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DirecTV Bowing First 3D Network July 1; Panasonic Sponsors

30 Jun, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Satellite operator DirecTV July 1 will launch the world’s first 3D network featuring original and third-party content 24 hours daily.

During a June 30 webcast, Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, chief technology officer with Panasonic Corp. of North America, confirmed the pending launch of the network, dubbed “n3D,” adding that the Japanese consumer electronics giant will be a primary sponsor.

DirecTV will make the 3D network available to current high-definition subscribers who have a compatible receiver, HDTV and glasses. Initial programming will focus on special events, movies, concerts and sports, including the final rounds of World Cup soccer competition in South Africa on ESPN.

DirecTV and Panasonic are reportedly working with numerous content partners for the network, including CBS, Fox Sports, MTV, HDNet, NBC Universal and AEG, among others.

“We chose DirecTV because it has a national footprint and n3D has an on-demand channel,” Tsuyuzaki said. “You need more than Blu-ray Disc.”

He said the relationship with DirecTV was prompted by a phone call from the satellite operator, which led to a joint presentation two months later with Panasonic at CES in January.

“They are one of the leaders of the 3D rollout,” Tsuyuzaki said.

With sales of Blu-ray players growing slowly, the consumer electronics industry jumped on the 3D bandwagon when consumers flocked to theatrical releases in the format in record numbers.

“We believe 3D has a lot of interest from the theatrical side,” Tsuyuzaki said. “3D is great way to rejuvenate the AV industry.”

He said 70% of all Panasonic plasma TVs will be 3D-compatible by 2013.

“We are here to sell TVs,” Tsuyuzaki said. “It’s there if you want it.”

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