'Thursday Night Football' gets 3-D treatment

3ality production to gauge TV sports possibilities for home

Reflecting a growing interest in live 3-D events, particularly sports, 3ality Digital will produce a live 3-D broadcast of NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders on Dec. 4.

It will be presented as a test to invited guests at three theaters: the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood, a theater in Boston and one in New York.

3ality Digital, the company behind the "U2 3D" concert film, is overseeing production and transmission. Technicolor Digital Cinema is providing the satellite transponder time and digital-downlink services.

The test will serve as a proof of concept for the possiblities of 3-D televised sports in the home because several consumer 3-D ready displays will be used.

"This broadcast will be an exciting test of how 3-D could affect fans' experience in the future," said Howard Katz, the NFL's senior vp broadcasting and media operations.

The production underscores interest in live 3-D broadcasting, both in theaters and the home. There has been particular interest in sports: The NBA has experimented with the format with 3-D basketball broadcasts for test audiences, and the BBC tested the waters with a broadcast of rugby's Six Nations Championship.
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