Analysis by Paul Hayes

SYDNEY, NSW: The next step in the evolution of television is officially upon us, with last night’s State of Origin match on Channel Nine becoming the first free-to-air sporting 3D broadcast in Australian history. attended a special screening of the historic event at Harvey Norman at the Domayne centre in Alexandria and came away very impressed with the possibilities of 3D broadcasting for sporting events.

Watching on a 55-inch Samsung LED LCD TV, the immersive qualities of the technology definitely serve to enhance the sporting experience, making you feel more able to reach out and touch the action than even the best high definition TV.

The extra dimension allows for a much greater depth and perspective when looking at the players and where they are in relation to each other, making the gaps in the New South Wales defence as clear to the viewer as they were to Queensland.

The flight of the ball is also more detailed. Viewers last night were often immediately aware of exactly where a ball was going as soon as it left the boot, although many passes appeared to look forward but were not called.

Following criticism that the viewing angle of Monday night’s 3D broadcast of the Socceroos’ match on Fox Sports was too low to the ground, no such problem was encountered with last night’s match, with cameras far enough away from the action to take it all in, but often going lower to enhance the 3D.

The immersive quality of the action also extended to actually being on the ground. Seeing the players in 3D at ground level, especially during stoppages in play, you could really just how large ANZ Stadium is and how small the players are in comparison to the crowd watching them.

You can feel closer to the game than has ever been possible with HDTV.

Despite the overall enthusiasm for the technology, there were criticisms, with the historic 3D drawback once again rearing its head.

“The glasses could definitely be more comfortable,” said Jeff from Crow’s Nest.

There was also a question of the best viewing surroundings, with one viewer telling that the florescent lights above his television were having a negative effect of the 3D view.