The quest for Sony’s 3D TV: Act 1

Live broadcast has always been an important part of any international sports event. When the 2008 Beijing Olympics announced that people around the world could enjoy live broadcasts of the Games in high definition, I was wondering how many people would actually have access to the super crisp and clear pictures on their TV screens. It is still relatively expensive to get an HDTV set now in 2010; the price was even steeper back in 2008. But it was not much of a big deal to me because HDTV was merely TV in higher resolution.

In less than 2 years after the epic Beijing Olympics, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa caught my attention when they announced that they are going to broadcast the games in 3D. Even though the same skepticism creeps into my mind again regarding the issue of accessibility, after being mesmerized by James Cameron’s Avatar, I really was looking forward to experiencing a football match in 3D. This is something that I need to see it with my own eyes because I find it hard to describe Avatar to my friends who have not watched it, or only seen in on the so-out-of-century 2D cinemas.

The 3D broadcast advertorials on the Emirates flight to Cape Town and the billboards in Cape town had just drawn me closer to the quest of the ultimate couch potato experience. As the team was checking out the brand new Cape Town Stadium, which is closed to the public since last week, and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area, we found a Sony Centre in the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. One of the employees told us that Sony has a special booth with a few 3D TV sets in one of the open areas in the mall.

We walked around the mall looking for the special booth with much excitement. I was looking forward to dodge a football coming towards me after I put on the 3D glasses. Unfortunately, we were greeted with a bucket of cold water pouring on our heads. The booth was not ready yet. The contractor was still working on the floor and wiring. We were told that it will be ready when the mall opens on Thursday. The machines had just arrived from Japan, still in a box. The contractor was hoping they can set it up properly because the manual and onscreen menu is in Japanese. I offered my help, but the TV sets were still in a box, and they assured me that I won’t get a free TV in return.

It seems that early birds don’t always get the worms. Now that we are so hyped up, tomorrow, we shall go out to Braemar Road, down Wessels Street, cross the Main Somerset, roam Portswood Road till we see the roundabout where the Sony 3D billboard resides, tunnel through the Red Shed Craft Workshop and seek for our 3D TV extravaganza again at the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Well, the journey takes 15 minutes on foot.

(I am with 2 faculty staffs on a reporting trip with 6 undergrads to South Africa for World Cup. The team will meet another team from America. Click here for more info about this cross continent project: http://theicampus.org/worldcup , http://famustu.net/worldcup)

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