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BBC to broadcast London 2012 Olympics live in 3D

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Olympic clock

© PA Images / Alex Milan Tracy

The BBC has confirmed its 3D television plans for the London 2012 Olympic Games, including live coverage of the prestigious Men's 100 meters final.

The corporation will show certain events from the games in live 3D on all platforms in the UK using its BBC HD channel, similar to the approach it took with the Wimbledon finals last year.

Live 3D coverage will include the Opening Ceremony, Closing Ceremony and the Men's 100m final, while a nightly highlights package will air at the end of each day.

Roger Mosey, the BBC's director of London 2012, said that these events have been chosen because they "mark the pinnacles of the Games".

He said that the approach of using the BBC HD channel was intended to "minimise the loss of HD that is a consequence of our 3D service".

Standard definition coverage of the Games will be available on BBC One and simulcast in HD on BBC One HD. The 3D coverage will use "spare" capacity on BBC HD, the channel which is available on Sky, Freesat, Freeview and Virgin Media.

This means that anyone who receives one of the digital TV services will be able to watch the broadcasts, as long as they also own a 3D-enabled TV set.

Mosey said that the nightly highlights will feature a "range of sports", although he cautioned that it is not currently clear how much of the opening and closing ceremonies will be shot in 3D, meaning the extent of coverage could be varied.

3D is just one of a number of new technologies being trialled by the BBC at the Olympics, including the placing of three Super Hi Vision big screens around the UK, capable of showing a picture 16 times sharper than normal HD.

It is hoped that 3D coverage of the Games will provide a boost to 3D TV sales, which have so far been sluggish, largely due to the slow economy and the paucity of good content to watch.

Kim Shillinglaw, the head of BBC 3D, said: "We have always said we believe some of 2012 should be captured in 3D, and we're delighted to confirm our offer to audiences in the UK, providing them with a new way of getting close to some of the key moments from the London 2012 Olympic Games."

As host broadcaster, the BBC has pledged to bring live sport from every venue at London 2012 across BBC One, BBC Three, and 24 live videos streams on BBC Online.

To cope with the coverage demands, the corporation will also extend BBC Three to a full-day schedule and temporarily launch a dedicated Olympics radio station.

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