EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.: DirecTV and ESPN announced their engagement this week for carriage of the sports network’s planned 3D channel. The news was expected, given both announced June launches of 3D programming at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Details of the carriage arrangement were not disclosed, though presumably had to be worked out before an official announcement could be made.
DirecTV teamed up with Panasonic for the CES announcement of three new 3D channels on satellite provider’s line-up, to launch in June. Panasonic agreed to sponsor those channels for the first year. One will be the ESPN 3D feed, the others, a video-on-demand and a pay-per-view channel. DirecTV said ESPN 3D would be free to HD subscribers with an ESPN tier. Hi-def subs will receive a free software upgrade to their satellite set-tops to decode the 3D content, which will require a 3D set with shutter glasses.
DirecTV said at the time it was working with several networks and producers to develop 3D content, including CBS, AEG, Fox Sports, HDNet, NBCU, Turner MTV and Golden Boy Productions. ESPN wasn’t mentioned, though it and Discovery bowed 3D channel plans. (See “DirecTV and Panasonic Team Up on 3DTV,” and “ESPN and Discovery Unveil 3D Channel Plans”)
Discovery, partnering with Sony and IMAX, said it would launch a full-time 3D network some time next year.
ESPN announced with a June 11 launch date for its 3D channel, to accommodate the FIFA World Cup soccer matches. The network said it would do 85 live sporting events in 3D during the first year, including the X Games, the 2010 college football ACC Championship, the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, college basketball and NBA games in 2011.
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