2010 World Cup kicking into 3D

Coverage includes public-viewing events in various cities

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa will be offered in stereoscopic 3D.

FIFA is partnering with Sony to produce up to 25 matches in 3D, using Sony's 3D camera and broadcast technology, which has been on a development fast track.

Pundits have long suggested that live sports could be a killer app for driving 3D to the home -- as well as to theaters as alternative content -- and FIFA's plans to present the global event could be a pivotal factor.

Such sports leagues as the NBA and NFL have tested live 3D for select public events. The World Cup, which begins in June, will by far have the have the widest reach of any 3D sports competition to date.

The 3D coverage will include live public-viewing events in such cities as Berlin, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Sydney.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment also plans to produce and distribute an official 3D movie that will be made available on several formats, notably Blu-ray. The Blu-ray Disc Assn. is expected to complete its 3D standard this month.

Sony, which has made 3D a key part of its business strategy, offers a 3D digital cinema system for theater owners and plans to incorporate the format into many of its consumer products, including its Bravia LCD TVs, Blu-ray recorders and players and VAIO and PlayStation3 systems.

"The transition to 3D is under way, and we at Sony intend to be leaders in every aspect," Sony Corp. chairman chief executive Howard Stringer said. "Our sponsorship of the World Cup allows us to leverage our cutting-edge 3D technology and premier products with dazzling content to produce a unique and totally compelling viewing experience."
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