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Discovery Teams with Sony, IMAX for 3D Channel

Three major media conglomerates announced this week that they plan to collaborate on developing the first 24/7 3D network in the United States.

The joint venture between Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX is expected to launch sometime in 2011, according to company executives. Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday said that they will begin discussions with distributors immediately and that the new service won't require significantly more bandwidth than existing HD services, according to Multichannel News. Each company will have an equal 33 percent stake in the new as yet unnamed channel, which will feature content geared towards 3D, including natural history, space, adventure, science and technology, film and children's programming from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMAX and other third party providers.

Discovery will provide network services, including affiliate sales and technical support, as well as 3D rights to the network's content. Sony will provide advertising/sponsorship sales support, as well as licensing to its own content, and IMAX will also provide licensing as well as promotion through its owned and operated movie theaters, along with a suite of proprietary and patented image enhancement and 3D technologies.

"By partnering with Sony and IMAX on 3D, Discovery will lead the way in revolutionizing the next-generation home viewing experience in the U.S. and around the world," said Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav. "Today's announcement is the next step in fulfilling Discovery's mission of providing groundbreaking content for our affiliate partners and enlightening viewers with the most immersive and realistic viewing experience available anywhere."

Discovery Founder and Chairman John Hendricks estimated that there are about 5 million "early adopters" of 3DTV in the home and that an additional 20 million consumers could adopt the technology over the next 24-36 months.