On Dec. 4, 3ality, its partners and the National Football League led the very first, although significantly smaller in scale, 3-D broadcasting test when they live broadcast the game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.
The strong response to that game encouraged them to expand their scope with Thursday's broadcast. In a testament to the success of the Dec. 4 broadcast, executives said the San Diego theaters broadcasting the BCS game sold out nearly instantaneously.
"[Attendees] said they never understood the strategy of the game until they saw it in 3-D," said Sandy Climan, 3ality Digital's CEO. "The physicality of the players takes on an entirely different sensation, emotion."
Climan said 3ality's technology, which was 10 years in the making, gives viewers an unparalleled immersive and emotional experience.
But, he said, the company is still tweaking and learning from each broadcast.
"In 2-D, the announcers, all of those other aspects of the broadcast have their own complexion," Climan said. "In 3-D, we're re-architecting all of those elements because the audience has a different sense of immersiveness in being there."
In 2-D, for example, you'd quickly cut between different camera angles and shots to keep the audience engaged with the action. But in 3-D, because the sense of immersiveness is so much higher, quick cutting isn't as necessary and could be distracting, he said.
With each experience, Climan said, his team is learning how to shoot better, how to choose shots and how to move from one shot to the next.
Although 3ality is focusing on football now, it plans to expand globally into other sports, concerts and alternative programming, such as Broadway musicals.
And it is hardly the only one trying to figure out how to capitalize on emerging 3-D technology.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic are all showing concept televisions that would bring 3-D viewing capabilities to the home.
Dreamworks' Jeffrey Katzenberg was on site Thursday, as well, talking about the release of his 3-D animated feature film "Monsters vs. Aliens," created with Intel's InTru 3-D technology.
Katzenberg's first foray into 3-D entertainment was more than 20 years ago, he said, when he worked on the Disney theme park attraction Captain Eo.
But, he said, technology, especially advances in digital technology that have emerged in the last 18 months, has dramatically changed the theme park experience that he calls "my father's 3-D."
"This technology that exists today is allowing us to capture and create images in 3-D that have this extra immersive feeling; it's not just about physical dimensionality, it's about the emotional dimensionality," he said.
The revolutions in the 1920s and 1930s that transformed film from silent to sound and then black and white to color enhanced the ability of storytellers to bring audiences into their films. The move to 3-D is the next step in this progression, Katzenberg said.
"In the same way those first two revolutionary events changed the experience of video and film, I believe that 3-D, over the next 10 or 15 or 20 years, will completely transform how we relate to video images in every facet of our lives," Katzenberg said.
The transition will start in movie theaters but will move down to every place that we watch video, he said, from televisions to hand-held devices.
"It's the natural thing to happen," he said.