Seeing Things: NFL Experiments With 3D

SD ChargerTo stay tech-savvy, the NFL will experiment with a 3D version of a game next month in movie theaters, but fans will be on the sidelines. On Dec. 4, the futuristic live feed of the Thursday night San Diego vs. Oakland game will be available to industry executives as part of a test.

There is some thought that the technology may eventually be available on TV screens in homes.

"Invited guests" will be able to see the game in three theaters--one each in Foxborough, Mass., Hollywood and New York.

Foxborough was chosen, in part, because of influential NFL owner Bob Kraft. He owns a mall-like facility across from his New England Patriots' stadium that has a theater run by National Amusements. (CBS, which broadcasts the NFL, has a restaurant at what's known as Patriot Place.)

In Hollywood, it appears that the famed Mann Chinese Theatre will be the venue. In New York, a member of the Clearview Cinemas chain will be used--a curious choice since it's owned by Cablevision, which successfully fought against the building of a new NFL stadium in Manhattan several years ago and upset the league.

The NFL would no comment on the venues.

Consumers are increasingly viewing sports events in HD-- a trend that is expected to accelerate after the digital transition next year. However, the 3D feed is touted as a considerably higher-quality option that will make its way into homes at some point.

"The NFL has played an important role in the evolution of media and consumer acceptance of emerging technologies, and we're pleased to work with 3ality Digital and RealD (3D filmmakers) to glimpse into the future," said Howard Katz, NFL senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations. "This broadcast will be an exciting test of how 3D could affect fans' experience in the future."

"As boxing fans once gathered at local theaters to see heavyweight title matches in the era before pay-per-view and plasma televisions, RealD's new technology will give audiences another reason to head to the theater," said Michael Lewis, RealD CEO.

Ads during the Dec. 4 theater-casts will run as they do in the TV broadcasts and not in 3D.

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