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Sports TV to move into 3D this year- how long until F1 follows?
Sports TV to move into 3D this year- how long until F1 follows?
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jan 2010   |  7:42 pm GMT  |  115 comments

One of the strong messages coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is that 2010 is the year of 3D TV becoming a reality and sport is set to be one of the early adopters.

An ESPN 3D camera in action (Photo ESPN)

An ESPN 3D camera in action (Photo ESPN)

American sports network ESPN has announced that it will be broadcasting games from this year’s football World Cup in 3D, as part of an offering of 85 shows starting in June.

“The sports genre is probably the best suited to exploit this technology,” Sean Bratches, an executive vice president at ESPN told the New York Times.

One of the pioneers of 3D TV is LG Electronics, which is a technology partner of Formula 1, now entering the second year of a five year contract with FOM. LG has been advising FOM TV on High Definition, and has run some test exercises, such as at Monaco this year where HD cameras were trialled around the track. But HD is probably not going to happen in F1 until 2011. It took about 10 years for HD to catch on but many sports are now broadcast in HD and F1 is dragging its heels.

On that basis it could be quite a few years before viewers at home will be leaping out of their seats as they see a car hurtling through the Swimming Pool chicane at Monaco and into their living rooms. Industry experts agree that the consumer already has a bewildering array of TV viewing choices to make and 3D just complicates things further. But F1 would surely be a perfect sport for it, once the technology and production facilities are mature.

“The stars are aligning to make 2010 the launch year of 3-D,” John Taylor, a vice president for LG Electronics USA said in the New York Times. “It’s still just in its infancy, but when there is a sufficient amount of content available — and lots of people are working on this — there will be a true tipping point for consumers.”

The 3D TV works by dividing picture images into two sets, one for each eye. The viewer wears special glasses, so each eye captures a different image, creating the illusion of depth. Filming involves two linked cameras, one serving the image for the left-eye image and the other for the right.

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I don't think that this will happen for a while yet, although I think its a great idea! I wouln't like to wear those silly glasses for 2 Hours! I wen't to see "Avatar" in 3D and although the effects were great, my head hurt really bad later on!


In some ways I'm not surprised at all by FOM's total failure to roll out HD, after all they only discovered Widescreen a couple of years back!

In recent years I frequently get the opinion that FOM has stopped caring. At the very least you would expect some sort of behind the scenes blog on But nothing. Not even one single email address on the entire site, so I can't even vent my views to them.

Being a F1 isn't particularly easy at the best of times, what with the shocking ticket prices and being totally unable to watch the races anywhere social-able, like a pub.


Well said!


I'm really not convinced on 3d, not at all. I really want it in HD though and I can't help but think I'm not going to be the only one. I want to see right into the drivers eyes crystal clear while they are on the limit... I love McLarens steering wheel camera where they look back at Lewis and before that Kimi.

Can anyone tell me why it's only the Mclarens if Lewis and Kimi car that had this? And why Schuey and Massa had the side on view presumably mounted on a side mirror?

Anyway, HD is the way to go , 3D is a bit gimmicky is it not?

Unless I'm proving wrong!


Anyway cable over antenna is the way to go, but tv in colour is a bit gimmicky, isn't it?

Twenty years from now we'll laugh at people that don't have a 3D tv..


As long as you need stupid glasses to watch 3D Tv then it's not gonna work even in 20 year time. For something to be used on daily bases people need it to be extremely easy. And that glasses are annoying.

Also i don't think that 2D will disappear even if we all have 3D TV's in our homes. Watching things pop out of the screen all the time can get tiring and you would want to have some good old 2D at times.

Who is gonna watch "The Ring" in 3D anyways?


The fact that Formula 1 still hasn't stepped it up in terms of providing the ultimate broadcast experience yet is in fact quite shocking. HD broadcast should have been the big wigs top priority in the offseason, regardless of cost. If this is the pinnacle of motorsport why is it not providing the best to the viewer?


The answer lies with money.

If Sky thought they could viably sell a HD feed on a pay to view basis AND Bernie was getting a slice of the cake then it'd already have been rolled out.

Think they tried selling a premium service before, where you could choose from a variety of video feeds and commentaries. Unfortunately the audio feed from Brundle & Allen wasn't an option so it inevitably failed. 😉


Good point but it doesn't explain the fact that non-ppv channels now offer HD content. As I understand it FOM provides the feed for almost all of the races on the calendar therefore they are responsible for the quality of the feed and how it is paid for. If they are paid millions from multiple tv networks (free to view or not) across the globe for this feed then why can't they flow some of that cash to improve the show? They can, simple as that.


