SABC plan to test 3D at World Cup

THE SABC plans to screen several Fifa World Cup games in three-dimension (3D) at select venues, it said yesterday.

The 3D feed will not be available to the public but only to a limited audience at venues that have not yet been confirmed.

Speaking yesterday at the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's general conference in Sandton, Peter Kwele, SABC head of 2010, said: "Ericsson will be producing in 3D during the World Cup and there are plans to share that experience with football fans here in South Africa. The locations and the venues are currently being finalised."

Nhlanhla Sibisi, the public broadcaster's acting group executive in charge of content enterprises, was more cautious: "3D is a new technology, and we are still in transit from analogue to digital. It is unlikely that you'll have any television broadcaster in South Africa remotely interested in broadcasting in 3D.

"We're still battling with HD. The take-up [of 3D] given SA's economic dynamics won't be there even if we wanted to try," Sibisi said.

Fifa has said it would broadcast 24 games in 3D, but only about 3 television networks have signed up for it globally.

Kwele would not reveal how much the SABC was spending on broadcasting the World Cup, an exercise that would mean extensive broadcasting on 18 radio stations, three television channels and a variety of alternative media.

Despite it being the official broadcaster of the event, the SABC will miss out on revenue from mobile television.

"The World Cup rights we have are for TV. MTN is the cellphone provider which has mobile TV rights," he said.