The Media Learning Curve: What if “Sea Hunt” could have been in 3D back in the day?

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Lloyd Bridges, as Mike Nelson, swimming around underwater like Aquaman, protecting everyone from the evils of squid ink and dolphin projectile vomiting.

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Man, that would have been something. The sport of sport fishing would no doubt be a booming business. Who wouldn’t want to see SI’s top models dressed in some kind of Body Glove wear with a big tank on their back, searching for lost jewelry along the coast of America’s finest resorts.

Instead, we get more experimentation of 3D football — this time, with the USC-Ohio State contest from Columbus, Ohio, where more than 25,000 folks at three venues will see it in the optional illusion of a better picture than the high def they could be watching at home.

Bring the Advil to keep the room from spinning. This is just an ESPN experiment. The version you’ll see from the comfort of your living room will be much easier to digest. In other words, you aren’t missing anything.

We hope we made a compelling argument for that in today’s column (linked here), although we’ll allow you to be the judge. Let us know (as well as ESPN) what you think.
There’s time. It’s not as if 3D TVs are going to be government mandated, like digital broadcasts, and force the little people out of the picture.

“It could move fast or slow, I don’t have the answer for that,” Andrew Bailey, ESPN’s VP of emerging technologies, said about the future of home 3D viewing. “We have no plans for it right now.”

The coolest thing about 3D football, Bailey agrees, is “putting you in the best seat in the house for that area of the field. We believe people will be wowed by some of the shots and hopefully they’ll get enough of the game to get them to understand what’s going on.”

Therein lies the problem, which we went over already. For a boxing match, this would be incredible. For a football game, you may have less vertigo watching from the Met Life blimp.

A year ago, it was a pretty cool thing to see Google Earth produce a 3D, 360-degree view of your favorite football stadium. So you know this 3D thing won’t go away.

ESPN has been pushing this 3D USC-Ohio State thing as well on all its platformsl – the day the news came out, an ESPN.com Pac-10 blogger posted an item with the headline: “3D broadcast? How could that not be cool?”

Perhaps.

So, how soon before a 3D TV in your casa?

“Today, 3D is clearly on its way to the mass market,” Sony Corporation of America chairman and CEO Howard Stringer said this week at a tech trade show in Berlin. “The 3D train is on the track, and we at Sony are ready to drive it home.”

Sony and Panasonic should have more large-screen, high-def TV sets next year for the people, but 3D HD Blu-ray players and camcorders will come later, experts say.

Here, the difference ESPN has with this over what companies that did the NFL and BCS games in the past is a new vender — Fusion 3D, with a software developed by Vince Pace. Sony HDC-500G HD camera will also be used. A NEP truck with a Sony MVS 8000 switcher will be used to compress the HD signals into 3D viewing.

In case you needed to know all that.

By the way, 3D SI swimsuit models have been tried already. Remember?

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Now for other stuff you may want to know:

== After ESPN’s “College GameDay” converging outside the Columbus Horseshoe for its Saturday morning presentation (7:30 to 9 a.m.) with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, it’ll be Brent Musburger, Herbstreit and Lisa Salters on that night’s USC-Ohio State game (ESPN, 5 p.m., bumped from ABC because of a NASCAR telecast). At the lead-in, Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Erin Andrews converge on UCLA’s game at Tennessee (ESPN, 1 p.m.)

== A segment of “GameDay” will focus on how the USC team rallied around 18-year-old linebacker Marquis Simmons , who had to stand before his peers and sing a song in a freshman rite of passage. The song, “Lean On Me,” got the other players joining in, and — only in Hollywood — Pete Carroll invited the song’s creator, Bill Withers, to a team meeting to watch them sing it. An excerpt:

==The men’s doubles final — without the Bryan Brothers — preceed the women’s semifinals on CBS’ coverage of the U.S. Open today starting at 9:30 a.m. and going until 3 p.m. Saturday’s coverage (men’s semifinals, followed by the women’s final) starts at 9 a.m. (until 3, then coming back at 5 p.m.) and Sunday’s coveage (men’s final, 1 p.m.) wraps it all up, with Dick Enberg, Mary Carillo and John McEnroe.

== NBC seems fortunate to have Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in its field — along with No. 1 Steve Stricker (really?) — among the 70 left competing for the BMW Championship from Lemont, Ill., in round three of the four-event PGA Tour playoff for the FedEx Cup. Saturday (noon to 3) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 3) coverage uses Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, Bob Murphy, Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper, plus Jimmy Roberts chirping in.

== NBA TV and NBA.com figure to have the best coverage of the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies from Springfield, Mass., this weekend, capped with the induction of Michael Jordan today starting at 2:30 p.m. NBA.com has more at its site (linked here). Yes, ESPN has its own live coverage, starting at 3:30 p.m., allowing Stuart Scott and Michael Wilbon to give Jordan a hug. Mike Breen hosts the whole show.

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== Frank Deford to the rescue: Highlights from the next episode of HBO’s “Real Sports” (launches Tuesday at 10 p.m.): Deford has a piece called “Paper Cuts,” about how newspapers are struggling with circulation and how some of the top sportswriters are leaving print for digital media. Also: A piece on high school football concussions, by Bryant Gumbel; the lack of top African-American swimmers from the U.S. pool of talent, by Mary Carillo.

== Jeremy Schapp, the ESPN hard-nosed reporter, will start a weekly show on ESPN Radio called “The Sporting Life” starting tonight at 7 p.m., a one-hour program that has more indepth profiles and story coverage. Yes, Jeremy’s late father, Dick Schaap, had a Sunday morning ESPN Radio show by the same name long ago. We hope KSPN-AM (710) chooses to carry it.

“On a more personal level, it means a lot to me that The Sporting Life — which my father hosted and I regularly co-hosted — is being revived, albeit in a different format,” Schaap said. “I am hoping that sports fans who appreciate the in-depth stories they see on Outside the Lines and E:60 will make a point of listening to The Sporting Life on ESPN Radio.”

== Yes, that was Rick Reilly co-hosting the L.A. edition of “SportsCenter” last night, and he’ll do so again today with Neil Everett.

== The AVP has struck another partnership deal with KTLA-Channel 5 to carry the final of the Tour’s Best of the Beach competition from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas next Saturday (Sept. 19) at 7 p.m. (women’s final) and 8:30 p.m. (men’s final). KTLA carried the Manhattan Beach Open last July — seemed kinda strange since Fox once upon a time had such a great relationship with the AVP and almost all their events, but now it’s gone over to buying tape-delays on Versus.

==VH1, for some reason, renewed “The T.O. Show” quasi-reality series for a second season after it drew an average of 1.5 million viewers per episode this summer. A press release quotes VH1 executive VP of Original Programming and Production Jeff Olde: “(He is) a compelling figure to watch both on and off the field.” You were watching the same show we were, right? Would DirecTV like to bounce this channel as well?

AND FINALLY:

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== Spike TV — we still get that on DirecTV, right? — has a lot to crow about. It says it is the “exclusive American television home” for the 2009 National Rugby League playoffs and championship game, starting tonight (11 p.m.) and ending with the Grand Final on Oct. 4. The games from Australia air on Spike TV same day, tape-delayed. Why we care: Russell Crowe owns the NRL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs. That ought to punch things up.

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