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3D Olympics Coverage on FIOS is spectacular. Reason 1 – No Yapping Matt Lauer. Reason 2 – Brilliant 3D

Right now I’m watching the London 2012 Opening Ceremonies on FIOS Channel 1003 (if you have Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, etc. you’ll find it on different channels).

It took me a while to get it to work right. I had component cables going from my Tivo to my PS3 Display, but the Display annoyingly wouldn’t allow me to switch into 3D mode–the 3D option was completely greyed out on the Display. After a bit of fiddling, I realized that I needed to connect my Tivo via HDMI.

Now on Friday night, I’d watched the NBC coverage “live” (actually, no one in the US could watch it live because NBC blocked access to everything except its tape delayed coverage). I watched about 10 minutes of it before I had to shut the sound off. I have nothing against Matt Lauer or Mededith Viera, but I found their constant need to provide non-stop commentary to be utterly annoying to the point of my wanting to throw something at the TV. It was impossible to enjoy the beautiful music and the wonderful sounds of the Opening Ceremonies because they felt a need to constantly explain to the viewers what was going on. The worst of many bad moments of the night, when Matt Lauer saw a scene of British nurses and children recreating classic English storybook scenes and decided to interject “while the healthcare debate is going on in the US, Britain is proud of its universal healthcare and wanted to proudly display it to the world”. Uh, thanks Matt.

The one bright spot of the evening was Bob Costas, from whom we heard painfully little compared to the always-on Viera and Lauer.  It was touching to hear his “audible” where he called for a moment of silence for the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich massacre, an event for some strange reason the Olympic committee decided to put on the back burner.

Overall, I give London’s Opening Ceremonies an “A” and NBC’s Friday night prime-time coverage a solid “F”. I hate to break the news to NBC, but the reason the Today Show’s ratings are plummeting was not because of Ann Curry. It’s because no one wants to wake up in the morning and hear the painful and endless drivel the likes of which we heard Friday night.

Okay, this is a blog to talk about 3D coverage, so I’ll talk about NBC’s coverage of the same event on the NBC 3D Olympics channel.

The coverage stated at 5 AM sharp. After a montage of videos of Olympic athletes, we cut to Bob Costas, who gave a brief, one-minute introduction to the Olympic coverage. Then, the Opening Ceremonies began.

I braced myself for the annoying commentary. But it never came. Instead, I heard the beautiful voices of children singing. I heard the rich sounds of the orchestra. And I could see the most stunningly beautiful images that have ever come out of my Playstation 3D display, in glorious and deep 3D.

It turns out that NBC decided to air Panasonic’s raw footage untouched. From their point of view, they probably knew that very few people would be tuning in, so it wasn’t worth their time to get on-air “talent” to provide running commentary. For me, this was the most brilliant decision the boneheads at NBC made yet. Because even though it was 24 hours later, I thoroughly and immensely enjoyed this coverage from start to finish.

NBC did find ways to ruin even this experience. Every 10 minutes, and in some cases during pivotal moments in the action, NBC abruptly cut to commercials right in the middle of the action, making us miss key moments. For example, during the point in the festivities when the ironworkers forged the beautiful Olympic rings, we jump from the scene where the red-hot rings are being lifted to the ceiling, cut to commercial, and come back to see that the rings are lit up, presumably as part of an impressive pyrotechnics display that happened when we were enduring the 50th airing of Matthew Perry’s new show on NBC this fall (which I will boldly predict will not last the season). Still, what they did show was stunning (use the “cross-eyed” method to view these and other 3D images).

3d burning olympic rings opening ceremony

The one saving grace was that most of the commercials themselves were for movies and Blu-Rays in 3D from the Avengers to Finding Nemo in 3D, but of course NBC put in 2D commercials for its own shows.

Another very annoying thing is that it seems every three minutes they’d superimpose an animation of The Lorax with silly sound effects, sometimes during the most dramatic or emotional moments.