Sky Sports are to offer Pubs etc, which show the public Sky sports programs, 3D at no extra subsciption cost maybe starting next year to show boat the technology to the public.

Mind you with the ammount they already charge these buisneses they could't ask for anymore!

Glad F1 is on free to air, shame your not on it James?


I'm just getting this creepy pictures in my head. I walk into a pub. Everybody is sitting at the bar holding a pint in their hands - and wearing those funny 3D glasses!

That's just wrong ... 😉

HDTV yes, 3D no.


Difficult to see 3D to really taking off. Who wants to wear the silly glasses all the time? (50 quid a throw according to BBC 5 Live today)

Plus most people multi-task whilst watching TV . . . chatting to mates, eating, surfing the web, twittering, facebooking, etc. It would be a pain to have to put 3D glasses on and off all the time.

It is a daft idea and misunderstands how young people use TV and the net/communication tools these days,



All three sets (due to ship in August) use "active-shutter" 3D glasses from XpanD (a competitor of RealD, the company that's partnering with Sony, JVC, and Samsung for their 3D technology). Using an infrared sync signal, the XpanD glasses feature left and right lenses with LCD shutters that open and close rapidly in sync with the screen, all the better to ensure that your left and right eyes are seeing the correct left-or-right video image at the precise moment.

Of course, the hidden cost in many of the upcoming 3D TVs we'll be seeing at CES lies with these battery-powered active shutter glasses. I haven't heard any prices from the big TV manufacturers yet, but in the past I've heard figures that top out at about $100 a pop. So if you've got a family of five that wants to watch a movie in 3D on your new Vizio, well ... you do the math. (For the record, Vizio hasn't yet announced how much its active-shutter 3D glasses will cost.)



It's quite incredible that we've been watching football for example in HD for years and years now- and yet F1, supposedly the most expensive and lavish of all sports(?!) still can't get their useless mitts around it! When will they hurry up and get on with it- I know it's not a big thing in the scheme of things but with all the new tech, names, tracks- coverage of the sport itself hasn't changed much for some time...


Lets have F1 in HD before we start to think of 3D ( BBC please note )


3D!? I'd settle for just HD right now.


I feel sorry for the percentage of the population that either can't see 3D or suffer headaches when doing so.


Hello James and everyone following the blog,

I know this is off topic (hope you don't mind James) but while we are talking about 'images' and capturing F1

I hope someone can helpe or advise me. I am a photographer, and a HUGE F1 fan, have been since a little boy. I've been to Grand Prix which are the most amazing sports events ever. The fans are truely amazing!

One of my dreams has been to shoot a Grand Prix. I would do it for free, I would pay my way and I would hand over all rights and images. It's purely for a love for photography coupled by my love and passion for Formula 1.

Does anyone know if it is possible to do this, like a marshal, volunteer as a photographer?




Very tricky, because of the waiver you have to sign to stand in restricted areas. You can go as a spectator and shoot at tracks like Silverstone or Monaco, but maybe some of the readers have a view on which tracks give spectators a good chance to shoot images.


As a spectator you can make some nice pictures at Spa!

Can get close to the circuit without fances.

Here are some I made this year.


Great piece James,

It seems to me that Bernie doesn't like technology that costs him money and doesn't make him money.

The iPod app for F1 was hailed as great but too damn expensive - especially as the similar apps for other sports were free.

The F1 on-screen graphics are OK but this is 2010 - others are doing better!

Can we 'push a button' and select a driver of choice - no! Simple things that happen other sports but not in the most expensive and technologically advanced sport on the planet.

I hope that the new teams will push F1 into modern times.

I think Bernie has the Rupert Murdoch mentality and that he is struggling to see how to use the Internet to make money.

F1 is very late to the multi-media party!   


'a few years' is right. Most people have only just bought a new TV (for Freeview and/or HD).

There are not going to shell out hundreds of pounds *again* very soon.



Good point although I wouldnt be surpised if majority of F1 fans are early adopters (they tend to be high earners and spenders as well)

Does F1 really know its market?



I'm a huge F1 fan and unfortunately not a high earner at all... so I'm grateful for the chance to watch my favourite sport on a free-to-air channel (well, free minus the licence fee, which of course I pay), and not to have to pay through the nose for Sky etc. is a great thing for me.

