BBC to broadcast London 2012 Olympics ceremonies and 100m final in 3D

Nightly highlights will also be available as the BBC continues to assess the appetite for 3D TV

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BBC to broadcast London 2012 Olympics ceremonies and 100m final in 3D
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The BBC will show the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics, plus flagship athletics event the men’s 100m final, live in 3D this summer. 

Nightly highlights packages will also be available to viewers with 3D television sets, after main transmissions have finished. 

The 3D broadcasts will take place on the BBC HD channel, with standard and high-definition versions simulcast on BBC1 and BBC1 HD.

Writing on his BBC blog, Roger Mosey, the corporation’s director of London 2012, said the broadcasts were an important part of a modern Olympics and would help gauge the appetite for 3D broadcasts in the future.

“It's part of the story of innovation around the London Games - and with the host broadcasters' feed available in 3D we wanted to share some of that with UK audiences,” said Mosey.

“The industry will only know what customers want if we have actual data on their use of 3D and there's no bigger stage on which to try this out than the Olympics,” he added.

But Mosey admitted that the BBC was still experimenting with a technology that had proved less popular with audiences than first expected. 

“The BBC's overall approach to 3D has been very much on the lines of an experiment around special events like Wimbledon and Strictly Come Dancing,” he said of past 3D broadcasts.

“3D has spread more slowly than we perhaps expected and there have been interesting developments abroad with France's Canal Plus announcing that it's stopping its 3D channel because it just hadn't met its targets.”

A report published last year suggested 3D TV would struggle to become part of mainstream viewing, predicting that while 11 million UK households would own a 3D-ready set by 2016, only 40 per cent would regularly watch 3D broadcasts.

Sky launched a dedicated 3D channel in October 2010 but just 125,000 UK households bought a 3D TV set that year.

Unlike last year’s 3D Wimbledon broadcasts, which were shown in cinemas across the UK, the Olympics events will only be available on 3D TV sets.