You’d think that they’d get a college intern to putting commercials in the right places, and to make sure that their annoying animations didn’t interfere with the show. But the message from NBC was clear. We don’t care about 3D viewers, and we’re going to milk as much as we can out of them. Thanks NBC.

Still, that couldn’t put a damper on the excellent quality of Panasonic’s 3D. Colors were vibrant, the camera angles really maximized the quality of the 3D and made you really feel “part of the action” in a way that traditional 2D never could. Watching the Parade of Nations (again, thankfully without constant commentary) was a really fun experience. Here’s a still of the US team entering the stadium:

us team entering stadium in 3d

Scenes like the fireworks displays over the stadium were truly jaw-dropping (unfortunately, the one thing NBC decided to do was to cut into the fireworks to splice in a montage of scenes from past Olympics, ruining perhaps the single most impressive 3D images of the evening).

olympic fireworks

The Opening Ceremonies went from 5:00 AM to about 10:00 AM, at which point NBC started looping the coverage again through the day. Tough to tell if they’ll be doing that for the other Olympic action, or if they will be providing commentary for the sporting events. But I have to say, the great anticipation I had for the Opening Ceremonies (as you can see from all my posts leading up to it) was well warranted. Even though I know it was out of laziness and an utter lack of concern for its 3D viewers that NBC decided to not invest any production costs into its 3D coverage, for me that turned out to be a positive. I grade their 3D coverage of the Opening Ceremonies an A+ for the way it let me experience the Opening Ceremonies in an unprecedented way. It just makes me wish there were a mute button that should shut up some of their on-air “talent” on their regular 2D coverage.

If you have a 3D display and FIOS, tune to 1003 and check it out for yourself over the next few days. If you don’t have FIOS, sign up here with referral code IWANTFIOS to get it now with a nice gift card to boot! And if want to experience beautiful 3D for yourself at the cheapest price possible, Best Buy has the PlayStation 3D Display Bundle for only $199–that’s $400 less than suckers like me paid for it!

One more day until the Olympics in 3D for FREE

I have to say I’m really excited about watching the Olympics in 3D on FIOS channel 1003. I got my PS3 display too late to enjoy the US Open tennis, so this will be the first time I’ll watch broadcast signal on the PS3 Display.

If you haven’t done it yet, make sure you have an HDMI cable going from your cable box or Tivo to the PS3 monitor. Then, change the settings to “side by side”. Charge up your glasses, and enjoy the festivities.

I noticed a few days ago that the satellite feed changed from a test pattern to a graphic of the Olympics Logo, in 3D no less. I’m looking forward to the next 16 days.

 

3D Olympics Schedule on the NBC 3D Channel (channel 1003 on Verizon FIOS, 1300 on Optimum)

Charge up those 3D glasses! The NBC 3D Channel has released its 3D broadcast schedule. While Verizon and Cablevision have been strangely quiet about it, the announcement was officially made that AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Time Warner, and Verizon FIOS will be carrying the Olympics in 3D.

While it’s unclear whether some cable providers will be charging extra for the privilege, it’s virtually certain, if the past is any indication, that coverage will be completely free for users of Verizon FIOS. The test pattern you’re seeing on 1003 is the same pattern that preceded free coverage of the US Open Tennis Tournament. Come Saturday morning, that test pattern should be replaced on Saturday morning by full and free 3D telecasts of the Olympics.

If you’ve got a Playstation 3D display, make sure you have an HDMI cable going from your cable box or TiVo. On Saturday, you should see two images next to each other. Turn 3D mode on and switch to “Side By Side” format. Then, put on your glasses and enjoy the 3D. If you don’t have FIOS yet, sign up here with referral code IWANTFIOS to get it now with a free gift card no less! 🙂

All of the competition will be on next-day delay (meaning you can watch the Opening Ceremony Friday night and then Saturday at 5 AM watch the rebroadcast in 3D). They claim that there will be a full 12 hours of coverage each day, for a total of about 242 hours over the 16 days. For some reason, they seem to have divided their listings into two portions of the day: one from about 5 AM to 9 AM, and the other from about 9 AM to 6 PM. Hard to tell if it’ll be all original coverage throughout the day, or if they’ll loop the broadcasts, but we’ll see.

