3Net to Launch Sunday on DirecTV

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.: The long-awaited 3D channel from Sony, Discovery and IMAX is about to debut. The trio scored carriage on DirecTV, which will launch 3Net this Sunday. The direct broadcast satellite TV provider is the first one to pick up the channel. It will go live at 8 p.m. ET on Ch. 107, starting with new original programming. The first telecast, “China Revealed,” launches an hour-long series exploring the vast Asian nation.

The three companies in cahoots on 3Net announced plans to develop the channel a year ago. Several programming announcements have since been made, exemplifying the intent for 3Net to have the largest library of native 3D content of any 24/7 channel, and the largest “in the world by the end of 2011.” Other debutantes on launch night will include “Into the Deep,” at 9 p.m., a special that took the IMAX 3D camera underwater for the first time. At 10 p.m., “Forgotten Planet” will explore the “strangest places on Earth,” not counting Washington, D.C.

The network will offer what Sony, Discovery and IMAS say is “an unprecedented rollout of original 3D series and program debuts every night at 9 p.m. ET.” The dearth of 3D content has been considered a hindrance to the wider adoption of 3DTV.

Fewer than 700,000 sets had shipped in the United States by last fall. Only around 140,000 3DTV sets have sold in the United Kingdom, where BSkyB estimates that half subscribe to its 3D service. Nielsen polled 27,000 folks around the world late last year and found that 59 percent of responding North Americans had no plans to buy a 3DTV set--the lowest among five regions.

“No one has taken the really powerful TV dramas and made them with the eye toward 3D,” CBS’s Dave Poltrack said of the survey. “I think once that happens, you’re going to see regular television programming capturing [and] being enhanced by 3D, and people are going to watch special episodes of their favorite programs in 3D.”

Sony’s Rob Wiesenthal concurred. “The broad availability of high-quality, native 3D content is a critical step towards consumers fully embracing 3D,” he said.

DirecTV, which has nearly 19 million subscribers, became the first TV provider to launch 24/7 stereoscopic programming last June with ESPN 3D. It launched its own 3D channels--n3D, Cinema 3D and n3D On Demand--last July 1. It has the largest 3D line-up of any TV carrier.

-- Deborah D. McAdams

See. . .
February 2, 2011:70,000 Signed Up for Sky 3D Since Oct. 1
At launch, Sky said it expected to have between 50,000 and 200,000 subscribers by mid-2011.

January 6, 2011:3D Network and Gear Line Define Sony’s CES Oeuvre
The company kicked off the Las Vegas extravaganza by naming its joint-venture 3DTV network and rolling out a slew of 3D-capable gear.

December 22, 2010:North Americans Most Blasé About 3DTV
The rest of the world, as measured by Nielsen, cares about 3DTV more than North Americans do.

December 14, 2010:3D Line-up Expanding for Discovery, Sony and IMAX
Four new series were announced.

December 15, 2010:U.K. Retailer Reports Spike in 3DTV Sales” Dixons, the parent company of several of the United Kingdom’s largest consumer electronics retail stores, has reported a surge in sales of 3D-capabe TV sets.

November 18, 2010:DirecTV Cooks in 3D
DirecTV and Scripps Networks are teaming up to produce what’s likely the first cooking show produced in full dual-image 3D. 

November 4, 2010:
ESPN Finds 3D Increases Viewer Engagement”
People remember TV ads better in 3D than in 2D. 

November 4, 2010:U.S. 3DTV Shipments Reach 655,000 Through September”
A total of 655,000 3DTV sets shipped in the United States through September.

October 18, 2010:3D Slate Bowed by Sony, Discovery and IMAX
“Attack of the Giant Jellyfish” is a one-hour premiere exploring “the myths and realities behind the global explosion of deadly jellyfish,

September 13, 2010:Executives Appointed for Joint Venture 3D Channel
Two executives have been tapped to help spearhead the 3D joint venture between Sony, Discovery Communications and IMAX. 

July 1, 2010:DirecTV and Panasonic Launch 3D Channels
Today’s launch of the 3D entertainment channel, n3D, marks the first 24/7 network available in the format. 

June 22, 2010:NASCAR Goes 3D July 3
NASCAR becomes the latest sporting enterprise to produce an event in 3D. 

June 17, 2010: “3DTV Set Prices Are Falling Fast
Prices for 3DTV sets are plummeting just four months after hitting the U.S. retail market.

May 19, 2010: “Panasonic Adds Video Calls and 3D Discs to TV Deals
Panasonic is sweetening its TV deals with functionality and tchotchkes.

March 3, 2010: “3DTVs Hit the Market
Samsung beat the rest when it started offering the UN46C7000 and the UN55C7000 LED edge-lit, 1080p sets at online retailer Amazon.