I would like to see F1 in HD, as I hear that Freeview services in UK will eventually be able to recieve HD channels, and as the BBC are very open to having their flagship programs in HD I'd expect some gentle nudging in Bernie's direction from them...

For now I don't really care if it's in HD or not, as I'm just glad I don't have to pay too much to watch it...


(trying hard to push an image of a pub-full of football fans wearing 3D glasses out of my mind)

I'm not sure 3D F1 will be as impressive as some other applications I've seen, but I'd like to see an example of it!


Thanks James, well lets see who can afford a 3D Panel anyway 🙁

Well Lee McKenzie has basically confirmed with her tweet ( ), "To all of you who mention HD...FOM are saying 2011 :-("


When the heck is F1 going to get it's thumb out of it's backside and film in HD? They must be the last sport, along with Antarctic Penguin Curling, to not be broadcast in HD.

The pinnacle of technology, indeed. The pinnacle of money grubbers, cheaters, and megalomaniacs is more like it.

Regarding 3D, yeah, I can wait until I need a new television for this - hopefully not for another 10 years or more.


It's profoundly absurd that the most high tech, modern sport in the world has to wait till 2011 to get HD coverage. They had the christmas eve midnight mass from the Vatican in HD for christ's sake (literally)!


3-D! I'd settle for just plain old HD first!

without having to pay extra for the privilege, pinnacle of sport seems to be found in the legal courts rather than the race track these days.


Overblown, gimmicky and adds nothing to the actual racing on the track.. perfect for modern F1! 😉

Tom - Australia

I saw Avatar in 3D. Meh, it was all rather gimmicky.

F1 needs HD a lot more than it needs 3D.


Completely agree - all this great stuff will happen but not for another 6-10 years. No need to chuck the HD 'set in the skip just yet!


Nascar, the NFL, and other major US sports have been televised in HD for 6 years.

F1 will be -at least- 7 YEARS behind other major sports in introducing high definition. That's "if" F1 introduces HD in 2011, a big "if".

The most high tech cars in the world, the least high tech TV package of any major international sporting series. It's a massive contradiction, but there's a massive reason.

The reason F1 continues to lag the sporting world in broadcast technology is that is that (F1's commercial rights holder) CVC IS CHEAP and in (reportedly) dire financial straits.

Moving to HD would cost money, money that CVC doesn't want to spend (or may not have to spend). CVC is a very short-term company looking for short-term gains. They're not at all interested in the long-term improvement of the sport.

Many financial analysts fully expect CVC to completely divest of F1 the moment the loans are paid off. CVC has no interest in investing in F1's future, they just want to bleed it of cash until they can sell up.

I think the only way CVC will ever agree to pay for HD is if they're dragged kicking and screaming, likely by new breakaway threats from the teams.

As for 3D, keep dreaming. If F1's High Definition debacle is any indication, 3D won't be here until 2017 at the soonest.


This is spot on. Well done Sir.


I cant see myself sitting on a sunday lunchtime eating my dinner whilst wearing those silly glasses. They're bareable at the cinema but not in the comfort of my own home, especially in daylight with other people present.


An on-board camera view on Eau Rouge in 3D - things like this would sell both: Formula 1 and 3D TV sets. But, looking at the story of introducing F1 to HD, I have no hopes for such a sight anytime soon.


The fact that F1 is not in HD yet is frankly a joke. I don't see why F1 cannot be broadcast in HD, all it requires is a few new cameras surley? We have BBC HD in the UK and most other countries have some sort of HD access.

Almost every other sport I can think of is broadcast in HD and it pains me that F1 is so behind the times.

As you say, it took years and years for F1 to broadcast in widescreen, we still don't have HD which should have arrived in 2007, and 3D will probably come to F1 when the next big advancement is being implemented in other sports.

Sorry for the rant, but FOM have failed on an epic scale.


I think F1 needs to figure out how to broadcast a season in HD before they tackle 3D. The question you ask is laughable (not laughing at you, but at FOM) given Bernie's resistance to HDTV thus far.


What about F1 catching up with HD tv, pinacle of motorsport still on SD. 3D can wait.


I just don't see the apeal of 3D TV. Who honestly wants to wear a pair of glasses while watching telly?

I can see HD being a hit. VR racing and interactivity taking off. But a medium which makes it difficult to consume by either a limited viewing angle or a third party device doesn't appeal.

