Viewing Of Sky 3D Channel Boosted By Higher-Than-Expected 3DTV Sales

Jonathan Sutton

A relative dearth of 3D content has often been blamed for sluggish 3D TV sales, but it appears that a pickup in the latter has a positive effect on the development of the former too. According to a Sky executive, the number of subscribers to the company’s 3D channel has gone up, as sales of 3D-ready HDTV displays in the United Kingdom exceeded expectations in 2010.

Chris Johns, chief broadcast engineer at BSkyB, was a guest speaker at the DTG 3D Technology Seminar held in London yesterday. At the event, he revealed that 140,000 3D screens were sold in Britain by the end of last year, doubling the initial forecast of 70,000 units. Coupled with the satellite TV broadcaster’s decision to provide its dedicated Sky 3D channel to customers who subscribe to its top-tier “Sky+HD With Sky World” package at no extra fee, the increased penetration of 3D display hardware (including those installed in pubs across the UK) has led to Sky’s 3D content being enjoyed by more people than ever.

The satellite broadcaster is not planning to let up on the 3D content production front however. To help directors and producers make a foray into the creation of 3D material, Sky has published a list of general rules on filming in 3D. Never one to shy away from acquiring movie rights from Hollywood film studios or commissioning content from independent producers, the company has screened a number of mouthwatering 3-dimensional programmes on its Sky 3D channel, such as Avatar, Toy Story 3 and Flying Monsters.

Of course, Sky itself is working hard on in-house production of 3D content too. Each week, the broadcaster has shot and shown two to three live sports events in their extra-dimensional glory, including at least one Barclays Premier League football match. If its past record in popularising HD is anything to go by, Sky’s ongoing investments in 3D content provision can only be good news for the sector as a whole.