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British Pub Watch: Vizrt on Tap for Sky 3D Channel

DBS firm BSkyB serving mostly Western Europe has chosen Vizrt to furnish its core graphics platform for Sky's 3D sports channel set to start up in April.

But a lot of Brits will be able to get a taste of 3D (along with some tangible nourishment, no doubt) since about 1,000 pubs have so far signed up to screen the first hours of Sky 3D — which launches April 3 with the Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Vizrt said its stereoscopic system for Sky 3D uses a CG operator interface (Viz Trio), which controls its render engine PC. The graphics engine uses two graphics cards — thereby separately rendering one HD channel for each eye. The dual channels are then synchronized by a proprietary Vizrt application developed for the process.

The Bergen, Norway-based firm (a longtime NAB exhibitor) said both the stereoscopic convergence point and depth are quickly adjustable to permit fast-changing camera views. The system can also be driven by GPI triggers from a dedicated vision-mixing desk.

Vizrt said it may have had a leg up on the global competition vying for Sky Sports' 3D channel plans because the company has long made it a habit to deliver a lot of graphics as true 3D animations (sans the addition of stereoscopy).

Its current subs will not be required to upgrade their Sky+ HD set-top boxes to access the new 3D satellite channel, since all such boxes are "3D ready." But the big Catch-22 is they will have to shed quite a few English pounds for a new 3D-ready HD set, which are expected to start hitting retail shelves in the U.K. in the third or fourth quarter of this year.