... oh and I was the one that thought iPhone would be a flop. 🙂


This is the issue with just one rights holder to the television of the sport, there is no competition. If FOM had competition for the pictures, there would surely be HD already, and perhaps 3D already in the sport?

Such a missed opportunity for what is clearly a demanding market.


It's because his buddy Mad Max gave him the rights for free as if they were his own.

On that note, they belonged to FIA, something Mad Max also assumed is his own possession.

Which brings us to the ultimate incompetence of F1 and also the ultimate owner of F1.

The FIA as an organization and governing body.


They're only pushing 3d because they stand to make a killing if it catches on, I cant say I'm a big fan of the idea.

HD on the other hand is just an upgrade for the current system, a bit like black and white to colour, and it's taken far too long to implement.


For a sport that prides itself on cutting edge technology, F1 is extraordinarily conservative at times.

The uptake of HD has been slow (I'd assumed it must arrive this year, but now not even that?), the internet is completely underutilised (the main goal of FOM seems to be to PREVENT people from glimpsing any F1 on the web, even if it's 5 year old footage) and onboard cameras seem to lack any imagination(what ever happened to those fantastic rear-wing mounted cameras of the past?).

3D? Don't hold your breath. There are no pioneers at FOM.

Ted the Mechanic

Only 80-year-old dinosaurs?


Haha, bravo! 🙂


I'd be happy with HD, hearing it wont happen until 2011 though. 3D can stay away for all I care...


I didn't have HD television recently but Dont BBC do HD sports.

James, are all tv cams in f1 coverage part of the f1 package(ie not BBC or previously itv in the uk). I guess not judging by this?


Almost all races are covered by FOM TV. Japan was an exception last season


fom-tv were already playing with 3d last year.

an insider i have at fom-tv tells me that they using a 3d incar camera during friday sessions at a handfull of gp's last year. also many of there incars are already hd now as they spent a lot of $$$ in upgrading them early on last season.

i am been told that the reason for them dragging there feet on the hd front is that there isnt a great deal of demand for it around the world from broadcasters to justify the cost involved in taking the broadcast hd. last figure i got was that less than 10 broadcasters worldwide had shown an intrest in taking a hd broadcast. those broadcasters were bbc,speed channel,tsn,premiere,fujitv,orf and network 10. there waiting for more broadcasters to show intrest and for it to become with there extra money that would need to be spent so there upgrading there equipment bit by bit depending on there avaliable budget at the time.


It is pathetic that Football is embracing new technologies, and HD is a thing of the past (the last world cup was in HD!) while F1 isn't embracing it! Even F2 is in HD...

Now I don't have a HD box, but many people do, so they need to get it sorted. This is the sport where cutting edge technology is developed, so why are they showcasing it in such a pathetic way?

It would help sponsors too... I don't really notice the smaller logos on cars because it is harder to see and less noticeable. HD would make them sharper and would actually catch my eye. I am suprised sponsors haven't urged FOM to go HD.


Well, FOM really have dropped the ball re HD. We are told that F1 is one of the most watched sports and they can't manage HD? Ridiculous! James, please can you find the reason why they have been slow with this?


How long until 3D well lets say 10+ years. Still waiting on HD. Even here in Australia we have dedicated HD channels and broadcasts for sport why not F1? James any chance Bernie will get things done quicker from a HD point of view. It can't be that hard can it if other sports can do it. When was the last time anyone bought a analogue TV. HD TV's are dirt cheap these days in Australia.

P.S loved the book.


No HD till 2011???? I've just had skyhd installed ready for the beggining of the 2010 season... Gggrrrrrrr sort it out FOM


Why get Sky HD for F1 in HD when there's been no announcement of it? To use a football analogy, 'play to the whistle'....


After having my first look of 3D cinema on Tuesday for Avatar and being blown away. I for one would invest in what ever tech was needed to enjoy F1 in 3D. Roll in a Codemasters f1 Game in 3D too and we'd be laughing


I'll bet anyone large sums of money that NASCAR will adopt 3D technology before F1 adopts HD.

Rubinho's Keyfob

Why on earth would F1 invest in 3D (which has zero viewers to date) before it has at least invested in HD (which has "many" viewers to date)? On the media side, F1 is about attracting eyeballs (in terms of advertising/sponsorship etc) - that is why it remains SD for broadcast several seasons after HD started to gain traction - SD still has more eyeballs.

F1 pushes the technological boundaries on the track - it does not do so in the living room 🙂


Why is HD for F1 so difficult? Don't they just switch up the cameras?


