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Spec-Tacular 3-D Promo

Over 15 million pairs of cardboard 3-D glasses have gone on sale throughout Germany as part of promotional schemes by two rival broadcasters for what is touted as a revolutionary new technology for three-dimensional color telecasts.

Telecast Intl., the Munich-based company that has secured European rights to the technique, says the distinguishing feature of the new broadcast mode is that viewers who do not wear the special glasses still will see a conventional color picture.

Previous methods of airing shows in 3-D produced dual images for viewers not watching through special specs.

Competition for the technology has been fierce in Germany, where broadcasters brag they have the world’s finest broadcast technical standard – the 625-line norm, free of the color shifts with the 525-line norm used in the U.S. and Japan.

First off the mark is ARD Television, Germany’s oldest and most widely watched pubcaster, which plans to air a celebrity show in 3-D on March 4. The show will feature Chancellor Helmut Kohl and lobsters snapping their pincers toward the camera.

Fledgling commercial broadcaster RTL Plus, not to be outdone by its entrenched competition, is touting what it says are the world’s first 3-D musievideo and the first 3-D striptease gameshow, to be broadcast later in the month.

The glasses are being sold through opticians’ shops for less than 3 marks each (about $2).

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