DirecTV and Panasonic Launch 3D Channels

NEW YORK: DirecTV launched all three of its planned 3D channels today in partnership with Panasonic, the companies said in a joint announcement. Today’s launch of the 3D entertainment channel, n3D, marks the first 24/7 network available in the format. DirecTV is referring to the channel as “n3D powered by Panasonic,” given the electronics maker is the sole sponsor of the satellite operator’s 3D offerings.

n3D is up on Ch. 103 on DirecTV’s systems. In addition to shows contributed by other networks and production houses, DirecTV contracted some original programming. July’s slate includes original 3D “Guitar Center Sessions” featuring Peter Gabriel and Jane’s Addiction, “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia,” “Wild Safari: A South African Adventure” and N Wave Picture’s “S.O.S Planet, ” “African Adventure: Safari in the Okavango” and “Encounter in the Third Dimension.”

n3D will also offer special events, including this weekend’s NASCAR Coke Zero 400, the local broadcast of the Yankees-Mariners series July 10-11 from Seattle’s Safeco Field, and DirecTV’s exclusive, national broadcast of the Fox Sports 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 3D on July 13.

DirecTV said it also launched its movie channel, DirecTV Cinema 3D, on Ch. 104. Fare includes IMAX titles like “Deep Sea 3D” and “Under the Sea 3D.” The third channel of the 3D suite is an on-demand offering at Ch. 105. Dubbed “n3D On Demand,” it’s currently offering replays of ESPN’s 3D 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage. The three new 3D channels join ESPN 3D, launched at Ch. 106 June 11.

Panasonic’s dog in the race is a full-bore entry into making 3DTV equipment, from camcorder technology to Blu-ray authoring, Blu-ray players and a 3D line of Viera plasma TVs. Panasonic hit the U.S. market with 3DTV home theater systems in mid-March, and the 3D Vieras around the end of May.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

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June 30, 2010:DirecTV Prepares to Launch n3D July 1
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.: DirecTV plans to launch its own 24/7 3D channel tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. That’s according to Todd Spangler of Multichannel News.He says the direct broadcast satellite provider is mum on the content line-up, though several contributors were named when DirecTV announced it’s 3D initiative in January. CBS, AEG, Fox Sports, HDNet, NBCU, Turner MTV and Golden Boy Productions were on the list. ESPN 3D was later added and hit screens two weeks ago with the opening match of the 2010 World Cup.

The new channel going live tomorrow, n3D, would be the world’s first 24/7, non-anaglyph stereoscopic 3DTV network to launch. It’s being sponsored by Panasonic and will feature “3D sports, music, nature, arts and more” on Ch. 103, according to DirecTV. Additional pay-per-view and video-on-demand channels were planned for a June launch. still has DirecTV Cinema, a pay-per-view movie channel at Ch. 104; and DirecTV on Demand, Ch. 105, listed for a June launch.

n3D will be available to DirecTV subscribers who have HD service and newer set-top boxes, Spangler said. They’ll also have to have 3D-capable TV sets. DirecTV’s HD tier is an additional $10 a month.

ESPN 3D still has a number of 2010 World Cup games to go, after which it will carry the X Games, the 2010 college football ACC Championship and some 70 or so more live sporting events. (The original goal was 85, but ESPN executives have recently said they intend to do 100 total live events in 3D this year.)

DirecTV will be among multichannel video providers carrying the first-ever Major League Baseball games in 3D. On July 10 and 11, the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners will face off at Seattle’s Safeco Field (left) and be telecast live in 3D on YES’s home turf.

DirecTV subscribers who get YES in New York, Connecticut, north and central New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania will have access to the feed, as will subs who get FSN Northwest in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and parts of Montana and Idaho.

DirecTV and Panasonic are sponsoring the 3D feed of the game. Comcast, Cox and Verizon’s FiOS TV will also carry it. The Saturday, July 10 game telecast will begin at 10 p.m., and the Sunday, July 11 game telecast will start at 4 p.m., both Eastern. YES and FSN Northwest will both also produce their traditional 2D high-definition telecasts of both games.
-- Deborah D. McAdams
(Image of Safeco Field by Rickie22)