Guardian: BSkyB is to launch Europe’s first 3D TV channel offering movies, entertainment and sports programming in the UK next year.
The satellite broadcaster, which recently said that 3D TV could be a reality within several years, has stepped up its roll-out programme after a major boost in the numbers subscribers to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, which are capable of broadcasting 3D services.
BSkyB, which has doubled the number of customers with Sky+ HD boxes in the last year to 1.31m, said that it will launch a channel offering 3D movies, entertainment and sport.
However, to watch 3D programming customers will also require a new “3D ready” TV set, which are expected to be on sale in the UK next year, and special glasses.
At a recent demonstration BSkyB used a Hyundai TV which retails at £2,500, although the broadcaster hopes that ultimately 3D TV sets will not cost much more than a standard HD plasma screen.
BSkyB also confirmed today that it will launch a “pull” video-on-demand service using the broadband capability in Sky+ HD boxes.
Until now Sky has only been able to offer what is termed “push” VoD services – such as the Sky Anytime service – and the Sky+ personal video recorder. The new “pull” service aims to broaden consumer choice by allowing programmes to be watched on-demand in the way other services, such as on cable operator Virgin Media’s TV plartform, offer extensive libraries of shows.
“3D is a genuinely ‘seeing is believing’ experience [and] next year we will make our HD boxes work even harder for customers by launching Europe’s first 3D TV channel,” said Brian Sullivan, the managing director of Sky’s customer group.
“[We are also] introducing a comprehensive video-on-demand service to complement Sky+ and the current Sky Anytime service.”