Ericsson, ESPN 3D announce new 3D TV products

NAB: Ericsson partners with ESPN 3D to deliver sporting events in 3D

Ericsson has partnered with international sports network EPSN, providing the broadcaster with technology that will allow its new ESPN 3D network to deliver 3D transmissions of live sporting events.

Ericsson’s new line-up of encoders and receivers process video in real-time and convert them to 3D. “ESPN is launching the world's first 3D sports television network today, with key 3D broadcast and encoding technology provided by Ericsson,” said Ericsson ANZ's Kursten Leins. “The FIFA World Cup, due to commence on 11 June in South Africa, will be the first of around 85 live sporting events to be shown by ESPN over the coming year. ESPN content is already available via subscription TV services in Australia, and these networks will require relatively minor upgrades to deliver 3D sports content to Australian audiences.”

At present Australian viewers cannot get 3D transmissions from ESPN HD as the technology is yet to be embraced by Australian networks, both pay TV and free-to-air channels.

Leins believes that although Ericsson’s new technology is encouraging for 3D TV enthusiasts, there are still several hurdles that need to be cleared in order to bring 3D TV into the mainstream in Australia.

“There is a huge demand for sporting events like the World Cup to be broadcast in 3D,” he said. “Ericsson’s technology means that this could be possible in the near future.”

The new product line-up is set to be unveiled by Ericsson at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show in Las Vegas from April 12-15.

Leins said that he was unclear of how soon consumers would actually warm to 3D TV. “The broadcasters, especially cable providers like Foxtel, have a huge influence on the success of 3D and whether it will be embraced by the mass market,” he said. “However the rollout of the NBN [National Broadband Network] in the coming years means it’s a no-brainer as 3D TV requires high bandwidth usage.”

Leins said that the interest in consumer products such as the 3D TV’s from Sony and Samsung announced this week, hasn't changed Ericsson’s strategies.

“We will still sit behind the scenes and make broadcasting solutions which are just as important,” he said.

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