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Will 3D television aid instant replay?


This is the third of a three-part series sponsored by Samsung involving the use of technology in sports.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had the chance to check out ESPN3D when the network demoed it in the press box at the Ohio State-Wisconsin game last month. I explained how it was more impressive than I thought it would be, but it is still something I can live without.

Let's just say the gap between Standard Definition and High Definition is way greater than the gap between High Definition and 3D.

But in the last few weeks I have thought more and more about how the introduction of 3D will impact sports. I'm not talking about how it will impact those watching the games on television. I'm talking about how it will actually affect the games.

Think about how much high definition has affected instant replay across a number of sports. Can 3D television make it even easier to determine if a player's foot was inbounds?

Honestly, it's too early to know the answer to that question.

I'm assuming most of you haven't seen a live game in 3D yet and the best way to describe it is that the players on the near side of the field pop out more than the players on the far side of the field. The ball doesn't actually pop out as much as you would think it would, although it did more when they showed basketball highlights during a commercial break (it's worth noting these were low-angle shots from a closer distance).

But from the few minutes of 3D television I was able to view, that's was the biggest thing I noticed. The 3D was more obvious in closer shots. Considering those are the shots we mostly use in instant replay, I have a feeling we will be looking back on this in five years and praising 3D television when we get the calls right.

Of course, that's assuming the replay officials actually review the right plays.