The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games are the most-televised Olympic games ever, with every event being televised in high definition, plus selected events in 3D HD and the new Super Hi-Vision format.
No sporting event has received total HD coverage before, but this year BBC viewers can watch up to 24 HD Olympic HD channels, on Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin, online and smart TVs.
This is the first Summer Olympics to be filmed in high definition 3D, and the first to be captured in Super Hi-Vision, the new ultra high definition format with 16 times the detail of today’s HD TV.
48 Olympic TV channels
The BBC is broadcasting 28 dedicated TV channels for the Games, with 24 each in standard definition and high definition on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.
That’s in addition to BBC One and BBC Three, which will be chock-a-block with Olympics sports coverage for the next two weeks.
Freeview viewers get just two extra channels of highlights and live events on 301 and 302, because there’s nowhere to fit anything more into the crowded airwaves used by Freeview. Channel 301 will also be available in HD for those with Freeview HD receivers.
The extra channels on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media can be accessed through either the Red Button, or via dedicated channel numbers in each TV platform’s onscreen programme guide.
The multi-screen BBC Sport app also carries the entire roster of extra HD channels, and is available on smart TVs and Blu-ray players from Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony (including the Playstation 3).
And finally, the ubiquitous BBC iPlayer has all of the feeds in HD and SD on numerous devices as well as online, as does the BBC Sport website.
2012 Olympics in 3D: BBC and Eurosport
There are both free and pay-TV Olympic events in 3D this year, with more than 100 hours of 3D HD coverage from Eurosport on Sky 3D and Virgin.
BBC HD will have an hour-long daily 3D roundup at 11pm, plus the entire Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 27, from 8.50pm.
The Men’s 100m Final will be shown in 3D on Sunday, August 5, at 8.30pm, and the Final day, August 12, will carry a 3D Olympic Games Review from 8pm-9pm, followed by the Olympic Closing Ceremony from 9pm to around 12.30am.
Eurosport on Sky and Virgin adds live events from swimming, basketball, gymnastics, and canoeing in 3D, with about eight hours of live action and four hours of highlights daily.
Sky’s coverage will be on Sky 3D, which is free to all Sky subscribers with HD boxes for the duration of the Olympics.
Eurosport 3D launches on Virgin on July 27, and it’s also available to any Virgin subscriber with a V HD, V+ HD or TiVo box.
Super Hi-Vision Olympics: the UK’s first look
If you’re anywhere near Bradford, Glasgow or London, we would urge you to snap up the last-remaining tickets to the free public Super Hi-Vision screenings from the BBC.
Developed by Japanese state broadcaster NHK, Super Hi-Vision is the last word in 2D film, with a resolution 16 times that of conventional HD.
This ultra HD experience also has stunningly realistic 22.2 surround sound in three dimensions – and for our money, SHV is miles better than 3D, even if you can’t watch it at home.
The BBC is holding several free screenings every day of the games, showing highlights from the Opening Ceremony and events at the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Aquatic Centre and Basketball Arena.