James, I think we're putting the cart before the horse here. Can we start with simple HDTV and a legal way to watch the season over the internet first?


Just proves the old goats running F1 are totally out of touch with the modern era...

F1 is supposed to be about the pinnacle of technology... instead it chooses to stick with ancient standards so Bernie can watch it on his old 24" Trinitron box tube...

Seriously, when will someone with a sense of what the fans want ever get a seat at the FIA?

F1 should be leading the way with 3D content... I would love to watch a race in 3D... it would be amazing, and I believe we might even get a better sense of the gradients these tracks are at, as everything appears too flat on regular TV... it would be breath taking to watch, and it will enhance the experience to no end...


I was surprised during a recent visit to the UK, how little HD content there was. As a format it's made for F1, much better than looking at pimples on newscasters.


I haven't met one fan that doesn't think it's a farce that F1 hasn't yet gone HD. Consider that Fuji have been showing their F1 race in HD since 2006!


We don't even have online streaming yet (which I had for american open wheelers 5 years ago, including 5 camera's, choose which drivers in car to watch for the race, choose commentary, etc)

As you mentioned, we don't have HD yet 😀

Com'on F1 - pinnacle of what now? Yes the cars are fast, but the technology for us fans who pay for the whole thing is really quite antiquated now, especially considering the dollar figures going around!

Ted the Mechanic

When I visited a surfie nut I know recently he was watching a surfing contest live online. There were no board-cams, wave-cams or close-ups but it was still pretty cool.

As an aside for trivia nuts and trainspotters, when the IPS (International Professional Surfing)organisation kicked off their World Championship 12 event tour in 1976 "they devised the points scoring system, shamelessly (as Peter Townend put it) appropriating the way Formula One motor racing did it".


I personally think its a disgrace that it is 2010 and we still can't get HD for Formula 1 races, which is suppose to be the pinnacle of motorsports and one of the most high tech industries in the world up there with things like rocketry and aerospace, while you've been able to watch something like NASCAR or Football and countless 'lower' categories of motorsports in HD for years.

The only person that can really be blamed is Ecclestone, because he is simply too old and too out of touch to be able to keep up with the fast changing landscape of media that is switching over to new technologies.

If FOM realized that there is real untapped revenue potential on the internet and with technologies such as HD and 3D to offer premium services on a global basis they could be making significantly more money right now.


Hmm, not sure how I feel about renault wheels flying at me at every race?


The big thing for me was being able to watch my F1 without adverts. Now that is satisfied, I have a vague desire for it to be HD too. But 3D, not sure I could care about that personally, sounds a bit gimmicky - besides I don't want to have to wear those glasses!


Super interesting. Part of my engineering masters was on stereoscopic vision for depth measurements. The entertainment factor is very cool as well, I just wish Bernie would hurry it up!

O/T: James, have you heard anything about the double diffuser ban for 2011? good news if it is the case.


Sounds like they are looking at it to improve overtaking


You mean the "Stable" regs are to be changed again. 🙂

Current regs do not ban double diffusers or wheel spinners, in spite of much talk about it. To change the regs this late is against the regs, unless a unanimous vote is forthcoming.


Great article, thanks James.


with 3d tv and body only controls for gaming... i'm sure we have some exciting times coming up


This sounds like a gimmick - i a


"Sports TV to move into 3D this year- how long until F1 follows?"

5>7 years after football if HD is anything to go by.

FOM are in the dark ages with HD. How is it I can watch a low league football game in glorious HD yet an F1 race that has a huge audience is only in SD?

As you mention James the BBCs HD people don't seem to think FOM will provide HD coverage until 2011. It's a huge shame, especially given that far less popular race series like WTCC are in HD (and look great!).


The view from Lewis's car would be a great watch whereas the view from many others would be like taking a sleeping tablet as they'd surely send one to sleep.


3D hey? Great maybe, but why not offer F1 practices and races through the Internet first. Instead, FOM spends time and effort to track down anyone who puts a live feed on the Internet. Of course it is illegal, but you could easily see a business opportunity too, couldn't you??

Ted the Mechanic

I guess it devalues the TV rights and you have to claw it back somehow. Does anyone have any stats, figures, budgets or experience on how easy or achievable that might be? And then you've got the piracy issue of recording and re-distributing races, etc. Or does that happen anyway?

You've got to pay the Teams their TV money otherwise the whole show might be put in jeopardy...


