3DTV to Launch in U.K. Pubs

LONDON: BSkyB said today it’s new Sky 3D channel would go live in April in pubs across the U.K. Sky will preview the new 3D service Sunday, Jan. 31, in preparation for the launch. The Jan. 31 broadcast will feature the Arsenal taking on Manchester United. A total of nine pubs in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin, have been outfitted with 3DTV sets for the debut.

The event will be captured in 3D and “broadcast over the Sky platform to selected pubs around the U.K. and Ireland, with their customers becoming the first audiences anywhere in the world to experience live Premier League in 3D,” Sky said.

Sky Sports will produce two edits of the game from Emirates Stadium--one for its HD channel feed and another dedicated to 3D. The separate commentary team, production team and truck will be dedicated to the 3D broadcast. Eight specially engineered 3D camera rigs with 16 HD cameras will be employed for capture.

Hundreds more pubs will be included in the April roll-out. Sky plans on distributing weekly soccer games in 3D initially. Movies, documentaries and entertainment programming eventually will be added for the full roll-out to Sky’s HD subscribers “later this year,” the satellite provider said.

BSkyB started testing 3D distribution on its HD infrastructure last year, and successfully transmitted live content for the first time last April. The full launch was targeted for late last year, but no one yet had 3DTV sets. 3D-capable sets will come to market this year, including models from Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung.

Sky said its 3D channel works with its existing Sky+HD boxes. It will be free initially for those subscribing to Sky’s top TV and HD packages. -- Deborah D. McAdams

(SeeTVB’s 3DTV Timeline)