Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: NHL Heritage Classic In 3D

Feb 20, 2011

NHL Heritage Classic in 3D: Montreal Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames

Rating (4.5 out of 5)

I finally had the chance to watch my first live 3D sporting event tonight. Well technically that's not true - I did watch part of a 3D golf broadcast last month - but golf doesn't really count as a sport does it?

I'm not sure if it's the way the 3D was shot, or if hockey is just a more natural subject for this medium, but the 3D effect in the Heritage Classic was much better than what I remember from the golf broadcast.

I watched the game on my Sony Bravia 55" HX800 3D TV. It was broadcast by CBC, shown on Rogers Channel 900 in side-by-side 3D format.

Overall the 3D broadcast was a huge win. The picture look great, the colors were bright and vivid, and the depth was absolutely incredible at times. The 3D really added to the enjoyability of watching the game. It's a bit of a cliche, but it really was almost like being there. A truly immersive experience.

Even little things, like a shot of the players from the side of the bench, suddenly became breathtaking 3D images that seemed to go on forever behind the TV. And other events, like the live music before the game and between the 2nd and 3rd periods, both looked and sounded awesome.

On the downside, there were definitely a few glitches along the way (primarily during the first period). On several occasions the picture blacked out, or started scrolling up and down like an old VHS tape. There were also some losses in the audio early on. I can only assume these issues had more to do with CBC still trying to figure out this new technology, as well as the challenges of broadcasting from an outdoor location, than anything else.

As well, my Sony TV seemed to have problems properly displaying some of the overlays near the bottom of the screen (such as a player's name or other statistic). These overlays appeared to show a lot of ghosting. But yet if I closed one eye I still saw the ghosting effect. Which leads me to believe the problem is either a result of the way these images were broadcast, or a problem with the way my TV is decoding these images. This all has me a little confused, since similar displays at the top of the screen (such as the score) looked fine.

But glitches aside, watching the NHL in 3D is truly a step forward and a huge improvement over standard 2D. All I have left to say is...


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