While this is a shame, from a selfish point of view I'm not that bothered - don't yet own a HD ready TV nor can I afford one at the moment! Personally, I only intend to buy an HDTV when F1 starts broadcasting in HD - it's the biggest motivating factor for me. I expect HDTVs will be a lot cheaper in January 2011 than January 2010 - not least because the upcoming World Cup will be pushing up demand at the moment (and hence prices)

So not all bad for thrifty F1 fans?


As far as acceptance in the mass market goes, forget it. Only the very early adopters will be willing to a. pay for it and b. wear special headsets to watch it. Until someone comes up with a way of viewing 3D without a headset, it's not going to happen.

Of course, that's not a reason to abandon filming sports in 3d - because when eventually the technology is here, we'll be able to watch the old races with it.


Does anyone know what happened to the Helmet camera as trialed by DC in Brazil 2008? That camera in HD would be awesome!


They were unsatisfied with the trial because they had to mount the camera too low in the helmet. The Pictures were unsatisfactory because you could hardly see over the wheel. There was some vague talk of mounting the camera inside the helmet's upper section (Just above the visor) instead, but I don't believe much came of it - likely because of the expense involved in making helmets like that.


This is getting beyond a joke now. It's 2010 and still F1 isn't going to be in HD??

The following sports are all in HD in the UK, some have been for years: Football, Cricket, Rugby, Golf, Tennis, Boxing, Darts(!!!). How can it be that the so called most technologically advanced sport in the world is still showing in SD only?

I'm fairly sure that FOM were saying at this time last year to expect HD in 2010. Now they're saying 2011, I think we all know what they will say next January.


Surely gaming is the obvious vestige of 3D?


As if it wasn't clear enough just how far down the food chain I really am I'll now get to see Vijay Mallya's bling in full HD.

Hope Red Bull start to broadcast their parties after the 9pm watershed.


Is the lack of HD in F1 a technology issue? There are so many cameras used in F1 nowadays including rather small track embedded cameras and car mounted ones in mirrors, steering wheels etc. Maybe insufficient bandwidth to stream the video from these devices to the broadcast center or perhaps the HD technology for these specialist cameras is the issue?

It’s not my personal area of expertise so happy to be enlightened!


regarding things like nascar,soccer,nfl. its easier for these sports to be broadcast in hd because they are filmed by the broadcaster.

nascar for example is filmed by fox and espn, so when fox launched its hd and wanted nascar in hd it only had to supply its nascar tv crew with hd cameras and they had a hd broadcast. same with sky sports soccer games and coverage of the nba,nfl & american football.

with f1 its fom who provide a world feed broadcast to all its worldwide providers so it has to make sure its broadcast fits all the broadcasters that take it.

as someone mentioned the japanese broadcaster fujitv has been doing a hd broadcast since 2006 but are only doing that hd feed for themselfs,they dont make it avaliable to anyone else although they could if they wanted to.its for the same reason fom don't,there feed has to work for all broadcasters that carry the world feed,there hd broadcast is actually handled by a seperate tv truck that also adds japanese language graphics.

in the uk if say bbc were producing the feed for silverstone it would be no doubt hd using there own cameras however like japan it would also be kept only for the uk bbc coverage.

the thing to remember with fom is that they no longer have the sort of budgets they had when they were producing there multi-angle digital ppv service some 10 years ago.if that were still around it no doubt would have been widescreen and hd many years ago.both fom and bernie himself lost a fortune from that failed service.

the final thing i will say is that while the nascar broadcasts are hd,the fom world feed is still of a higher quality,the way fox and espn produce there broadcast is nowhere near the quality standards of fom who very rarely miss a piece of action tht happens on the track and always follows the best action regardless of where it is in the field so tend to provide a more intresting broadcast than what fox and espn do.


F1 not-in-HD in 2010 is a joke, as others have mentioned many times. Pathetic, really.


I have found that in the 20+ years I have followed F1 there has been a noticeable distancing of the cameras from the cars, one presumes to capture the advertising hoardings around the circuit? Switching to HD or even ultimately 3D (just can't see it) needs a complete reappraisal of camera angles. We need to feel that we are experiencing the speed, the blinding direction changes, the craft of the driver. There have been some innovative camera positions in the last few years but circuit ones are too distant to make you feel as involved as you can be. HD or 3D won't solve that.


I know this is off-topic, but any takers for Saab F1?


