No 2012 tickets? How BBC will bring Games to your living room


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The Independent Online

You may have missed out on getting a ticket for the London Olympics but at least the BBC will be offering 24 live and simultaneous streams of high-definition coverage of different events.

The streams, which are in addition to the standard channel coverage, will be available via the red button and connected television services and through the BBC website, with live commentary for the great majority of sports.

Roger Mosey, the BBC's director of London 2012, yesterday gave delegates at the Edinburgh International Television Festival a "sneak peak" of plans for coverage of what he described as "the biggest sporting event in the UK in our lifetimes".

The BBC will use next summer's Games to pioneer a new technology which will produce pictures 16 times sharper than those in high definition. Super Hi-Vision (SHV) has been developed in Japan and is not expected to be available as a television service until 2020.

But the BBC plans to film events in SHV and show them to audiences on giant screens in London, Glasgow and at the National Media Museum in Bradford. Mr Mosey said: "When you sit and watch it you really get the experience of being in seat D5 at a stadium."

Phil Fearnley, from the BBC's Future Media department, highlighted the growing use of smart phones and tablets. He gave a demonstration of how the BBC website will allow users to watch live streams of events while simultaneously accessing automated pages that contain detailed information on the competitors and other relevant data.

But the BBC played down the idea it would invest heavily in 3D coverage of the Games, despite experimenting with the technology at this year's Wimbledon.

Mr Mosey said that the BBC would be doing "limited experiments with 3D" at the Olympics, but he said it would focus on high definition. Mr Mosey said there is a trade-off between HD and 3D "and what we don't want to do is damage the mass- audience HD proposition for 3D".

High-definition cameras were first used to capture the action at an Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, although the BBC first offered HD coverage to viewers at Beijing 2008. The first Games to be filmed in 3D were at Barcelona in 1992.

Despite the BBC's partnership with the Games, Mr Mosey promised that the reporting of the 2012 Olympics by news programmes such as Panorama and Newsnight would be "utterly fearless and independent".

Coverage of the Games is a monumental challenge for the BBC. There will be 17 days of Games coverage but the BBC is also preparing for the 80-day coverage of the London 2012 Festival, including outside broadcasts from live music events and the Olympic torch procession.

As part of the BBC's build-up to the Games, gold medalist rower Matthew Pinsent will be hosting a multi-media project called World Olympic Dreams.

This will focus on the preparations and progress of 26 competitors, ranging from 2008 Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt to athletes in Iraq and Afghanistan.