ACMA Lets Nine's 3D Trial Go Ahead

Australia media regulator the ACMA will allow a new 3D TV trial to go ahead, after receiving reports from the broadcasters involved in an earlier project. But the trial is likely to be the last in Australia for a while.

The ACMA had initially refused the Nine Network permission for 3D coverage of the National Rugby League (NRL) final, saying it had not received Nine’s conclusions on its rugby State of Origin 3D TV trial. But the regulator confirmed today that reports from both the Nine Network and SBS, which offered the FIFA World Cup football in 3D, had now been received.

As well as Nine’s coverage of the NRL final, the ACMA also announced it had licensed another 3D TV trial, for Seven Network’s coverage of the AFL (Australian Rules) football final. Finals will be played on September 25 (AFL) and October 3 (NRL).

But there will be no more trials for some time after these, while the regulator conducts a review of “certain spectrum, licensing and consumer policy issues associated with 3D TV.” The ACMA has released a discussion paper on 3D TV and other emerging technologies to assist in the review.

“The world-first, free-to-air trials conducted by the Nine Network and SBS demonstrated some of the challenges of 3D TV technology,” said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. “There is still much for the industry in Australia and internationally to learn about 3D TV production, transmission and reception. Accordingly, the ACMA is pleased to facilitate these additional trials by the Seven Network and the Nine Network.”

And the ACMA has reiterated that trials will involve lower-power transmissions than are used for regular free-to-air broadcasts so not all consumers wil be able to receive the transmissions “even if they have a 3D television”.

“The ACMA moved quickly to facilitate and then approve the first round of applications for 3D TV trials and considers it appropriate to facilitate these further trials of this evolving technology in September and October. However, the ACMA is suspending authorisation of any additional trials beyond that, until these policy issues have been considered,” said Chapman.

“Vacant spectrum is only available on a temporary basis and technical standards are still evolving. The discussion paper released by the ACMA today is designed to assist interested parties to address these policy issues and to offer views on the future of 3D TV, as well as other emerging technologies.”

Download reports:
Temporary trials of 3D TV and other emerging technologies
Nine Network Australia

By Rose Major, RapidTV News