ESPN Acquires Real-Time Virtual Image Technology from PVI Virtual Media Services

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ESPN has acquired substantially all of the intellectual property of PVI Virtual Media Services, located in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The acquisition will augment ESPN’s innovative use of virtual technology across its multiple platforms. Under this agreement, ESPN will hire substantially all of the highly-talented staff of engineers who have developed many of PVI’s virtual innovations. As a result of the transaction, ESPN will hold the rights to substantially all of PVI’s intellectual property including intellectual property which relates to virtual insertion, player tracking, iTV applications as well as 3D graphics development. In addition, certain rights to PVI’s technology have been separately sold to a third party.

“This is another acquisition that augments ESPN’s leadership position in innovation and technology development,” said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, 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 General Manager Jay DiGiovanni stated: “PVI has changed the way people watch sports and entertainment with its virtual insertion technology and we have no doubt that ESPN, as a programming leader, will find new and exciting ways to use this groundbreaking technology to enhance their content even further for their viewers.”

PVI Virtual Media Services is a global pioneer and leader in creating and providing real-time, vision-based, virtual image entertainment technology that enhances and transforms the television viewing experience. PVI’s patented technology allows broadcast, cable and broadband networks to insert computer-generated images into live or pre-recorded video broadcasts of events, sports contests and other television programming.

Earlier this year, ESPN technology acquired Vistas Unlimited, which bolstered its virtual design team. It also developed the technology needed to launch ESPN 3D, the industry’s first 3D network. The company’s focus on technology advancement also led to the October 2009 opening of its Innovation Lab at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The lab provides ESPN a real-world testing ground to continue developing new ground-breaking on-air products. Additionally, ESPN has continued to jointly develop and implement a virtual playbook of sports plays.

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