Sky broadcasts 3D test card

Zoe Ball replaces Carole Hersee, and Mr 3D is the new clown
Brian Turner

December 1, 2011

Sky has started to broadcast a 3D test card, ostensibly to help viewers get the best out of their 3D TV viewing experience.

TV presenter Zoe Ball presents the new 3D Test Card, which broadcasts on the Sky 3D channel from 1st December alongside a character called Mr 3D. The pair take viewers through a series of easy steps demonstrating how to set up a 3D television to get the optimal viewing experience.

The TV test card, which many associate with the nostalgic image of Carole Hersee sitting beside a clown, dates back to an era when you could count the number of TV channels on one hand.

It’s patterns and colours were broadcast to help people adjust their sets for a good picture quality. Now, with TV channels available in a whole new dimension, Sky 3D’s test card replaces the static image with Zoe Ball giving an entertaining masterclass in picture-perfect 3D.

Already a 3D TV fan, having spent the summer hosting Sky 3D’s coverage of this year’s music festival season, Zoe explains everything from how to set your aspect ratio, colours and contrast of the picture, through where to position your TV, setting the lighting in your living room and getting the right sound settings for your space.

Zoe Ball said: “A new era in TV needs a new test card, and who has time to read all the instructions? It’s so much easier to watch a demonstration on the telly. This new 3D Test Card will help people set up their new 3DTVs to ensure they get the best seat in the house to indulge in the truly immersive experience that 3D offers.”

Chris Johns, Sky’s Chief Engineer who developed Sky’s new 3D Test Card said: “This guide brings the test card into the 21st Century, using the latest 3D technology to make something which seems technically complicated, clear and simple – allowing you to get the best pictures from your HD 3D screen. Watching Zoe steer you through the tutorial, whether in the 2D or 3D version, gives the ultimate user-friendly guide to getting the best viewing experience from your 3DTV.”

The 3D Test Card will air at 24.45 and repeat daily from 1st December on Sky 3D, channel 528. Sky 3D viewers can record the test card using Sky+ to watch back whenever suits them. The test card will also be available via Sky Anytime and online at

The History of the test card

• The most famous BBC test card featuring the girl and her clown is officially known as ‘Test Card F’ – the sixth in a long series of test cards named by letters of the alphabet.

• Test Card F was the first test card transmitted on a regular basis for colour TV and made its first appearance on BBC2 in the summer of 1967.

• The original test card girl was Carole Hersee, and was in fact the daughter of BBC engineer George Hersee, creator of the original colour test card.

• The X on the noughts and crosses board was included to show the centre point of the image so that viewers could make sure that the positioning of their picture was correct.

• Test Card F has been shown for an estimated 70,000 hours on the BBC.

• It has been reported that Carole Hersee holds the record for appearing on TV for more hours than anyone else.

• Regular transmissions of Test Card F were discontinued in May 1983. Its days were further numbered in the 1990s when BBC 1 and BBC 2 started broadcasting 24 hours a day.

• In 2007, Sky launched an HD version of the test card featuring Myleene Klass, to help viewers get a better experience from watching in High Definition.


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