The Winter Olympics kick off in Vancouver tonight: the opening ceremony is at 6pm local time, or 2am back here, so fans of parades and flags will need plenty of strong coffee.

Even if you stay up, you won't be watching proceedings in 3D, but visitors to the games will be able to see the ceremony, highlights of the events and more in a special Panasonic Full HD 3D Theatre, part of the company's Olympic Pavilion in the host city.

 

The pavilion will feature displays of equipment from the company, which is the games' Official Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Audio and Visual Equipment category, and the dedicated theatre will use two 103in plasma TVs, with a stack of 3D glasses available for visitors.

More after the break

Other exhibits allow them to see how the 3D images are produced, including a look at Panasonic's twin-lens 3D camera, and the pavilion will be open 12 hours a day at the LiveCity Yaletown site, the games' official celebration site.

It's all part of a monumental marketing push being undertaken by Panasonic North America this year, which will see a large-scale roadshow visiting 15 cities in the USA hoping to draw 'millions of consumers", a $100m advertising spend, and demonstrations of 3D TV and gaming.

The company also says "We will announce, relatively soon, a marketing agreement with a major gaming developer for 3D."

Back in Vancouver, Panasonic's Managing Executive Officer, Takumi Kajisha, opening the Pavilion, said "“This theatre is our way of sharing the passion of the 2010 Winter Games with Vancouver residents and visitors from around the world. Panasonic believes 3D systems will greatly enhance at-home viewing of future Olympic Games, combining the enjoyment of watching the greatest sports event with the stereoscopic images of full HD 3D.”

And just to show how sharing it is, the company chose the opening of the pavilion to unleash on the world the Panasonic song.

Shall be Done is perforned by Sarah Brightman, who was on hand for the launch. She says of the song that "The lyrics are moving and powerful, and the song captures Panasonic’s commitment to sustainability for future generations, which is a value I support."

Visitors to the pavilion will be able to see Brightman performing the song in 3D, but if you can't get there, you can experience it in old-fashioned flatvision here.

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