Channel Nine will be the first Australian network to broadcast 3D video footage. The State of Origin series of rugby league matches will be the first 3D sporting footage broadcast by any free-to-air television station worldwide.
Beating international broadcasts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first Channel Nine broadcast is set to take place on 26 May. It is another television first for the broadcaster, whose Australian test broadcasts on 16 September, 1956, marked the start of Australian free-to-air television. The broadcasts started with the station's first executive Bruce Gyngell speaking the famous words "Good evening, and welcome to television." The current Nine Network CEO, David Gyngell, is Bruce Gyngell's son.
The broadcast will be limited to viewers who own 3D-ready television sets, although national retailer Harvey Norman will keep its stores open later on the night to showcase the technology. The extra bandwidth required for 3D television broadcasts — which require video to be transmitted at higher frame rates — has been granted by Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. A trial licence for the 3D broadcast has been secured, but at the moment the broadcast will only take place within the Sydney metropolitan coverage area.
A spokesperson from Nine's publicity department said that the extra spectrum space would allow a temporary new channel to be opened for the 3D broadcast, and that Channel Nine's regular broadcast of the State of Origin in 2D would not be affected.