Here’s the schedule that’s been released for the first few days. I’ll keep updating this as they do:

Saturday 7/28/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Opening Ceremony – London, the first city to host the Olympics thee times, welcomes the world and Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the games.

Sunday 7/29/2012

  • 4:00 AM – 6:15 PM – Gymnastics: men’s team competition; Swimming: qualifying and finals.

Monday 7/30/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Gymnastics: women’s team competition; Swimming: finals; Diving: women’s synchronized springboard finals

Tuesday 7/31/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:45 PM – Gymnastics: men’s team final; Swimming: finals; Diving: men’s synchronized platform final; Canoeing: whitewater qualifying

Wednesday 8/1/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:15 PM – Gymnastics: women’s team final; Swimming: finals; Diving: women’s synchronized platform final; Canoeing: whitewater final.

Thursday 8/2/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:15 PM – Gymnastics: men’s all-around final; Swimming: finals; Diving: men’s synchronized springboard final; Canoeing: whitewater final.

Friday 8/3/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 6:30 PM – Gymnastics: women’s all-around final; Swimming: finals; Canoeing: whitewater final.

Saturday 8/4/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:45 PM – Swimming: finals; Track and Field: finals; Gymnastics: trampoline men’s finals.

Sunday 8/5/2012

  • 4:00 AM – 6:00 PM – Swimming: finals; Track and Field: finals; Diving: women’s springboard semifinal; Gymnastics: Trampoline women’s final.

Monday 8/6/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Gymnastics: individual event final; Track and Field: finals; Diving: women’s springboard final;Synchronized Swimming: duet qualifying.

Tuesday 8/7/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Gymnastics: individual event finals; Track and Field: finals; Diving: men’s springboard qualifying;Synchronized Swimming: duet qualifying.

Wednesday 8/8/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Gymnastics: individual event finals; Track and Field: finals; Diving: men’s springboard final;Synchronized Swimming: duet qualifying.

Thursday 8/9/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:45 PM – Track and Field: finals; Basketball: men’s quarterfinals.

Friday 8/10/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Track and Field: finals; Diving: women’s platform semifinal

Saturday 8/11/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:45 PM – Track and Field: finals; Diving: women’s platform final, men’s platform qualifying; Synchronized Swimming: team final; Basketball: women’s semifinal.

Sunday 8/12/2012

  • 5:00 AM – 7:45 PM – Track and Field: finals; Diving: men’s platform final; Basketball: Men’s semifinals.

Monday 8/13/2012

  •  5:00 AM – 7:30 PM – Closing Ceremony; Basketball: men’s gold and bronze, women’s gold and bronze.

Verizon FIOS Olympics in 3D on Channel 1003!

So, I was turning the channels on my FIOS when I got to a test pattern on channel 1003. The old name of the station had been replaced with a new one: NBCOL3D

As I suspected and hoped, it looks like the 2012 London Olympics WILL be broadcast for free to FIOS customers. While there hasn’t been any official announcement by Verizon yet, this is a clear signal (no pun intended) that they’ve switched the channel over to Panasonic’s feed.

If you don’t have FIOS yet, you have until Friday 7/27 to get it to watch the Olympics. Click through this referral URL and you’ll get a $50 bonus in addition to whatever introductory pricing they’ll offer you.

If you’re wondering what my setup is, I have an HDMI cable going from my Tivo to my PS3 3D Display. When the test pattern gets replaced with a real signal, it’ll probably be in side-by-side format (which the US Open was in), in which case I’ll switch to that mode of 3D.

Even though there’ll be a 24 hour delay, just being able to view the Olympics in 3D without paying for the higher tier of service (which ESPN 3D requires) is a big, big bonus.

Watching the 2012 London Olympics in 3D

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A while back, Panasonic and NBC made it official that 242 hours of the 2012 Olympics in London will be broadcast in 3D. While the 3D will be on a 24-hour tape delay and not live, this is great news for us who bought a 3D TV and want to put it through the motions.

