Sky will broadcast final preseason F1 tests in 3D to UK viewers

In a move it's calling a world's first, Sky Sports has announced that parts of Formula 1's final preseason tests from Circuit de Catalunya will be broadcast on its 3D network. While F1 has tested the use of 3D before, it's never been broadcast and chief Bernie Ecclestone -- who you'll remember fiddled for years as F1 stuck with widescreen standard definition video presentations before it made the jump in 2011 -- has previously said 3D will never be used. Sky Sports referred to the event as a one-off, while commentator Martin Brundle is quoted in the press release calling it a "special moment for F1 fans...a new immersive experience for viewers.

While Ecclestone may not be willing to push the envelope in broadcast tech, having Sky as a broadcast partner could force the issue as it justifies its exclusive access and dedicated broadcast channel. Last season the network upgraded the audio to Dolby 5.1 and added features like the Race Control view in its iPad app. Sky has previously featured sporting events on its 3D channel like Ryder Cup golf, Premier League and of course the 2012 Olympics. It says F1 will be the 14th sport it's delivered in 3D, although we'll have to wait until after this maiden test from February 28th to March 3rd -- it will also be available in 2D HD on the regular F1 channel -- to see if it becomes a regular fixture. Now, about those HD on-board cameras....