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ESPN is deploying a variety of Ericsson 3-D and HD products for direct-to-home and contribution and distribution of 3-D content.

ESPN 3D will air at least 85 live sports events during its first year, beginning with the first of 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches on June 11, between South Africa and Mexico.

The product list includes a CExH42 MPEG-4 AVC HD contribution encoder for 3-D contribution links, ensuring control of encoding parameters, synchronization and time stamping of the compressed frames as well as the generation of a fully packaged 3-D simulcast.

Ericsson’s EN8190 HD encoder and RX8200 receiver are also deployed. The company says that new technology for the receivers “ensures that the exact temporal and spatial relationship between left and right feeds is also maintained at the receive end, avoiding possibly severe reductions in early 3-D customer experience.”

At the same time, ESPN will transmit HD programming to viewers worldwide in 2-D using Ericsson's MPEG-4 AVC HD 4:2:2 video processing system. The solution delivers more efficient bandwidth usage while ensuring the transmissions meet ESPN's high standards for picture quality.

Other events to be produced in 3-D by ESPN include NBA games, X Games 16 and college basketball.

Adrian Pennington is a journalist specialising in film and TV production. His work has appeared in The Guardian, RTS Television, Variety, British Cinematographer, Premiere and The Hollywood Reporter. Adrian has edited several publications, co-written a book on stereoscopic 3D and is copywriter of marketing materials for the industry. Follow him @pennington1