One questions that’s been burning on my mind is whether the 3D broadcast of the Olympics will be free. DIRECTV customers can be confident that there’s a 99% chance they’ll get the 3D programming for free. And since Comcast owns NBC, Comcast customers will naturally be getting pretty good access.

But for customers of Verizon FIOS, Cablevision iOTV, and AT&T U-Verse, will we be getting the opportunity to see the Olympics in 3D? I have no inside information (in fact, something tells me they haven’t even decided yet, even though the Olympics will be starting in a few weeks on July 27), but I have a good feeling that yes, we will be able. Here’s my thinking:

  • For the last two years Verizon FIOS has been broadcasting the US Open tennis tournament on Channel 1003 for all subscribers of its basic packages. Similarly, Cablevision has broadcast on channel 1300. These stations are available to subscribers with basic service. The US Open was also produced by Panasonic, so hopefully the same business deals that got the US Open on these channels will get the Olympics on them as well.
  • If the Olympics were broadcast on ABC, it’s a good bet that ABC would have chosen the ESPN 3D channel to broadcast the 3D feed. But because it’s NBC, I’m guessing that NBC wouldn’t want to let ESPN have the rights. If that’s the case, all the NBC-owned stations (Bravo, Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC) will likely be filled with regular HD coverage. They may *possibly* put some 3D content on NBC Sports Channel (formerly Versus).
  • NBC has already announced that there will be new channels for soccer and basketball, which Cablevision,Verizon, and AT&T had already verified that they’ll be carrying. They will also introduce a new 3D-only channel which none of these TV providers have announced they’ll be supporting yet, but if they carry the other two new channels, it’s not much more work for them to support this third one.
I’ll update this blog with any updates I hear (please leave a comment if you hear anything), but if there’s no news the best advice I have right now is to tune to channel 1003 (for FIOS users) or channel 1300 (for Cablevision users) on July 28. If all goes well, you should see looping coverage of the opening ceremonies all day in glorious 3D.
Here’s the 3D Olympics schedule that’s been released so far:
Friday July 27: No coverage (opening ceremonies on NBC)
Saturday July 28: 5 AM – 5 PM – Opening Ceremonies
Sunday, July 29: 4 AM – 6:15 PM – Men’s Gymnastics Team Competition, Swimming Gold Medal Finals
Not exactly sure yet if there’s a 24 hour tape delay why they’re sticking to London time. Hopefully for those of us who work during the day there’ll be looping repeats of coverage throughout the night.
So that’s where things stand right now. As we get closer to the Olympics, hopefully details will be more forthcoming!

Playstation 3D Display on sale yet again #ps3 #3d #sale

Guess what? The PlayStation 3D Display Bundle is available at Best Buy for $200. That’s right, the same system I happily forked over $600 for on launch day is now a third of that price.

Considering the system includes a $60 game, a $60 pair of glasses, and a $20 cable, that’s like getting the actual monitor for…aw, I’m actually too depressed to do the math…

Just kidding of course…I have no regrets about buying it at the original retail price, as you can tell by my rave review of the PS3 3D Display. But if you were lucky enough to procrastinate about it until now, I’d jump on it while you can.

As I wrote in my original review, this is a great low-cost way to experience 3D of a lot of the games you already have without forking over $3000 for a bigger TV that’ll be outdated in a year. I’ve enjoyed Uncharted 3, MLB 2012, and a bunch of games I didn’t realize we’re in 3D.

Dont forget that you can also watch 3D Blu-Rays on this thing, as well as use it as a high-end computer monitor.

3D Playstation Display at the Lowest Price I’ve Seen #playstation #3d

Best Buy now has the Playstation 3D Bundle for $249.99. Makes those like me who paid $600 for it feel a little sheepish!


Sony Computer Entertainment America PlayStation 3D Display Bundle

Playstation 3D Bundle on sale again at Best Buy

Looks like they’re trying to clear some inventory again, so the great deal from the holidays is back. Best Buy is selling the Playstation 3D display for $299.

