It was a big day for iPONT yesterday as we took part in BBC's 3D broadcast experiment at Television Centre, in White City. We got down the Beeb early so we could set up our two screens. This we did with the help of 3D Exposure who were providing the 2nd screen.
A huge cinema style screen requiring passive glasses has been constructed in Studio 2 to accommodate about 200 members of the public and a few invited guests. We set up at the side of the studio so visitors were able to check out our screens as they walked past. Another studio next door housed various screens from other manufacturers to test, but of course, ours was the only screen that didn't need glasses.
The Wimbledon final is the highlight in the UK calendar, so as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djovovic warmed up for their Centre Court showdown and the gathered crowd sipped on a typically British Pimms the excitement was mounting. Head of HD Danielle Nagler kicked off the test with a speech explaining what the day was about and hoping we enjoyed the game.
From the start, the audience seemed to love watching tennis in 3D as Novak's powerful base line shots and Nadal's incredible athletic agility were shown with more depth while the low-camera angles of the filming gave great immersive perspective.
I was one of the lucky ones that travelled over to Belfast to watch the blockbuster Haye Vs Klitschko fight as well as the enthralling men's Wimbledon final in the ‘3D without glasses' experience at iconic Belfast bar, Laverys.
I was curious to see the reaction to sports in 3D without glasses and expected to learn quite a lot from the trip. While the fight proved to be a bit of a damp squib (wasn't Haye going to leather him!) the tennis proved emphatically why Djokovic deserves his new world number one ranking!
There were some 300 fans packed into Laverys on Saturday evening with the Back Bar rocking as the countdown to the fight began! With most of the pub anticipating the ‘Hayemaker' to make history that night I also ran into two confident-looking German-Klitschko supporters (who knowingly knew their man was about to beat the cocky Londoner).
We're very excited about this weekend as we're going to be part of the BBC 3D's broadcast experiment during the Wimbledon Championship men's final at Television Centre.
3D Exposure is supplying a 42" and 65" screen for the trail which will give ticketed visitors the chance to see what 3D tennis looks like without glasses. The men's final is such a focal point in the UK sporting calendar so we're thrilled to be able to of this milestone. We can't wait to get involved.
We have an exciting and busy weekend for iPONT coming up as we give sports fans in Northern Ireland their first taste of glasses-free 3DTV.
After the success of the UEFA Champions League final pilot at Walkabout Bar in London in May we're hosting a similar public test event at Belfast's oldest bar, Lavery's. This time our friends at Northern Ireland biggest AV installer, HD Source are installing a 42" wide-angled auto-stereoscopic screen powered by our magic.
The screen will be there all weekend so customer can either enjoy the big fight between Hayes vs Klitschko on Saturday or the men's tennis Wimbledon final on Sunday.
The flight takes place from 8pm broadcast via Sky 3D on Saturday and the Men's final courtesy of the BBC's trial 3D experiment will show from midday on Sunday.
We're very much looking forward to seeing what both these sports looking like on our technology, so if you're in the area please come down and enjoy and drink or two and share some feedback. We assure you they will be the only glasses you'll need.
"It's 7pm, on Saturday 28th May and the Walkabout in Covent Garden is already heaving. Queues snake down the street while inside swathes of Manchester and Barcelona footie fans are chanting as they wait to witness the biggest football battle of the year - The UEFA Champions League Final. The reason I have chosen the Aussie bar to watch my home team was not just the flowing beer and masses of screens, but to catch something of a world first.
I've been invited by iPONT to the first public pilot of their 3DTV technology which can convert live 3D content so you can view it without the need to wear glasses. This to me is pretty wow.
Nervous that my home team, Manchester United, are the underdogs but excited at the prospect of no glasses 3DTV I squeeze my way downstairs to the semi-private, dimly lit room which is already busy with a mixture of fans, press and my friend Stuart.
First impressions of the no-glasses 65" 3D screen is impressive as it seems to do exactly what it says on the tin. With beer in hand the viewing experience is little different from watching 3DTV with glasses -except, well.... you don't need glasses - apart from, of course, the one holding our pints.
It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the screen but once orientated it's clear iPONT's solution, which magically converts the live signal into 3D autostereoscopic image that doesn't require eyewear, is wizardry. Except for the occasional blur this thing really works, exceeding our expectations.
Suddenly the volume rises, cue that the match being broadcast on Sky's 3D channel, is about to start so the buoyant crowd starts shuffling into place. I choose my spot wisely. While the TV seems to have a wide and fairly generous optical viewing angles, it does of course have limitations. Too close and you don't get the full 3D effect; too far out to the side and it can blur; and far back and a group of 6ft.2 football fans will stand front of you. I'm no spring chicken so I snare a saved vacant chair next to Stuart about 10ft front the screen. Perfect.
The match however is not going our way. It's clear Barcelona are the better side dominating the ball from the start. After 20 minutes the Spanish score, with Rooney cruelly raising my hopes with an adept leveler. The footwork is fast and furious and I have high hopes. They are soon dashed as Spain score another 2 goals to win 3-1. It's a bitter defeat but I've had a great couple of hours being a 3D guinea pig.
While the low-down close up shots of the players and interval adverts are brilliant it's seems to me the content needs to evolve to improve the 3Dness of fast moving and wide-angled match-play need to sharpen up before it's 100% there. But while leaflets scattered over the bar warn ‘it's just trial and not quite ready for consumers' it feels like it will more likely to be months rather than years before we'll start chucking those silly glasses away.
We both had a great night and as leave for another bar to drown our footie sorrows we both feel privileged to be part of one of the first to experience this new chapter in TV technology."