When we heard ESPN was testing 3D at its new Innovation Lab at the newly rebranded ESPN Wide World of Sports, we just had to see it for ourselves. But while the fact that ESPN was testing 3D during a Globetrotters game caught our attention, after we arrived we discovered that ESPN did more than just change the name from Disney's Wide World of Sports. No, ESPN built a lab and a full production studio that is tied into its main one in Bristol via ESPN's fiber network -- so no need to bring in satellite trucks. There were new video boards erected around the facility and enough fiber was run through out the place to support more HD cameras then ESPN even owns. In addition, permanent HD cameras were installed throughout the facility which Disney hopes to leverage to eventually let you bring HD recordings of your little league tournament home. Now of course the lab and 3D was of the most interest to us and in there we found lots of HDTVs and of course a 3DTV, all with access to the main control room as well as all the cameras in the facility. We did get to check out the very same footage of 3D gold that evidently helped persuade The Masters to go 3D -- and we can see why, even the casual golf fan can easily see how much an extra dimension adds to the production. Overall we learned that ESPN is serious about testing out new gear and technology at this new facility, and the rebranding of the park is about more than just changing the signs.
An inside look at ESPN's Innovation Lab