3-D is coming to your TV set soon

Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX today announced a joint venture to create first 24/7 dedicated 3-D television network in the United States.

It will be launched in the United States, with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3-D televisions and giving the network long-term leadership in the 3-D home marketplace. In the future, the companies also will explore international distribution opportunities in selected markets.

The new 3-D network will feature high-quality premium content, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology, motion pictures and children's programming from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMAX and other third-party providers.

Discovery will provide network services, including affiliate sales and technical support functions, as well as 3-D television rights to Discovery content and cross-promotion across its portfolio of 13 U.S. television networks. Sony will provide advertising/sponsorship sales support, and will seek to license television rights to current and future 3-D feature films, music-related 3-D content and game-related 3-D content, while providing cross-promotion at retail stores. IMAX also will license television rights to future 3-D films, promotion through its owned-and-operated movie theaters across the United States, and a suite of proprietary and patented image enhancement and 3D technologies.

In addition to this announcement, today ESPN said it plans to unveil a 3-D network.

ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning June 11 with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match, featuring South Africa versus Mexico, ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer announced.

Other events to be produced in 3-D include the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, college basketball and football contests, up to 25 World Cup matches and the Summer X Games. Additional events will be announced at a later date.

“ESPN's commitment to 3-D is a win for fans and our business partners,” Bodenheimer said. “ESPN 3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan's viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing.”

ESPN has been testing ESPN 3D for more than two years, even showing a USC-Ohio State college football game in select theaters and to 6000 fans at the Galen Center on USC's campus.

“This is a turning point for 3-D,” Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro told USA Today.