DirecTV Bows Trio Of 3D Services

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DirecTV bowed its trio of 3D channels today, with a pair of linear services and on-demand platform in the advanced format.

The DBS provider's flagship 3D channel, n3D, sponsored by TV set-maker Panasonic, is now available at no additional cost to DirecTV HD customers on channel 103. DirecTV HD subscribers, who received a software update to their set-tops last month to support 3D, can watch the 3D channel with a 3D-compatible TV set and accessory glasses.

n3D will mix event and original fare. Some of the events slated to air this month on the network: TNT's broadcast of the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 on July 3; the local telecasts of the New York Yankees-Seattle Mariners series on July 10-11 that will are being produced by DirecTV with regional sports channels, YES Network and FSN Northwest; and DirecTV's exclusive, national 3D broadcast of the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, which is being produced by Fox Sports.

n3D's premiere month lineup will also showcase Guitar Center Sessions with artists Peter Gabriel and Jane's Addiction, plus such documentary fare as Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia, Wild Safari: A South African Adventure and N Wave Picture's S.O.S Planet, African Adventure: Safari in the Okavango and Encounter in the Third Dimension.

For its part, the movie-centric DirecTV Cinema in 3D, on channel 104, is presenting IMAX titles Deep Sea 3D and Under the Sea 3D. There is also "n3D On Demand" on channel 105, which is currently delivering replays of ESPN's 3D coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches.

DirecTV launched ESPN 3D on channel 106 on June 11, the day the futbol tourney kicked off. Sony and ESPN are presenting 25 World Cup matches from South Africa in the enhanced format.

A DirecTV spokeswoman said the DBS leader is committed to adding acquired and original 3D fare for the three services.

"The ability to bring high-quality 3D programming into the home is a huge advancement in the evolution of television," said Derek Chang, executive vice president of content strategy and development for DirecTV, in a statement. "Our innovative technology has allowed us to lead the industry in HD and we are continuing on that same path by establishing ourselves as the premier destination for the best 3D viewing experience available. We are proud to be partnering with Panasonic and are excited to deliver this new dimension of television to millions of DirecTV HD customers across the country."

Noted Joseph Taylor, chairman and CEO, Panasonic Corp. of North America: "This is a major milestone in the young history of 3D home entertainment and Panasonic is very proud to work with DirecTV to bring consumers this new TV channel dedicated exclusively to 3D programming. We have launched our Viera 3D TVs and Blu-ray 3D player, and they have been very well received by consumers, but we know the key to the success of 3D for the home is the availability of content. The arrival of n3D powered by Panasonic underscores the fact that consumers will have access to a rapidly growing range of 3D TV programming including live major sports and entertainment events, as well as movies on 3D Blu-ray Disc in 2010."

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