Harmonic, DirecTV and Panasonic offer 3D TV demo at NAB

Harmonic, Panasonic and DirecTV are teaming up to demo a 3D TV option at NAB, with Panasonic's Viera plasma screen TV--which last month was a big hit with consumers when it launched, selling out of initial stocks--at center stage.

DirecTV's already ahead of the operator pack, announcing it will be the first--and only, at this point--service provider to offer dedicated 3D channels to subscribers. It's planning to launch the service in June, initially with three 3D channels and a 3D version of ESPN. More channels are planned.

Harmonic, meanwhile, brings a critical component to the mashup; its Electra encoders, which support frame-compatible 3D video, are the compression engine for DirecTV.

"DirecTV is committed to offering consumers the highest quality, most compelling TV experience available," said Romulo Pontual, CTO of DirecTV. "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." Harmonic's Electra 8000 encoder supports SD and HD, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), as well as integrated statistical multiplexing, broadcast quality up/down-conversion and other unique features such as Jünger Level Magic automatic audio leveling adjustment.

Panasonic's Viera 3D televisions have a plasma display, native 1080p, 600 Hz capability and comes with liquid crystal glass shutter lens viewing glasses. A 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Internet Connectible/Wi-Fi capability is also available from Panasonic.

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