Dish Network is throwing its hat into the 3D ring with the launch of a handful of on-demand movies in the format.
Starting this month, Dish will offer access to 3D movies including Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Last Airbender, A Christmas Carol and Step Up 3D. Additional titles to come in January include Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After and Saw: The Final Chapter.
Dish follows satellite rival DirecTV, which was first to jump into 3D earlier this year in hopes of establishing a lead in the new format. DirecTV offers n3D, its own 24-hour channel sponsored by Panasonic, as well as the event-based ESPN 3D channel and 3D movies. Other providers that offer 3D VOD include Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse TV.
Dish currently isn't offering ESPN 3D, which also is carried by Comcast, TWC and AT&T. Verizon is to add ESPN 3D to its lineup in 2011.
Still, it's early days for 3DTV, and sales of 3D sets to date have been a big disappointment for manufacturers and retailers.
Dish's 3D movies -- which it says will be available in up to 1080p quality -- range in price from $5.99 to $7.99. To watch the movies in 3D, customers must have a Dish ViP 922 HD DVR and a 3D television set with compatible glasses.
To promote its 3D debut, Dish will host a "Home for the Holidays Sweepstakes" through Dec. 31. Each time a subscribers rents a qualifying movie or event from Dish Cinema, they are automatically entered into a drawing to win prizes including a Sony 46-inch LED 3DTV, Sony portable satellite navigation systems, Sony Webbie HD Cameras and Fox Family Prize Packs.
"Dish Network is giving customers the ability to experience the power of 3D from home with a variety of popular movies available on Dish Cinema," Dish senior vice president of programming Dave Shull said in a statement. "Our customers expect engaging video experiences, and we look forward to bringing them additional 3D titles as we expand our Dish Cinema platform."
The movies can be ordered through the Dish Cinema interface by pressing "Menu" then "Dish On Demand," or by tuning to channel 1 or 501. The company provides more information at www.dish.com/3D.