I would assume that live television filmed in 3D would feature very few “popping out-of the-screen” effects, as are applied in films and responsible for most of the strain put on viewers’ eyes. Rather, I’d expect that it would create the illusion of watching the real thing through a window, with most of the 3D happening behind the screen surface. I found this approach very convincing in the cinema, and personally I can’t wait for affordable 3D televisions.

Considering F1’s less than impressive uptake of HD, isn’t there a case to be made to upgrade straight to 3D capable equipment, skipping “HD-only” gear? Otherwise I’d agree that we won’t see 3D in F1 for a long time, as investors would point to clearly benefitting from the HD upgrade first, before contemplating a further 3D upgrade.

Let’s not forget that whenever we are at the brink of new broadcasting technology, there are other ways to bring its benefits to the people than plain old TV. Imagine you could see the Monaco GP in a 3D cinema live, or buy classic GPs in 3D on disc or stream them over the internet. Would I pay money to relive Brazil ’08 in 3D? Hell yeah!


HD hasn't really caught on with the majority of the public yet so I can't see 3DTV making huge inroads until we're at the end of the 2010s.

I'd rather watch F1 in black in white with exciting racing than a dull 3D race around Valencia.


I can't really fault Bernie or FOM for the lack of uptake on various advances... cos it's ultimately all about the money.

If someone approached Bernie and made a plausible, convincing case that HD or 3D would cost, say, £2m per year, but that either it would be guaranteed to generate £3m+, OR that any losses on the venture would be guaranteed, then Bernie would say 'go and make it happen' in a heartbeat. But the guy has enough to do without also placing himself in the technological vanguard...

So it's basically up to someone out there to approach him and make it worth his while.


Thanks James for the reply, I thought it might be tricky, just wish I could volunteer and get s but closer.

I'm planning a GP this year, so to all the readers here, which in your opinion do you think will be the best circuit for good photography, not just your favorite circuit for good racing, but will provide good images?

I have an amazing image of Michael Schumacher going through the senna s, while the sun is low and track is glistening. It's glorious!


I'd love to see F1 in HD but not 3D. I did not enjoy wearing 3D glasses for 2hrs 40mins when I saw Avatar, they were too heavy. And, if you're in your home with the family watching, you want to discuss and that involves looking at people, not just the screen.


Doesn't 3D reduce effective frame rate by 2x?

I would be more than happy if the TV coverage was improved to actually show what is happening in the race - HD or SD. Many times passes are not shown and instead they focus on someone going around the track by himself. Or a pass is about to happen and they switch over to another shot.


the last part isnt correct.

since fom took over race coverage from most host broadcasters in 2007 (which allowed the switch to widescreen,one reason that took so long was because half the host broadcasters coudn't go widescreen) the coverage has been significantly better.

the host broadcasters often did stick with a single car going around on its own,however fom always stick to where the best action is.take silverstone last year where they stuck with the hamilton and alonso battle even though they were down battling over 16th place,since it was the best scrap fom stuck with it rather than follow vettel out up front on his own as the local host directors often used to.

95% of all on track passes are shown on the coverage now either live or via replay and that figure is a lot higher than it was even just 2-3 years ago.


I agree with that. FOM coverage is better than the standard we had when different host nations used to do it and from extensive experience of working with them they always listen to ideas and constantly try things to improve the coverage.


Yeah I also agree. Some of the broadcasts were atrocious in the past - particularly the French, who I recall would follow the lone leader around the track for up to 5 LAPS in a row, ignoring some fantastic battles and instead showing a car by itself.

It's much better now, though I think they can get some better in-race stats going. Cricket does very well in that respect.


Yes the French was one of the worst. German was always good.


James, your description of 3D TV is outdated.

The older technologies for 3D were indeed with either coloured or polarized glasses so that what the left eye sees would be different than what the right eye sees.

Some brand new (and currently horrendously expensive) TV's are capable of 3D imaging without the glasses, in full HD however. So fast forward to around the time when F1 will be in HD and people will start getting no-glasses required 3D TVs at home..


Sorry to post off topic James. But:

Whatever is Bernie doing involved in a bid for Saab? (used to be one of my favourite ever customers back in the 80s when they were at Marlowe)

The only way he could make money from it is in some kind of "Rover 4" deal whereby he buys it for £1, owns the assets and lets the company go bankrupt. (John Towers has a lot to answer for)

He knows nothing about car production, he used to own an F1 team but that is a world away from mass production so it must be that he sees a financial gain.

David Whitworth

3D! let just get it on HD. Don't run before you can walk. HD When? James can you do some digging on this?



