This isn’t surprising given that Sky has to use the side by side 3D image technique, thus requiring it to share the 1920x1080 pixels in its broadcast stream between two images, rather than just the one you get with standard HD.
But having to choose between resolution with HD and depth of field with 3D could be one of the big decisions anyone uncertain of whether 3D is for them needs to make. And since I suspect it’s a subjective decision, all we can suggest is that you get the chance to try and do some head to head viewing like we have.
Looking more briefly now at two other Sky ‘party pieces’ from the first two weeks, the Scotland/Spain footie match and the darts coverage, we find two very different experiences, one worthwhile, one really not.
The worthwhile one is definitely the football coverage. As noted in our reviews of the first 3D TVs we saw, football is capable of benefitting immensely from a 3D perspective. As with the golf coverage, this isn’t true of all shots; long-distance shots taken above the pitch, for instance, have little if any more depth than they do with the ‘flat’ 2D picture. But 3D comes into its own with relatively close, low-angle shots.
For instance, cameras positioned behind the ball with free kicks will show you exactly where the free kick is going in a way just not possible with 2D. And even more strikingly, if a pitchside 3D camera films a cross coming in to the box, you can see exactly where the ball is headed and which players are going to be getting on the end of it.
This greatly enhances your appreciation and understanding of the action, as well as engaging you more with it.
The pitchside 3D cameras do a great job, too, of making you appreciate the experience of being a player in the middle of the vast stadia that now populate most of the Premiership. Interestingly, we didn’t feel the loss of sharpness and detail as much with football as we did with the golf, probably because the scale of the action isn’t so extreme.
With darts, we didn’t feel that 3D added anything to the event at all. In terms of the actual dart action, we really weren’t amazed at all by seeing the darts sticking out of the board a bit. And really the only other 3D effects are a sense of depth within the scary crowd and, um, an enhanced sense of the size of the players’ beer bellies.
An oft-used shot from above the board of the players coming to retrieve their darts also did a great job of causing crosstalk noise, even on TVs that don’t usually suffer from it.