A Global View on 3D Broadcasters
EUROPE: United Kingdom
BSkyB has been testing 3D content since 2008 with a mixture of live sports, music and cultural events, and in April launched a 3D channel in over 1,000 pubs and clubs that featured at least one live sporting events each week. Sky 3D went live to the public in October (with a mixture of sport, films, documentaries, concerts and and on-demand movies) and its Christmas highlights will include the worldwide 3D TV premiere of Avatar, the documentary “Flying Monsters 3D” (written and presented by Sir David Attenborough), the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala and all the major Premier League football matches.
Virgin Media launched their 3D platform “3D Movies on Demand” last September, with a selection of 3D films and TV programmes. Christmas saw the addition of “Step Up 3D” and “Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3D” to their on-demand selection.
BT Vision also launched an on-demand 3D service and has since signed a deal with NBC Universal allowing it to show all of the studios 3D films for a year (starting with “Step Up 3D” and “Despicable Me”).
The BBC doesn’t have a formal 3D channel but did create its first 3D content in November for Children in Need using specially filmed footage from “Strictly Come Dancing”. The broadcaster has also revealed that it may screen some of the 2012 Olympics in 3D.
Discovery have been given a 3D broadcast licence, though as yet no official announcement has been made about when a possible channel might go live.
The launch of Canal Plus’s 3D channel has been put back from December 2010 to February 2011. Canal+ themselves broadcast a number of World Cup matches during the tournament last year. This far the station has revealed that it intends to broadcast a mixture of films, live events, sports and animation.
Orange 3D first went live on a trial basis last May and concentrated primarily on sporting events, including the French Open. During Christmas the channel broadcast a wide variety of programming which included classical theatre, ballet, Russian circus, boxing, surfing and fashion. The channel has also launched a video on demand service featuring “A Turtle’s Tale” and “Clash of the Titans”.
French cable firm Numéricable launched its 3D HD channel “Ma Chaîne 3D” in November with both free and VOD content available. The channel provides a mixture of films, animated productions, and documentaries.
Public broadcaster France Télévisions produced some 3D coverage of the French Open in May 2010
TF1 offered 3D coverage of several World Cup matches in summer 2010.
Sky Deutschland trialed 3D last March with the broadcast of a match between Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger SV. The channel launched fully in October and features a range of sports (including the Ryder Cup, UEFA Champions League, DFB-Cup and the German Ice Hockey League), films, documentaries and entertainment. This channel is also available in Austria.
Anixe HD broadcast first trialled 3D programming in April 2010. Since May 2010 the channel has been broadcasting 3d programs in regular 3D slots, including sport, documentaries and concerts.
Since September 2010 Deutsche Telecom’s IPTV service T-Entertain has begun offering on-demand 3D movies, sports and documentaries. Since 16 January 2011 T-Entertain is broadcasting live one match on every match day of the German Bundesliga in 3D.
Sky Sport 3D Italia
This dedicated sport channel went live in October with the Ryder Cup.
In September Mediaset began to offer a selection of on-demand 3D films, including “The Legend of Beowulf” and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. The broadcaster intends to add one new 3D film to the selection each month.
La7 broadcast three Italian rugby matches live in 3D in November 2010.
Canal+ en 3D
Canal+ Spain became the first TV channel to broadcast 3D content in Spain in April 2010, when it featured a concert from the Spanish recording artist Enrique Bunbury. The network also broadcast some World Cup matches in 3D in June.
EUROPE: The Netherlands
Dutch cable operator Ziggo produced the country’s first live 3D broadcast in June 2010 with a political debate during the Dutch general election. In October 2010 Ziggo added its first 3D titles to its video on demand service: “Fly Me To The Moon”, “Spy Kids 3″ and “My Bloody Valentine”.Ziggo also carried Net 5 3D – a 3D TV channel operated by SBS which broadcast Net 5′s regular programming in 3D with extra 3D content in the evening. Net 5 3D was launched in September 2010, but SBS closed it down early this year citing “content rights issues”.
UPC Nederland began its 3D broadcasts in April 2010 with the Augusta Masters golf tournament. The cable company has subsequently broadcast a number of 3D films and in November 2010 also began to include 3D films its UPC On Demand service.
Brava3D launched in November 2010 and is the first channel in mainland Europe to broadcast 3D content 24 hours a day. The channel is a sister channel to BravaHDTV and specialises in cultural programming including opera, ballet and concerts.
