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All-Star weekend will unveil 3D HD

February 12, 2007|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

NBA owners and executives, media members and invited guests will be shown the latest in sports television technology -- three-dimensional high-definition -- at two private showings next weekend at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

The NBA will announce today that it has formed a partnership with PACE, a Burbank company specializing in digital 3D production, and will use NBA All-Star Saturday and the 56th All-Star game on Sunday to demonstrate the new technology.

The two events will be the first televised in 3D HD, with five high-tech cameras being used at Thomas & Mack Center.

The project has been nearly a year in the works. Mike Rokosa, NBA vice president of engineering, met with Vincent Pace, the CEO of his company, at last April's National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. A few days later, as a trial run, Pace's company taped Game 4 of the Lakers' playoff series with Phoenix, a dramatic 99-98 overtime victory for L.A. at Staples Center, in 3D HD.

Steve Hellmuth, NBA senior vice president of operations and technology, compared what he saw to "a spectacular view of our game from a courtside seat."

As with anything shown in 3D, viewers are required to wear special glasses.

Rokosa, who flew from New York to Burbank on Friday to help oversee the transport of equipment to Las Vegas, said that since NBA owners have yet to see the 3D HD technology, it is hard to say what the next step will be. He said one possibility might be to have 3D HD showings of games in theaters or arenas during the NBA Finals in the cities of the participating teams.

As for when such technology might be available in homes, Rokosa was hesitant but predicted it would be less than 10 years.

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