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Vizrt Formalizes Partnership with Stergen on 3D Conversion

The deal will provide integration between Stergen stereo 3D conversion software and its own stereo 3D graphics portfolio.

Vizrt Ltd., a Norwegian provider of content production tools for the digital media industry, has formalized its strategic collaboration with Stergen Hi-Tech Ltd., an Israeli firm that develops “2D to stereoscopic 3D” video conversion software.

Because of the collaboration, Vizrt now offers tight integration between Stergen stereo 3D conversion software tailored to sports TV networks, sports leagues and webcasters and its own stereo 3D graphics portfolio.

Under the new agreement, Vizrt will make an equity investment in Stergen of approximately $1.86 million, made up both of a cash payment and marketing services, in consideration for preferred shares. In addition, the parties have entered into a teaming agreement with respect to the sale of Stergen’s products by Vizrt, which will hold about 20 percent of Stergen.

Martin Burkhalter, Vizrt chief executive office, said, “We like to formalize our partnerships through taking a stake when we see technology that fits our objectives of delivering innovative products that add to our current offering and more importantly, provide an advantage to our customers in view of future market developments.”

“With more than 28 million 3D capable TVs forecasted to be in homes by 2012, demand for technology that enhances broadcasters’ ability to tell their stories through this new technology is already increasing and is set to accelerate,” Burkhalter said. “What also makes the Stergen software so attractive is its ability to convert existing 2D footage to 3D specs, thereby allowing content owners to increase the value of their media assets, which links very well with our content management philosophy,” he added.

Miky Tamir, founder of Stergen, said “We produce high-fidelity, broadcast-quality 3D with even better depth perception than video captured by stereo 3D cameras and rigs. Unlike real 3D shooting, we have almost infinite capability to dynamically change the stereoscopic setting.”

Burkhalter added, “Stergen’s 2D to 3D stereo conversion tools can complement live stereo 3D production, as well as offer a compelling alternative to expensive, logistically complex, live stereo 3D production. It cuts costs without compromising superior, broadcast quality, which matches Vizrt’s strategy of offering superior products that address the economic realities of our customers.”

In early 2011, Stergen is scheduled to introduce a live version of its “Highlights” software that converts 2D video to stereo 3D in real-time for delivery to stereo 3D cinemas, mobile devices and home entertainment centers. Stergen’s real-time conversion software includes Stergen Arena, which connects to a single, live 2D camera output to produce live stereo 3D video from sports arenas and mobile video units; and Stergen Studio, for use in broadcast studios or cable head-ends to convert live, 2D video programs to stereo 3D in real-time.