At present Switzerland does not have a channel broadcasting 3D content, though UPC CableCom did broadcast 3D footage from the US Masters in April 2010. tpc are also actively investigating Stereo 3D.
Meo has also broadcast football in 3D to Portuguese fans during 2010 (offering coverage of some World Cup matches) in addition to a selection of tennis matches from the Estoril Open and the world’s first live broadcast of a 3D surf event and a live concert by Pedro Abrunhosa.
Zon announced that it would be providing 3D content in March 2010, and broadcast two footbal matches in May prior to the World Cup. The operator has also been offering 3D content via its on demand service Videoclube.
EUROPE: Czech Republic
SAT Plus and UPC began regular 3D broadcasts in June 2010 on the HD+ channel.
n launched nShow 3D in December 2010, offering Poland’s first regular 3D television service. The service launched with live boxing from the European Boxing Union, a Jean Michelle Jarre concert and a number of live matches from the Champions League.
Canal+ carried out the first 3D transmission in Poland in May 2010, with a football match from the Ekstraklasa league. Canal+ also co-produced a 3D movie named Projekt Chopin.
UPC broadcast their first demo 3D broadcast in Poland during June 2010.
Belgacom TV began experimenting with 3D in March 2010, recording the Charleroi – Lokeren football match from the Belgian national league, the Jupiler Pro League. The provider also offers a selection of on demand films and documentaries.
Telenet has delivered the first live 3D broadcast in Flanders and will broadcast even more important TV programmes in the future. This initiative is the living proof that Telenet is perpetuating its innovative spirit where TV is concerned.
NTV Plus (НТВ Плюс)
NTV Plus launched Russia’s first 3D service in October 2010 in conjunction with Panasonic. The launch followed earlier 3D broadcasts of a selection of World Cup matches and the Champions League final.
In May 2010 cable operator STV launched 3D channel STV HD1, featuring a mixture of sports, cultural and other recreational programming.
n3D was launched by DIRECTV in June 2010, as a 24/7 3D channel offering a selection of television shows, films and sports from AEG/AEG Digital Media, CBS, Fox Sports/FSN, Golden Boy Promotions, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
ESPN 3D began broadcasting in June 2010, with a sports line up including 25 World Cup matches, the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, college basketball and football and the Summer X Games. The channel is scheduled to begin 24/7 3D broadcasting on 14 February 2011.
Discovery 3D is a channel set to launch by Discovery Communications in conjunction with Sony and IMAX. The channel will feature natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology, motion pictures and childrenís programming from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMAX and other third-party providers.
Looking to keep pace with DirecTV in the still-nascent 3DTV arena, Comcast on Feb. 20 will launch Xfinity 3D, a 24-hour channel that will feature concerts, sporting events, more than a dozen movies and original programming. Comcast also announced that it has served more than 1 million views of 3D video-on-demand content since providing the Masters Golf Tournament in the format in April 2010.
CBC has begun to broadcast weekly hockey matches in 3D.
Bell TV began 3D broadcasts in April 2010 with golf from the 2010 Masters Tournament.
MIDDLE EAST: UAE
Etisalat launched a 3D service for the UAE in June 2010, featuring content from other broadcasters including the World Cup from Al Jazeera Sport.
Du’s 3D offering also went live in June 2010, including fashion, art, travel, sport and lifestyle programming. Du also featured World Cup matches in 3D supplied by Al Jazeera Sport.
Orbit Showtime Network (OSN)
OSN began to offer 3D films on demand to its subscribers from December 2010.
ASIA PACIFIC: Japan
SkyPerfecTV are launching the world’s first 3D television series in conjunction with Fuji TV (who will also broadcast the 2D version). The series “Tokyo Control” is set in the Tokyo Air Traffic Control Center and will go live at the end of January 2011. Last year SkyPerfecTV launched the dedicated 3D channel SUKACHAN 3D169 in order to broadcast 25 matches from the World Cup in 3D.
BS11 has been broadcasting 3D content since 2007.
ASIA PACIFIC: South Korea
SkyLife was the world’s first 24-hour 3D channel and began broadcasting nationwide in South Korea on January 1st 2011. SkyLife features education, animation, sport, documentary and performances and broadcast 25 of the 2010 World Cup matches in 3D.
ASIA PACIFIC: Australia
SBS provided a dedicated 3D channel in conjunction with Sony and Harvey Norman during the World Cup in order to broadcast 3D matches from the competition.