Jun 28, 2010

Introducing the 2010 edition of the FIFA World Cup, a spectacle so popular that it is estimated by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) that about 26  billion people will watch it worldwide, on television or the internet, since everyone is not lucky enough to make it to the stadiums. However, about 3 million lucky people will watch it in the stadiums as well. The war has truly begun, and the battleground is South Africa, also known as "A World In One Country". A variety of culture, nature's abundant beauty, the variety of tribes, 11 spoken languages and the love for football complete the chapter on the impact of diversity in the country.

It is often said that football (or soccer, as it is known in some parts of the world) is the sport which unites the world. Well, it is true, but what is also true is that at this moment, the sport has torn the world apart. Support for your country and your favorite team is of more importance than anything on the planet!

As usual, we have the bookies favorites and the fan favorites. We have had the series of pre-tournament friendlier, lots of binging up one's own team's chances and the usual hype which surrounds a tournament of this magnitude.
However, a lot is also different this time. Technology has

found a very important role to play in various realms, and in most cases, it is for the first time. This is truly the world cup which will set the benchmark for how the future world cups use more technology. Meanwhile, let us focus on what is new and great this time, in the land of the Safari.

The Adidas Jabulani ball

Genius or a disaster? The jury is still out on this one, but the Jabulani is more than just the normal air filled run of the mill ball. This one is a technological marvel.

Jabulani means 'celebrate' in the isiZulu language, spoken by about 25% of the country's population. Eleven different colors are used to make the Jabulani, symbolizing the eleven player who make up a football team.

The ball was designed by a team of scientists at the Loughborough University in Britain and is developed using the "Grip n Groove" technology to provide more grip and directional stability.

The Jabulani is made by putting together eight thermally bonded 3D panels, which ensure that the ball is perfectly round and eliminates any other imperfections on the surface. It is also lighter than the conventional soccer balls.

 Here are some single word reactions about the Jabulani from some players, mainly goalkeepers:

Iker Casillas (Spain)- "rotten"
David James (England)- "Horrible"
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)- "Unpredictable"
Luis Fabiano (Brazil)- "Supernatural"

Maybe David Beckham would have loved to bend this one had he been around, but all in all, expect a lot of freak goals this World Cup!

High Definition action

This is the first time in the history of television broadcasting that an event of such enormity and magnitude will be broadcast in High Definition, and globally too, to boot. All 106 games will be broadcast in High Definition. However, the broadcasts will come in the 720p or 1080i resolution for a wide screen high definition television
In India, ESPNStar will offer High Definition broadcasts of all matches on the Dishtv Direct To Home (DTH) platform only. The rest of the viewers, be it other DTH services or normal cable, will still be stuck with the standard definition content.

High Definition will also be available in Brazil (Rede Globo, SporTV and ESPN Brazil), Germany (ARD, ZDF, RTL and SKY Deutschland), Italy (Sky Italia), Singapore (StarHub TV, mio TV), Japan (Sky PerfecTV), Middle East region (Al-Jazeera) and Spain (Canal+), to name a few.

Football in 3D

In certain parts of the world, unlike ours, High Definition broadcasts have become a very common thing. For them, the next big leap is Three Dimensional television viewing. And not to disappoint, 3D is also available to some of the 26 billion global viewers.
Those with 3D compatible televisions and a service provider/ broadcaster willing to show 3D, will get to enjoy the next level of sports viewing experience.

Here are some of the countries where 3D broadcasts will be available:

Brazil- Globo 3D
Spain- Canal+ 3D
Australia- SBS 3D
Japan- Sky PerfecTV
Korea- SBS

25 matches in the tournament will be recorded in 3D. Five of the ten stadiums hosting the mega event will have four 3D cameras at the pitch level and some 2D footage will be converted to 3D on the spot and then broadcast.

Here are the games which will be telecast in 3D, simultaneously with HD.[UPDATED]

June 28th - Winners of Group E vs. Runner up in Group F
June 28th - Winners of Group G vs. Runner up in Group H
July 2nd - Quarter final
July 3rd - Quarter final
July 3rd - Quarter final
July 6th - Semi final
July 7th - Semi final
July 10th - 3rd place play-off
July 11th - World Cup final
If you are in any of the above listed countries and have subscribed to these 3D channels, it really is time to pick up a 3D television and those 3D glasses for all members of the family, including the dog, probably! We are sure even he can decode the Samba magic when Brazil are in full flow!

Sound Proof stadium

Another technology being implemented for the first time ever is the one which makes the stadium soundproof. It is essentially done to keep the neighborhood quiet and prevent the screams of 69000 soccer fans from spilling out of the stadium.
The newly built Cape Town stadium is the first stadium to get this extremely complicated and intricate solution implemented.

Engineers from the German engineering company Schlaich Bergmann have installed the world's largest glass ceiling using about 9000 half inch thick glass panels.The 398,256 square -foot roof has a fiberglass and Teflon mesh suspended below it and is arranged in a concave ring above the stands, and not covering the entire stadium. The design will reflect the noise back onto the field in a downward direction, and not let it escape outside.

Another advantage of the glass roof will be the protection against Cape Town's extremely fickle weather. Turbulent winds come down from the Table Mountain and can reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour. the roof will deflect the air around the stadium, allowing play to begin.

Google's 3D tours of the stadiums

Not able to go to South Africa? Missed out on seeing the amazing stadiums they have built for the event of this magnitude? Well, fret not. Help is at hand!
Google has unveiled the 3D Tour of the stadiums on Google Earth. The tour will show the stadiums from outside and inside, just as if you were really there!

To see the 3D Tour on YouTube, Click here (or copy and paste the following link into your browser's address bar - http://ld2.in/82).
Live Streaming via the WWW

Not only HD and 3D broadcasts, but this is the first time that the entire tournament will be available on the internet, via live streaming, around the world.

Popular websites like JustinTV, Vshare and Ustream will show the world cup live. Also, television broadcasters have also gotten the rights to stream matches live. Sky Sports, Eurosport, Livescore, Freedocast and ESPN3 are some of the websites.

However, be aware that all websites will not be able to stream the live feed to all regions of the world, due to broadcast contractual limitations, broadcast regulation limitations or due to the lack of a tie up with a broadband service provider.

Mobile Applications

Irrespective of the platform, mobile applications are available in dozens allowing you to access the latest scores, team news, video feeds, audio updates etc from this edition of the FIFA World Cup.
As a mobile user, you need to head to the application store which provides applications for your mobile phone's operating system.

For Apple users, head to the Apple App Store and search for "FIFA World Cup".

Android users can do the same at Android Marketplace, Nokia users can do the same at the Ovi Store and Windows Mobile users can head to the Windows Marketplace. All these above mentioned stores are available via access apps pre-installed on the phones.

Some of the World Cup apps will be free, while some will be paid. Pick those which you like, and install.
Some of the best apps are-

- AP 2010 World Cup (iPhone & iPod Touch). Download here.

- Goal.com mobile app (Symbian, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile). Download here.

ESPN will also use video conferencing

ESPN networks will use Cisco's high definition video conferencing solution for panel discussion, interviews and other reports emerging from the African nation. Not only will this save costs of moving around all the trucks and equipment from site to site for a shoot, but still remain High Definition broadcast.

We certainly expect this edition of the FIFA World Cup to be a lot of fun. Hoping our favorite team wins. Let's play!