When Mike Tirico and Andy North call the 3-D telecast from the Masters this weekend, the biggest adjustment for the veteran announcers may be those geeky 3-D glasses they'll have to don.
"Expect fewer cut away shots to the booth," Tirico said today, laughing.
Other than that, it will be business as usual for Tirico and North, even if the duo will forever be linked to a big first in Masters broadcasting history. "I don't know if I feel like a pioneer," Tirico said. "I'd give that credit to the guys who developed the technology."
Indeed, for the few thousand viewers with 3-D sets and 3-D-capable computers, the experience, by most accounts, will be a game changer. (Comcast is distributing the 3-D feed, but Time Warner, Cox and Cablevision subscribers will also have access to it.) "If jumping from standard definition to high definition was, say, a five-times improvement," Tirico said, "HD to 3-D at Augusta is a 10-times improvement. This is the perfect place for it."
One, because Augusta National is an unbelievably beautiful place, and two, because two dimensions don't sufficiently capture the course's extreme ebbs and flows. "Even the tinkling piano airs on the Masters telecast will probably sound better with 3-D," media critic Richard Sandomir wrote in the The New York Times.
Still, don't get too giddy. It's an expensive technology (3-D sets start at about $3,000 and the nerdy goggles will set you back at least another $100), so most fans are likely years away from enjoying the experience from the comfort of their couches. "We're moving forward not backward," Tirico says. "But I think it'll be maybe 2018 or even 2020 when we're looking at this as a product like HD that is in a significant amount of homes."