To get the deal, click the Best Buy logo below and then when you get to the home page, type the number 2891051 in the search box.


Click here for the Best Buy Homepage

Times Square in 3D on Earthcam on the Playstation 3D Display

One thing I happily discovered this year was that the site Earthcam.com was broadcasting this year’s Times Square ball drop in 3D.

As I’ve mentioned before, my PC’s video card has 3D capability but it doesn’t seem to be playing well with the Playstation 3D Display. But happily, after I followed the instructions I wrote for watching YouTube in 3D on the Playstation 3D Display, I was able to watch the whole thing live even without a 3D video card.

Again, the basic process is to mirror your screen so that your PC and your Playstation Display shows the same thing, turn on full-screen 3D view (in the case of Earthcam, by clicking on the radio button in the lower right-hand corner of the video which says 3D Mode to 3D TV) which will show a full-screen side-by-side image, and then selecting “Side By Side” mode on your Playstation Display.

After that, you can just sit back and enjoy the show with your glasses on your Playstation Display. This year, I had my regular TV showing Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve and the Playstation Display showing Earthcam’s feed. The timing was remarkably close–Earthcam was only a second or two off.

Overall, Earthcam’s feed was a bit choppier and lower resolution than the HD picture, which is to be expected of course. As the countdown got to under a minute, the connection got really choppy; my guess is they probably underestimated the number of people pulling up the feed and didn’t anticipate the bandwidth they’d need to broadcast to so many people. But even so, I was astounded by the 3D. The confetti literally seemed to be floating in the air and overall the 3D effect was excellent.

If you missed it, no worries, they have a complete archive of the evening and the countdown at http://newyears.earthcam.com/ so you can countdown the New Year anytime you wish, this time without millions of people competing with you for a clear picture. There’s also a YouTube video which shows some of the highlights:

In addition, their everyday Times Square camera has a 3D view now so you can just leave the camera on and watch the people of New York City all the time on your Playstation Display.

Just another way to play with your 3D Display connected to your PC without necessarily having a 3D card.

 

The Best 3D Playstation Games of 2011

Now that 2011 is drawing to a close, I thought I’d do a retrospective of 3D games released in 2011.

2011 saw an influx of “native 3D” games versus games which were developed solely in 2D and converted after-the-fact. This meant that instead of 3D being a gimmick as in the case of many games from 2010 and earlier, in 2011 game publishers finally started to use it as a necessary part of the games.

I’ve posted the complete list of 3D games released for the PS3 in 2011, followed by their publisher, age rating, and release date. I’ve also indicated whether the game includes Move support (which in many cases provides an even more immersive experience) as well as whether it’s a PSN exclusive or not.

I’ve also posted in ratings from four sources. From my experience, I’ve found that each of these four sources can be very flawed at times, but when taking all four together, it provides a pretty good indication of how good a game is.

  • Amazon reviews are based on user ratings from Amazon.com as of 12/31/2011. I’ve found Amazon ratings to be mostly accurate, but they tend to be on the generous side because users who purchased the game will tend to vote up games to justify the expense they paid, and game publishers’ PR departments routinely use fake reviewers to pump up rankings.
  • This is why I turn to GameFly as a second opinion. GameFly generally has more votes and because users don’t pay a lot for the games they’re more likely to be objective. On the flip side, because reviewers may rent a title “for a lark” and may otherwise not be very invested in the game, this may cause ratings to be a little lower than they should be.
  •  I look to Gamespot and Metacritic as the “third opinion”. These game reviewers are generally on target, but now and again they’ll let their bias against certain companies or technologies show.
Of course, one other thing to keep in mind is that these ratings are based on the game as a whole, not necessarily the 3D implementation alone. Having said that, if a title has high rankings on all four fronts, chances are it’s a pretty good game that you’ll be happy with.

