Aussie network to broadcast rugby in 3D

SYDNEY (Hollywood Reporter) - Australia’s Nine Network said it will be the first terrestrial broadcaster in the world to offer 3D programing, as it announced plans Tuesday to film and broadcast the annual National Rugby League State of Origin series to viewers in 3D, beginning in May.

With the first game in the three-match series kicking off May 26, Nine will be ahead of other broadcasters worldwide who are planning to offer matches from the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in June and July in 3D.

The State of Origin rugby league series is one of the highest-rated telecasts in the country each year. All three games in this year’s series will be broadcast in 3D.

Nine has been planning the telecasts for some months with the assistance of local electronic goods retailer Harvey Norman, the NRL and the federal government.

The government is providing digital terrestrial spectrum on a trial basis for the broadcasts.

“It’s early days of course because the technology is still developing, and its availability to consumers right now is limited. But 3D is about to arrive with a bang across the world, and the Nine Network and Harvey Norman want to pioneer the revolution in Australia,” Nine Network CEO David Gyngell said.

NRL chief executive David Gallop added: “3DTV is a really exciting opportunity for rugby league fans. It will bring a new level of the toughness, excitement, speed and skill of rugby league into the homes of viewers through one of our game’s showcase series.”

TV manufacturers started bringing 3D capable digital TVs into the country this month, but it’s expected that audiences for the initial broadcasts will be mainly in cinemas, pubs and clubs.