial experiment by the BBC is a sign of new things to come for Freeview viewers."

The BBC's 3D Wimbledon broadcast will begin 2 July, with the women's singles final. Don't forget to check out TechRadar's opinion on what will be another landmark in the broadcasting world and also our in-depth behind-the-scenes 3D Wimbledon feature.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.