I think we all should remember Mr.E will be dead soon he is knocking on 80 even he can not live for ever.

Once he is gone and the cival war end, we will have want we want.


I understand that adoption of HD in Europe has lagged behind the U.S., but I find it amazing that NASCAR (the series that still uses pushrod engines and 4-barrel carbs) has been broadcasting in HD for nearly a decade.

Craig Scarborough

3D for the world cup may well be shown live at UK cinemas, that are equipped with digital 3D projectors. Already cinemas have shown live F1 and other sport via special satellite services.

Home 3D TV is still at an early stage compared with the RealD or Dolby 3D services, shown in cinemas, no longer needing the headache inducing blue and red glasses. Just look at the rise in quality 3D movies, Avatar being the big hit currently.

I think the progression towards 3D at cinemas wil be the first step with this technology in the sport.


In 20 years time I hope we have holograms....

Although I just can't see how that would work with motor racing.

As I say for the next little while I would prefer nice HD coverage with on board, the option for watch timing screens too!

Don't mind the adverts, although it good it gone now with BBC however I could live with it for good pre coverage, cover and post coverage


TSN is showing F1 in HD...As is SPEED.


Why do we need special TV's when we can already see 3D movies at the cinemas WITHOUT special projectors or screens? We've also had 3D programs on TV for years. For example, we had an episode of MEDIUM a while back that was partly in 3D and it didn't take a special TV or "active" battery-powered glasses to see the 3D effect! This GIMMICK is just another way for the cable/satellite providers and TV manufacturers to get their fingers into our wallets. Who needs it? And the depth of field in a good HD broadcast is fine with me.


The way I see it is that Bernie is actually being very wise.

He knows that when he launched his subscription service in the past, very few people took it up, as there was the alternative of a free feed.

So, the only way to make a paid for tv feed to pay is by having it as the only feed. Current technology means that BBC over freeview etc cannot offer the range of options that are demanded by some hard-core football fans, so the only option for using this technology would be to go to a paid-for feed. However, this would not work either. Look at what happened to GP masters. It had huge ratings when launched on the BBC, but then when it moved to Sky, no-one watched and the series folded. F1 is dependent on getting large audiences, in order to make the sponsors think that they are getting worthwhile value for money. Moving to subscription services would remove the casual viewer, and only leave the hard-core, reducing the value to the sponsors.

Bernie knows that the best way to keep the value of F1 is to keep it on free-to-air television. Anything else would be financial suicide.


This is an interesting thread.

With regards to 3D TV, TV manufacturers need to sell more, with this they need to find ways to ask buyers to put their hands on their pockets, as the saying goes does this 'wash whiter' than HD or 'interactive' viewing.

Towards the end of the nineties I was part of a European consortium that looked into virtual sets and 3D TV. At the time it was quite high-tech, clearly by today's standards it isn't. However, a few findings still stand, namely the viewers' need to be able to consume their entertainment without any barriers. Glasses is a key barrier, there are others too, satelite dishes too pose quite a significant barrier to gloabl TV audiences.

Many will notice that most TV graphics are designed with a 4:3 aspect ration and safe areas in mind.

Before there's a torrent of 'no one has a 4:3 TV'! F1 has a global audience in many emerging markets, it takes time and sensitivity to move a global product from one that is available to all to one that is state of the art.

It's worth mentioning, back in the late nineties, we experimented with 3D cameras on Rally cars, so this isn't new tech at all.

Let's get digital for all and HD first.


It's all very well talking about 3D TV, free cardboard glasses or active £50 ones but nobody has mentioned the millions of us who are short sighted and wear prescription glasses to watch TV.

Am I expected to put the 3D glasses on top of my normal ones ????

3D TV is a dead duck until this kind of problem is solved.

As for HD, of course F1 should be available. It need not be expensive either : Our Humax Freesat box and 50" Samsung TV bring us brilliant HD content completely free from both the BBC and ITV and the Humax box cost us less than 8 month's of my now-cancelled basic SKY subscription.

Compared with the cost of the Licence fee, for us, the content on SKY was very poor value so this was a very good trade off.

If FOM would just come into the 21st century, all of us in the UK could watch F1 in HD on the Beeb for free.

James : All the BBC would then need to do is re-establish your partnership with Martin and F1 in the UK would be brilliant


All will become clear

Ted the Mechanic

Spoke to soon, the interviews don't seem to be there anymore?

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