With Panasonic support, DIRECTV launches new 3-D channels

While ESPN has shown the world that it can be technically done with good results during the World Cup tournament, DIRECTV took a giant step forward, to deliver a multichannel (three channels actually) offering of 3-D content, including movies and sports programming.

The new channels — presented as side-by-side signals converged at the 3-D TV set, which requires viewers to wear special “active shutter” glasses — include n3D, a new Panasonic-sponsored channel offering subscribers exclusive, original 3-D programming from a number of top content providers. This includes shows from CBS, FOX Sports, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting System, which will be free to subscribers.

The other channels include pay-per-view (PPV) and on-demand movies. DIRECTV Cinema, the PPV channel, is offering IMAX titles including “Deep Sea 3-D” and “Under the Sea 3-D,” while n3D On Demand is running replays of ESPN 3-D's 2010 FIFA World Cup games. (DIRECTV, Comcast Cable, and AT&T U-verse broadband service helped launched ESPN's 3-D channel for the FIFA World Cup last month.)

The n3D channel will also air exclusive “Guitar Center Sessions” with Peter Gabriel and Jane's Addiction, as well as such 3-D-friendly content as “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia,” “Wild Safari: A South African Adventure and S.O.S Planet,” “African Adventure: Safari in the Okavango” and “Encounter in the Third Dimension.”

The channel will also broadcast the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 race, the local broadcast of the Yankees-Mariners series on July 10-11 and the national broadcast of FOX Sports 2010 MLB All-Star Game on July 13.

Panasonic's interest in 3-D TV extends beyond selling consumer TV sets. The company is also staking a claim in the documentary production market with its AG-3DA1 and AW-HE50H integrated PTZ “box-style” HD camera.