Let me start off by stating that I grew up watching golf and my earliest memories of trips to my Grandparents’ house usually always had me ending up watching golf with my grandfather and brother for hours on end. Unless, that is, my Grandpa was at the country club playing a round himself with his friends. When I heard that the 2010 Masters Tournament would be broadcast in 3D on the internet, I was interested in seeing what it looked like, but at the same time I chuckled and figured it wouldn’t really be that great.
The first chance to watch the Masters was today and I cleared my schedule and made the time to watch it. If you have a 3D setup on your PC, like NVIDIA 3D Vision for example, you can watch the Masters on your PC in 3D. Since I have already covered 3D Vision with respect to gaming in the past I’ll skip what is needed for that and how to set it up as you can reference that article here. Today, I’ll be walking you through how to setup your 3D Vision enabled system to watch the Masters in 3D with active glasses!
2010 Masters Tournament 3D Live Broadcast Schedule (Times are Eastern Daylight Time):
Having never watched any streaming 3D broadcast, I had to first install the 3D Vision Video Player v1.5.5a. This is a free 3D streaming capable media player that is just 3.4MB in size and installs in seconds and your system doesn’t even need a reboot. Once you get the player installed you just need to ensure that your internet connection is up to par in order to stream the 3D broadcast. IBM is handling the servers for the Masters and they recommend at least a 10Mbps internet connection for the best user experience.
I checked my cable internet connection and it was averaging out to be around 15Mbps, so my system should be able to stream the video content in 3D just fine. If you want to check to see how fast your connection is you can do so for free here.
Once I confirmed the internet was okay and good enough to stream the 2010 Masters in 3D, I fired up the NVIDIA 3D Vision player and found the screen above. You have to manually insert in the URL of the Masters and adjust a couple of setting before you can start watching the live feed from the internet. You need to choose File>Open URL (from the menu) and paste in the URL of the feed and click OK. The feed for the masters today was:
Once you have the feed selected you need to select the Layout and Aspect Ratio format, which is Side by Side, Left Image First with Aspect Ratio 16:9.
Once you get everything set you’ll see the 2010 Masters, but it will be in a windowed mode and only in 2D. To get 3D you need to open the video in full screen mode by double clicking the video window or selecting View>Full Screen Scaled. Once you do this you’ll get the 3D stream in full screen mode and it’s amazing!
It’s a shame we can’t show you how good it really looks, but watching the Masters in 3D was awesome. The 3D is not as crisp as what we are used to in gaming, but for a streamed feed it looked pretty killer. Golf is fairly boring for most people to watch, but in 3D it looked beautiful and with the zip line cameras flying around, the already killer scenery looks even better and more realistic. I really wish my Grandfather was still around because his reaction to this technology would have been interesting to hear! I think he would have complained about the glasses and laughed at the idea, but once he put them on I think he would never watch golf without them again. Personally, I loved watching the Maters practice round today in 3D, but for as much as I loved it I wished it were in HD and that the left and right eye images lined up a bit more perfectly.
I actually called NVIDIA during the Masters and expressed my thoughts with them and they said that I can dial in the Parallax by using the shift keys and that worked great to make sure both images are aligned perfectly for the best 3D experience possible. This quickly took care of the image quality issue that I was seeing.
After watching the Masters for a couple of hours today in 3D, I have to say that I am impressed. I don’t wear glasses, and wearing the 3D glasses takes a bit to get used to, but the user experience is well worth wearing the glasses. The bunkers and water look amazing in 3D as you can really make out the topography of the course like never before. In fact, you can make out subtle undulations on the green that you can’t see without 3D! You really need to try it out for yourself!
Watching the Masters on my Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ monitor in 3D was nice, but I missed sitting on my couch in front of my HDTV! If anything, this makes me want a 3D TV more than ever as 3D looks like it has been gaining traction and I don’t see anything slowing it down unless we have another recession. If you have 3D Vision you really need to give the Masters in 3D a try, and if you have a broadband internet connection and want to game in 3D and/or watch 3D content there is no better time to jump onto the bandwagon than now!
If you’d like to know more about how the Masters was shot in 3D you can take a peek at this behind the scenes look here. If you are curious which video card was used for testing, my test system was running the the upcoming GeForce GTX 480 graphics card and 3D Vision worked on it just fine.