PARIS, July 6, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The experience of live 3D in cinemas is one of the key technology highlights of the 2010 FIFA World Cup(TM). By offering sports fans a new layer of excitement for viewing sports on a big screen in a collective environment, 3D projections in cinemas are a fast emerging product Europe-wide in the vibrant market for digital services. As the FIFA World Cup(TM) moves into its final phase, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) is getting high positive return on consumer appetite for satellite-delivered world-class events in cinemas and public venues.
Working with key players in 3D development, including Sony, Eutelsat has optimised the FIFA World Cup(TM) as a commercial platform for 3D viewing in out-of-home venues. Seventeen of the 60 matches played so far in South Africa have been transmitted in 3D across Europe through Eutelsat satellites and shown on 50-foot cinema screens in 19 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Nordic countries and the Baltics. The four semi-final and final matches will also be broadcast in 3D, with cinemas in additional countries, such as the Netherlands, taking the signal, underscoring the scalability of a satellite-based network.
Eutelsat calculates that over 250 hours of 3D transmissions will have been transported by its satellites by the time the FIFA World Cup(TM) ends on July 11. Signals are broadcast in Europe through its ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 3 and W7 satellites, using 40 Mbps of throughput to ensure both the quality and the robustness of each transmission. Eutelsat is running five feeds: four configured for cinemas, with English, Italian, French, Russian commentary, and one TV signal operated by the French broadcaster TF1, which is available in France in the FRANSAT digital platform.
The FIFA World Cup(TM) production in 3D is managed by the event's appointed host broadcaster, HBS, using Sony technology. The content is delivered by GlobeCast via W2A to Eutelsat's teleport near Paris, where it is retransmitted to ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 3 for Western and Central Europe. A second teleport in Moscow ensures distribution via W7 in Russia.
Over 200 of an expanding network of more than 400 digital cinemas are enabled to receive the live 3D signals using equipment provided, installed and managed in real time by Eutelsat in collaboration with OpenSky. The equipment comprises a 1.5 metre receive antenna and a professional IDC receiver with Sensio decoding and BISS decryption.
Carsten Schuffert, CEO of BEWEGTE BILDER Medien AG, Eutelsat's network management partner for digital cinemas in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, commented: "We have been closely monitoring consumer response to viewing World Cup matches direct from South Africa in cinemas, and are simply amazed by the enthusiasm. The 3D experience on a cinema screen is the closest that technology has brought us so far to actually being in a stadium. It combines the pleasure of sharing live sport with the thrill of enjoying every graphic detail of a world-class sport event."
Andrew Wallace, Eutelsat Commercial Director, added: "Eutelsat has been working intensively with partners on 3D since 2008 to support the creation of this new consumer experience for both television and out-of-home viewing. 3D is an exacting and bandwidth-hungry application, requiring up to 40 Mbps of capacity for out-of-home venues, and the highest levels of collaboration between all players in the transmission chain. After many months of demonstrations, testing and analysis, we have an exceptional platform with the FIFA World Cup(TM) to go to the next stage and offer consumers the opportunity of full immersion in a sporting event taking place thousands of miles from Europe. 3D is without doubt the technology achievement of this year's World Cup."
About Eutelsat Communications
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A.. With capacity commercialised on 26 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. At 31 March 2010, Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting more than 3,500 television channels. More than 1,100 channels broadcast via its HOT BIRD(TM) video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East which serves over 120 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates access to high speed internet services through teleports in France and Italy that serve enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ nearly 650 commercial, technical and operational employees from 28 countries.
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