ESPN, Sportvision Acquire PVI Virtual Media’s Intellectual Property

ESPN has acquired substantially PVI Virtual Media Services’ intellectual property. Previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Cablevision Systems, PVI provides the virtual insertion of computer-generated images into TV broadcasts.

In a separate deal, Sportvision has acquired certain intellectual property, assets, and contractual relationships from PVI, including the company’s in-studio insertion system that permits broadcasters to insert enhancements such as Sportvision’s Yellow 1st & Ten Line in-studio, reducing the need for technical staff and equipment on location at an event.

Under terms of the agreement, ESPN will hire the a large segment of company’s engineering staff as well as hold the rights to PVI intellectual property, including technology involving virtual insertion, player tracking, iTV, and 3D graphics development.The deal adds to ESPN’s a growing number of virtual design acquisitions, having acquired Vistas Unlimited earlier this year.

“This is another acquisition that augments ESPN’s leadership position in innovation and technology development,” says Chuck Pagano, EVP, ESPN technology.  “PVI has developed some of the television industry’s leading virtual content, and now the addition of their engineering team will help ESPN continue to invent ground-breaking production enhancements for our fans.”

PVI’s patented technology allows broadcast, cable, and broadband networks to insert computer-generated images into live or pre-recorded broadcasts. PVI is the pioneer of “downstream” enhancement technology that allows graphics to be virtually inserted from the broadcast center. This gives Sportvision’s media partners a lower-cost option as the in-studio insertion system can be more efficient for networks to implement during event telecasts.

“Complementing our current product suite with this unique computer-vision technology augments our ability to deliver richer fan experiences,” says Hank Adams, CEO, Sportvision.  “We’ve always had tremendous respect for PVI and their capabilities, and we’re thrilled to combine these complementary technologies and integrate PVI’s significant computer vision-based capabilities with our world-class tracking and sensor-based technologies.  Our partners will benefit greatly, as we can offer them the most comprehensive end-to-end solution set in the global market.”

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