Taking all this into consideration, here are the top 5 3D games of 2011:

  1. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  2. Batman: Arkham City
  3. MLB 11 The Show
  4. Mortal Kombat 9
  5. God of War: Origins Collection

 

Publisher Rated Release Move PSN Amazon Review GameFly Review Gamespot Review Metacritic Review
Top Darts February 3, 2011 X X
De Blob 2  THQ  E February 22, 2011 X  4.4/5  6.0/10  7/10 74/100
Killzone 3  Sony  M February 22, 2011 X  4.3/5  7.8/10  8.5/10 84/100
MLB 11 The Show  Sony  E March 8, 2011 X  4.0/5  8.0/10  8.0/10 90/100
Top Spin 4  2K  E March 15, 2011 X  3.7/5  6.7/10  9.0/10 82/100
Crysis 2  EA  M March 22, 2011  4.1/5  7.4/10  8.5/10 85/100
Motorstorm Apocalypse  Sony  T March 31, 2011  3.8/5  6.7/10  8.5/10 77/100
Mortal Kombat 9  Warner Bros  M April 18, 2011  4.6/5  8.2/10  8.5/10 84/100
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy Seals  Sony  M April 19, 2011 X  3.4/5  6.3/10  7.5/10 67/100
Thor: God of Thunder  Sega  T April 28, 2011  2.3/5  4.2/10  2.0/10 39/100
Virtua Tennis 4  Sega  E (EU) April 29, 2011 X  2.9/5  4.9/10  5.5/10 69/100
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters  Warner Bros  E June 7, 2011  3.9/5  6.2/10  n/a 61/100
Tetris June 15, 2011 X
Cars 2: The Video Game  Disney  E June 21, 2011  4.8/5  6.6/10  7.5/10 74/100
Puzzle Dimension June 28, 2011 X
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars  Kalypso  T (EU) July 8, 2011 X  n/a  4.8/10  n/a 51/100
Captain America: Super Soldier  Sega July 19, 2011  4.3/5  6.9/20  6.5/10 61/100
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD  Ubisoft  M August 10, 2011  3.2/5  6.0/10  6.0/10 67/100
Resistance 3  Sony  M September 6, 2011 X  4.1/5  7.8/10  8.5/10 83/100
God of War: Origins Collection  Sony  M September 13, 2011  4.8/5  8.5/10  n/a 84/100
Child of Eden  Ubisoft September 27, 2011 (US) X  4.7/5  5.8/10  8.5/10 81/100
The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection  Sony  T September 27, 2011  4.5/5  7.8/10  n/a 91/100
Pro Evolution Soccer 2012  Konami  E (US) September 27, 2011  4.2/5  7.3/10  8.0/10 80/100
NBA 2K12  2K  E October 4, 2011 X  4.0/5  8.4/10  8.5/10 90/100
Batman: Arkham City Warner Bros M October 18, 2011  4.6/5  9.0/10  9.0/10 96/100
Dungeon Defenders October 18, 2011 X X
Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One Sony  E October 18, 2011  2.9/5  7.2/10  7.0/10 70/100
House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut Sega M October 25, 2011 X  4.4/5  6.3/10  n/a 75/100
Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine  Konami E November 1, 2011  4.5/5  4.6/10  n/a n/a
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception  Sony  T November 1, 2011  4.4/5  9.0/10  9.0/10 92/100
Sonic Generations  Sega  E November 3, 2011  4.5/5  7.9/10  8.0/10 76/100
Happy Feet Two: The Videogame  Warner Bros  E November 8, 2011  n/a  5.4/10  n/a n/a
Echochrome II November 11, 2011 X
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations  Ubisoft  M November 15, 2011  3.7/5  n/a  8.0/10 81/100
Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends  Tecmo Koei T November 15, 2011  4.0/5  8.2/10  n/a 66/100
Eye Pet and Friends  Sony  E November 15, 2011 X  4.0/5  7.2/10  n/a 67/100
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest  Sony E November 15, 2011 X  4.1/5  6.7/10  5.0/10 60/100
Tekken Hybrid  Namco T November 22, 2011  3.4/5  5.5/10  5.5/10 65/100