Tiger's back and cable's got him in 3D

Cable's plan to use the Masters Tournament as a 3D TV platform got a tremendous boost yesterday when Tiger Woods announced he would return to competitive golf at the April tournament for which cable has the exclusive 3D broadcast rights.

Woods' return will drive huge numbers of viewers across the nation to their TVs--a scant few of which will be 3D TVs--to watch the annual rite of spring played on the former nursery in Augusta, Ga. Comcast, operating from its Colorado-based Comcast Media Center (CMC) will distribute a 3D feed of the errant golfer's return to cable subscribers--and only cable subscribers--including its own and, so far, those of Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks thanks to a distribution deal the MSO struck with Augusta National Golf Club.

Augusta National will use ESPN to produce the 3D feed using about 10 3D cameras and focusing on the back holes of the golf course. Viewers will be given the players' perspectives in 3D angles that show the rolling contours of the golf course and the obstacles players face. DirecTV, along with DISH, FiOS, U-Verse and anyone else who competes with cable, is being shut out of the Masters. The satellite provider, though, will answer back with its own exclusive 24-hour 3D TV network and 3D video-on-demand channel in June.

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