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Unedited press release follows:
Panasonic 3D Broadcast of US Open Serves Up a Big Hit
SECAUCUS, N.J., Sept. 26, 2011 — Critical acclaim, outstanding viewership and wide availability from major distributors greeted this month’s 3D coverage of the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships. A joint production of CBS Sports, Panasonic and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), this is the second year that American viewers have had the opportunity to watch the US Open in 3D, bringing a unique sense of “being there” to viewers of one of the world’s premiere sporting events. Panasonic, a worldwide leader in Full HD 3D technology, is the official consumer electronics sponsor of the US Open Championships, as well as sponsor of CBS Sports’ 2D and 3D US Open telecasts.
Following an Emmy Award-winning production in 2010, this year 3D coverage of the US Open was expanded to include more hours and wider distribution. The coverage was available on DIRECTV’s n3D Powered by Panasonic; Comcast Xfinity 3D; Cablevision’s iO TV; and Verizon’s FiOS system. In addition, the men’s and women’s finals were also available in 3D via the Internet on the USTA’s web site (www.usopen.org), utilizing the NVIDIA 3D viewing platform.
“We’ve always said that sports bring out the best in 3D, and the strong response from system operators and the public proves it,” said Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer. “When you are watching a match in 3D in your home, the sense that you are actually there and a part of the action simply can’t be beat.”
Viewers responded enthusiastically to the expanded coverage. “This was one of the most-watched 3D events on the DIRECTV 3D platform,” said Steven Roberts, Senior Vice President of Programming, Strategy and Development for DIRECTV. “This is the second year that we have carried the US Open Tennis Championship in 3D and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Panasonic and the USTA to bring even more compelling tennis programming in 3D to DIRECTV customers nationwide.”
This year’s production consisted of 48 hours of 3D programming over seven days, covering matches in both Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium — a notable increase from the 40 hours of 3D programming from Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2010. The number of 3D cameras utilized was doubled to 14 this year, with three used specifically for low-angle 3D shots. A separate robotic 3D camera captured images of players during breaks, and Panasonic’s AG-3DP1 prototype as well as one fly-by-wire system were also used.
The 3D production of the Open utilized its own unique production team and equipment. Special courtside placement of 3D cameras created the ideal camera angles for 3D filming giving 3D viewers a unique perspective on the action that made them feel as if they were sitting courtside.
“We’re proud to have once again partnered with Panasonic to create cutting-edge 3D sports programming,” said Ken Aagaard, Executive Vice President of CBS Sports. “The audience response confirms our continuing belief that 3D TV programming can create an environment that brings viewers right into the action, offering a sense of realism never before possible.”
“3DTV elevates home entertainment to a whole new level for consumers,” said Mr. Tsuyuzaki. “Panasonic’s commitment to 3D remains strong as evidenced by our recent announcement that we will partner with Olympic Broadcasting Services to create more than 200 hours of 3D coverage during next summer’s London Olympics. We’re looking forward, over the coming months, to present to consumers other flagship events that showcase the best in 3D programming.”
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and through tennis, helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics and strive for excellence. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.
About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC), a market and technology leader in High Definition television, is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic is a world leader in 3D technology offering end-to-end 3D solutions for consumers and professionals ranging from award-winning Full HD 3D HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, and 3D camcorder and digital camera products through professional products for 3D acquisition, display and content production. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com and its Full HD 3D site at www.panasonic.com/3D. Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources and protect our environment through the company’s Eco Ideas programs. Information about Panasonic Eco Ideas initiatives is available at http://panasonic.net/green_innovation.