TV gets kitted out for new dimension in entertainment

Soon, watching TV won’t just mean searching for the remote but trying to find your 3D glasses as well.

Electronics manufacturers have been talking up 3D for several years but haven’t had much to show at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But what many considered a novelty to move more hardware became a reality this year, with Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung, among others, all powering up new lines of 3D TVs and Blu-ray players.

Eager to put image-popping programming on those new flat screens — besides the 3D movies that have already bowed on Blu-ray or are on tap, such as Sony’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” — DirecTV said it would launch three 3D outlets in June that will include a pay-per-view channel of movies, documentaries and other programming, an on-demand channel and a free channel that demos 3D on DirecTV using sports, music and other fare.

It’s working with NBC Universal, MTV, HDNet, Fox Sports, CBS, AEG and Turner Broadcasting to create programming that will bow next year.

Panasonic will brand those channels for the first year as a way to promote its line of 3D TVs and Blu-rays players.

ESPN said it would introduce a 3D sports network this summer, going live with the 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer matches. It plans to air at least 85 events in 3D in its first year.

And Discovery Communications paired up with Sony and Imax to launch its own 3D network next year, with all the companies chipping in movies, TV shows and other programming.

Sony officially opened the doors last week to its new 3D Technology Center, a facility that will not only help Sony produce 3D movies and TV shows but also educate the rest of Hollywood on how to work with 3D technology.

It’s easy to say you have a 3D TV, but then what do you watch on it?” says Buzz Hays, senior VP of the center.

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