Looking to light the 3DTV flame, NBC Sports Group and Panasonic are teaming up to make the London 2012 Olympic Games available in 3D to all U.S. distributors who carry Olympic coverage, which will be the first time 3DTV owners will be able to watch the games in the format.
The companies did not announce which pay-TV providers intend to carry the Olympic coverage in 3D, but presumably Comcast -- which owns NBCUniversal -- will be in the mix, along with DirecTV, which has aimed to be the leading provider of 3DTV in the U.S.
Cable, satellite and telco providers who receive the Olympics package may distribute the 3D broadcast via the Comcast Media Center.
"NBC has a history of utilizing technological innovations to distribute the Olympics in new ways for viewers," NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in a statement. "We are proud to continue that tradition by partnering with Panasonic and Olympic Broadcasting Services to distribute the first 3D broadcast of the Games in the U.S. in partnership with our multichannel video programming distributors."
Panasonic is the exclusive Flat-Panel HDTV and Blu-ray Disc Player advertiser for NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Last year, Panasonic announced it would partner with the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Broadcasting Services to make the London 2012 Olympic Games the first ever 3D Olympic Games.
The more than 200 hours of 3D telecasts, to be produced by OBS and shown on next-day delay in the U.S., will span multiple competitions throughout the games, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, gymnastics, diving and swimming. OBS will produce the 3D coverage using Panasonic's 3D production technologies.
Comcast created the NBC Sports Group when the NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011. The company consists of an array of broadcast television, cable television and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports & Olympics, Golf Channel, NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), 11 regional sports networks and their respective websites.
Also Monday, Panasonic announced its 2012 line of Smart Viera Full HD 3D HDTVs and Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc players. Of the 17 models in the CE maker's 2012 plasma lineup 16 feature the 3D technology, while five of the 14 LED/LCD HDTVs provide 3D capability. In addition, Panasonic unveiled two new larger screen sizes in the LED family, 47 and 55 inches.
Meanwhile, Time Warner Inc.'s Flixster announced its movie application will be available this year on Panasonic's line of Viera Connect devices including HDTVs and Blu-ray players, to let consumers watch UltraViolet movies and TV shows directly on the devices.
In addition, Panasonic said it will use Ooyala's online video-syndication platform to bring new content to Viera Connect devices, with The Country Network the first publisher to take advantage of the partnership.