ANGA Cable2010: Astra Launches 3D Demo Channel

This week, SES Astra opened a new 3D demo channel to free access on the eve of ANGA Cable, (May 4-6), the international trade show in Cologne, Germany.

As of May 4, Astra's 3D demo platform is now available free-to-air (via orbit position 23.5 degrees East). Initially, it will be marketed for retailers and installers for 3D demo purposes — just as early 3D models from a handful of set makers are beginning to reach store shelves.

Astra said its channel's looped content will feature 3D music, entertainment and sports fare for demo purposes.

Astra said this week's launch makes it the first bona fide fulltime 3D channel in Europe, where it plans to market its DBS technology as offering a superior 3D experience over its future cable and (presumably) terrestrial DTV competitors.

Astra has teamed up for demo purposes with Samsung and other 3D proponents. Live 3DTV viewing already has become available at a few hundred pubs (mostly soccer matches from BSkyB) and other popular venues in the U.K. and Ireland.

SES Astra's current satellite fleet comprises 15 satellites, serving about 125 million households.

Canal+ in France plans to roll out its first 3D channel in December.