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3D tennis, anyone?

May 23, 2008

Posted by Meghan Fuller Hanna

An interesting press release crossed my desk this morning . . . France Telecom's Orange today announced that it will film and broadcast its first live 3D sports event at next week's French Open.

The trial is set to take place next Monday (5/26) and Tuesday (5/27). Orange says it will use 3D cameras to film all the matches on the Suzanne Lenglen court and broadcast them live. The 3D matches will also be available on VoD until the end of the tournament. At Roland Garros and in its two flagship stores located at Champs Elysées and Paris Madeleine, Orange will be providing its guests with 3D glasses to watch the matches on 3D TV.

The carrier says this trial is "preparing the arrival of 3D television in [its] customers' homes."

While tennis is not really my proverbial cup of tea, 3D sports would be VERY MUCH my cup of tea, and I applaud Orange for upping the ante when it comes to sports broadcasting. How long before the North American telcos and cable MSOs try to use such technology to their competitive advantage? I may be biased, but I can't imagine a better use for all that fiber they've deployed.

Last night's frustrating 103-97 Celtics loss (at home, no less!) notwithstanding, this would have been a great week to watch Boston sports in 3D. Jon Lester's no-hitter was spectacular enough on the flat screen; imagine watching it in three dimensions. Jacoby Ellsbury's diving catch in the fourth would have sent him sprawling into my living room. And how much more imposing would Paul Pierce and LeBron James have looked if last Sunday's nerve-wracking, chest-pain-inducing Game Seven, Celtics v. Cavaliers, had been broadcast in 3D?

Speaking of the Celtics, Verizon announced yesterday that reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett recently completed filming a TV commercial for its FiOS offering. (To view an MPG preview, click here.)

Part of the carrier's "This is FiOS; This is Big" campaign, the ad showcases Verizon's Home Media DVR, which allows subscribers to record a standard-definition program and view it anytime on up to seven TVs in the home, not just the one hooked up to the DVR.

On any other day, that would have been pretty cool. But today Orange announced that it's going to offer a live sporting event in 3D, and to the sports fanatic, that's a slam dunk.


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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.