Sony Steps Up As Official Sponsor of ESPN’s 3D Network; Launches 3D HDTV Lineup

ESPN is the first sports network to dive into 3D and it’s also the first network to figure out a way to offset costs as, in an agreement announced today at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony has signed on to be an official sponsor of ESPN’s new 3D network.  Additionally, Sony will be the exclusive 3D sponsor of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, 13 regular season college football games, and Summer X Games, where ESPN will utilize Sony professional HD cameras.  The announcement was made during Sony’s annual CES press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“ESPN and Sony have a long history together, and we share a passion for innovation and bringing customers cutting-edge products and content, which this union demonstrates,” said Sean Bratches, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, ESPN.  “The launch of ESPN 3D is a great way to offer our advertisers unique marketing opportunities, and due to Sony’s continued leadership with 3D technology, this collaboration made perfect sense.”

On Tuesday, January 5, ESPN announced it will launch ESPN 3D in June 2010.  ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events in 3D during its first year beginning with the first  2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico. Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, NBA basketball, college football and basketball which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, AZ on January 7, 2011.  Events televised on ESPN 3D will utilize Sony professional HD cameras.  Additional events will be announced at a later date.

“With America’s passion for sports, ESPN is a great partner to deliver the 3D sports experience in consumers’ homes,” said Michael Fasulo, chief marketing officer Sony Electronics Inc. “Sony is excited to partner with ESPN to deliver sports in 3D in 2010.”

Sony HD cameras have been the choice for most commercially successful 3D motion pictures and live sports events produced to date. Leading 3D production companies utilize Sony HD cameras and HD production systems to cover many of their 3D projects including live sports events produced with ESPN and other networks. Sony plans to install approx 11,000 of its 4K digital cinema projection systems in the US over the next few years, with about 3000 of those systems equipped for 3D.

Sony also launched a lineup of 3D sets, ranging in screen sizes from 60 to 22-inches. The LX900 series offers integrated 3D functionality with Sony’s 3D active shutter glasses and built-in 3D transmitter, while the HX900 and HX800-series are 3D capable using Sony 3D active shutter glasses and 3D transmitter (each sold separately). The 3D models incorporate a frame sequential display and active-shutter glasses that work together with Sony’s proprietary high frame rate technology reproducing full high-definition 3D images.

“Sony’s 3D HDTVs leverage the breadth and depth of the company’s expertise to create an entirely unique experience at home that draws you closer to entertainment than ever before,” said Jeff Goldstein, vice president for Sony’s television business. “Sony will continue to own the living room by delivering TVs that work synergistically; both in function and design.”

Available this summer, the BRAVIA XBR-LX900 series features integrated 3D functionality and screen sizes including 60 (XBR-60LX900), 52 (XBR-52LX900), 46 (XBR-46LX900), and 40-inch (XBR-40LX900).

The full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) models feature Edge LED backlight, Sony’s new Monolithic Design and Motionflow(TM) PRO 240Hz motion compensation technology, which helps produce smooth images in fast moving content such as sport and action movies. Sony’s 240Hz technology also reduces the mixing of images of 3D content assigned to the left and right eyes, while the BRAVIA Engine(TM) 3 full digital video processor uses a collection of enhanced algorithms to significantly reduce noise, enhance overall image detail, and optimize contrast so every scene produces sharp, vibrant, life-like images.

The LX900 models also feature Sony’s new OptiContrast panel. Designed with a clear surface treatment and a resin sheet sandwiched between the LCD display panel and glass plate, the OptiContrast panel minimizes the reflection and refraction of external and internal light producing deeper images with superior black levels even in bright rooms.

The models include integrated Wi-Fi for an easy connection to broadband home networks. Once connected, users can access thousands of streaming movies, videos, music and more from Netflix®, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube(TM), Slacker® Internet Radio, Pandora®, NPR, Sony Pictures, Sony Music, and over 25 total providers through the Sony BRAVIA Internet Video platform.

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