Pay TV operator Foxtel today announced that it would launch what it claimed was Australia’s first 3D channel on 1 November, along with four new high definition channels.
The 3D channel will feature movies and documentaries, Foxtel said in a press release, as well as sports. Sport was the first big content push when 3D TVs were first released in Australia with the soccer World Cup and National Rugby League State Of Origin games simulcast earlier this year.
“We are thrilled to announce Australia’s first dedicated 3D channel, which will showcase a range of 3D programming,” said Kim Williams, Chief Executive and Managing Director of FOXTEL. “This channel will be a single destination for 3D content which will continue to evolve over time as we work with our channel partners to deliver our viewers a range of the best 3D programming across sport, general entertainment, factual and movie programming.”
The upcoming NRL and AFL grand finals will be broadcast in 3D, thanks to the Nine and Seven networks respectively. 3D video games are expected to be the next 3D content drive, just in time for the Christmas video game new release season. A slew of made-for-3D movie releases is also expected for early next year.
Sony, Samsung and Panasonic recently stated that the 3D TV uptake by Australian consumers had been successful and that retail outlets had trouble keeping up with demand.
“I’m hoping efforts like Foxtel’s will push the case for 3D content, because right now most of it is sport or crappy 3D conversions of movies, of which not even a handful are available,” said local 3D TV owner Daniel Hatadi.
“My main issue is that the broadcast world has chosen side-by-side as the format for 3D. You end up halving the resolution this way,” he said. “I understand them going down that path for sport but I’d like to see at least 1080i full frame 3D for movies. That’s a whole infrastructure that needs to come up to spec — so it’ll be years before that happens. Not really much anyone can do about that.”
“Still, Foxtel having a permanent channel should sell more 3D TVs, especially since the free to air 3D channel is dead (for now). And that’s a good thing for me,” said Hatadi.