NAB 2010: Harmonic to Demonstrate 3D with DirecTV, Panasonic

NAB 2010: Complete Coverage from B&C

At the NAB show in Las Vegas next week, transmission supplier Harmonic will demonstrate 3D TV in partnership with pay-TV operator DirecTV and set-maker Panasonic.

Harmonic, which already provides MPEG-4 HD encoding for a number of DirecTV channels, says that its Electra encoders will compress the DirecTV 3D content in a frame-compatible 3D format for viewing on a Panasonic Viera 3D plasma display equipped with companion active-shutter glasses. The demonstration in Harmonic's South Hall booth should give show attendees a preview of what DirecTV's new 3D channels will look like when they launch in June.

"DirecTV is committed to offering consumers the highest quality, most compelling TV experience available," said DirecTV CTO Romulo Pontual. "Harmonic is a trusted solution provider for DirecTV, with outstanding solutions including the Electra encoders which not only enable us to efficiently deliver excellent quality HD, but also can flexibly support new applications such as 3D."

Panasonic, which is sponsoring two linear 3D channels and an on-demand 3D service on DirecTV, conducted a similar demonstration in its booth at the CES show last January. Since then, DirecTV has announced that it will also carry ESPN's new 3D channel, which is slated to launch in June in conjunction with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ESPN 3D service, which is being sponsored by Sony Electronics, has yet to announce carriage with any other pay-TV operator.

Panasonic began selling its VIERA 3D televisions in stores last month and says it has already sold out of initial supplies. The company also sells a 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Internet-Connectable/Wi-Fi capability.

"Panasonic has worked closely with Hollywood over the past several years to develop ‘Full HD' 3D technology that can create a high quality, immersive viewing experience in the living room," said Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, in a statement. "Consumers are buying Panasonic's award-winning VIERA 3D displays to get an extraordinary HDTV and 3D TV in one future-proof package."