Pipped to the 3D post following Virgin Media’s surprise launch of a 3D movies on-demand service yesterday, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is understandably keen to remind the public that its Sky 3D Channel – scheduled to be fully launched in less than two days’ time on Friday the 1st of October – is still top dog when it comes to the amount of 3D content available. Sky has unveiled the provisional line-up of 3D programmes that will grace its 3D channel over the next few months, which includes 3D sporting events, 3D movies, and 3D art and documentaries.
The Sky 3D channel will kick off on Friday with a live broadcast of the prestigious Ryder Cup 2010 golf tournament between Europe and USA in stunning 3D, with in-depth coverage continuing over the weekend from Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.
Looking ahead, 3D football is on the agenda, starting with the first international football fixture to receive 3D coverage for the home setting when Scotland host current World Cup holders Spain at the Hampden Park national stadium in a key Euro 2012 qualifying match on Tuesday the 12th of October. A number of exciting Barclays Premier League matches will be broadcast in 3D too, including Everton vs. Liverpool on the 17th of October, Manchester City vs. Arsenal on the 24th of October, and Liverpool vs. Chelsea on the 7th of November.
The month of November will also see Sky 3D air the WBA (World Boxing Association) world heavyweight title bout between reigning champion David Hayes and former Olympic gold medallist Audrey Harrison, and the Rugby Union’s Autumn Internationals at Twickenham… both a world’s first for home 3D.
Eligible subscribers will be able to watch Ice Age: Dawn of The Dinosaurs on the Sky 3D channel over the launch weekend. Other 3D titles to be shown on Sky 3D over the coming months are Cloudy with A Chance Of Meatballs, Coraline, Monsters vs Aliens, My Bloody Valentine, Fly Me To The Moon, Bolt and Alice In Wonderland. Some 3D films are only available on a pay-per-view basis, such as StreetDance 3D, Garfield’s Pet Force 3D, A Christmas Carol 3D and Step Up 3D (which is strikingly similar to the line-up on Virgin Media’s “3D Movies On Demand” service).
In January next year, Sky 3D has obtained the exclusive right to broadcast all three Toy Story films in 3D, although the third and most recent film in the series – Toy Story 3 – will only be available through pay-per-view.
3D Art and Documentaries
While Sky and other industry experts regard 3D as event-based display technology most suitable for live sports and movies, the Sky 3D channel will feature some art and documentary programmes in 3D, among which the most eagerly awaited should be Flying Monsters 3D, a prehistoric documentary written and presented by Sir David Attenborough.
The Sky 3D channel will go live on Friday at no additional charge to Sky HD+ subscribers who are on the maximum all-inclusive package (i.e. Sky World with HD pack), and can be enjoyed on all current “active” and “passive” 3D TVs manufactured by LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.
One thing’s for sure: Sky may have lost the “3D launch” battle to Virgin Media, but it is fully intent on winning the “3D content” war.