Forget Tiger Woods. If Comcast has anything to say about it, the thing everyone will remember about this year's Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club will be the 3D TV coverage – and the 3D video streamed to Masters.com, the official Masters site. According to Comcast, a good portion of the annual tournament will appear in 3D TV, beginning with the Par 3 contest this afternoon.
“The 3D experience gives viewers a player’s perspective of Augusta National, like they’re looking through a window onto one of the most beautiful and scenic venues in the world,” Comcast senior VP Derek Harrar said in a press statement released on Monday. "We can’t imagine a better setting than the Masters Tournament to give a glimpse of the future of 3D television.”
For Comcast, the stakes are high. 3D TV is a buzzword – Sony, Samsung, and Sharp have all announced plans to market lines of 3D sets, and Sharp will soon roll out a 3.4-inch 3D-capable LCD TV, which lets users go without those geeky glasses. Meanwhile, Nintendo is expected to begin selling a 3D handheld gaming device called the Nintendo 3DS.
Back in January, ESPN took the first step into the 3D sports market, saying it would show the Mexico-South Africa World Cup match on June 11 in 3D. According to ESPN, that broadcast will appear on a new ESPN 3D network. But there are questions about whether or not consumers – even the consumers who snatched up tickets to "Avatar" – will buy into the whole 3D TV thing.
"We've demonstrated that the 3D market is an extremely lucrative market and this is not a fad, this is not something that is going to go away," Avatar director James Cameron said in an interview this year. "It's going to be interesting because [3D] TVs are going to change things yet again. But the TVs are going to take awhile to catch up with the marketplace because there isn't enough content."
From what we can tell, when it comes to the Masters, Comcast will have content galore. The company has posted the following schedule of 3D coverage to its site:
- April 7: Par 3 (3 - 5 p.m. ET) - Holes 4, 8 and 9
- April 8 and 9: (4 - 6 p.m. ET) - Holes 14, 16 and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
- April 10 and 11: (5 - 7 p.m. ET) - Holes 14, 16 and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
You'll also be able to get 3D coverage on your laptop, although you'll need a 3D monitor with a 3D media player. Same stipulation for the 3D TV, of course: Comcast says users should have "a new 3D TV with 3D glasses and an HD set-top box with an HDMI connection."