NRL and AFL grand finals to be broadcast in 3D

Short-term 3D TV trial licence granted to Seven and Nine

Television networks Channel Seven and Channel Nine have been granted temporary licences by regulator ACMA to broadcast the upcoming AFL and NRL grand final matches on a dedicated 3D channel.

This news follows a 27 August statement from the regulatory authority that said that, contrary to Nine's claim that it would be broadcasting the NRL grand final in 3D, the ACMA had not approved a temporary licence for the network for this period. The statement indicated that until a report on the 3D trial was submitted by Nine and companion trial broadcaster SBS no further licences would be approved. Channel Nine's report was eventually submitted late on Friday 27 August, and SBS data was delivered to ACMA the following Monday.

The 3D trial channel, which was previously used to broadcast the State of Origin rugby league and 2010 FIFA World Cup football matches, will run again from 18 September to 8 October. This will allow the AFL and NRL grand final matches — on 25 September and 3 October respectively — to be broadcast in 3D to limited metropolitan areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.

However, ACMA has also stated that until an extensive review of transmission, licensing and policy issues for 3D broadcasts has been completed — with an open-ended intended completion date of the end of 2010 — no further licences would be approved for 3D digital television broadcasts. ACMA chairman Chris Chapman stated that the regulator was not willing to rush headlong into the new technology: "There is still much for the industry in Australia and internationally to learn about 3D TV production, transmission and reception." A discussion paper focusing on 3D television has been made available today on the ACMA Web site, and submissions from broadcasters and concerned parties will be accepted until 15 October.

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Campbell Simpson

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