Virgin Media Launches 3DTV

Cable competitor beats BSkyB by three days
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HOOK, ENGLAND: Virgin Media has beat BSkyB to the 3DTV punch in the United Kingdom, according to several reports. The cable TV provider launched 3D service today, just three days ahead of Sky’s previously announced residential launch.

Virgin went live with 3D Movies on Demand with several films in the format. The channel is described by the Guardian as more of a pay-per-view channel, with the first movie, “StreetDance 3D,” available for 24 hours at £5.99.

BSkyB was the first TV provider in Europe to experiment and launch limited distribution of 3DTV. The satellite service transmitted live 3DTV across its HD distribution infrastructure in April, 2009. One year later, Sky’s 3D service was launched in around 1,000 pubs across the United Kingdom in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. The service is set to become available to residential subscribers Friday.

Virgin Media has around 1.2 million subscribers with the set-tops boxes necessary to transmit the 3D service. How many have 3D-capable TV sets is unknown.
-- Deborah D. McAdams