Panasonic funds 2012 Olympics 3D TV broadcast

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Setting the stage for U.S. cable operators to use the 2012 Summer Olympics to market 3D TV programming to subscribers, Panasonic (NYSE: PC) said it will sponsor 3D TV production at the London games.

Panasonic 3D camcorder

Panasonic's twin-lens 3D camcorder

The CE (consumer electronics) manufacturer said Thursday that it will sponsor the production of 200 hours of live coverage from the Olympics. It marks the first time that the Olympics will be distributed in 3D, and the move could spark renewed interest in 3D TV programming.

In 2004, when HDTV was beginning to take off, Panasonic teamed up with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Cox Communications and other major MSOs to market 3D TV programming from the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The marketing effort was organized by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM). It's likely that cable MSOs and Panasonic will use the London games to market 3D programming from London similar to ad campaigns that touted cable's ability to distribute HD programming from Athens.

Since 3D TV programming is expensive to produce, and often requires broadcasters to use separate cameras and production teams dedicated to capturing 3D images, CBS, ESPN and other networks are producing a limited amount of 3D sports programming. But moves by Panasonic and other CE manufacturers to subsidize 3D productions at major sporting events can reduce costs for programmers, and give pay TV distributors content they can use to sign new subscribers, and retain existing customers.

For more:
- see the news release
- The Independent has this story

Related articles:
BBC may shoot Olympics in 3D
ATSC to develop 3D TV broadcast standard
Samsung grabs 61 percent of U.S. 3D TV market

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