Breaking News: Maybe you should have kept those swanky 3D glasses after seeing Avatar? We learned early this morning that ESPN is launching history’s first three dimensional TV channel. The Disney owned network will feature at least 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning 11 June 2010 with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match.
Imagine watching double front bicycle flips in 3D during freestyle motorcross on the Summer X Games or watching a multi-dimensional, multi-angle replay during the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, all events slated for broadcast.
ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer explains, “ESPN 3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan’s viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing.” Viewers must have a 3D-ready TV set, subscribe to a possible new cable pay tier, and may need a new set-top box. And yes, viewers also must wear 3D glasses.
Additionally, Rupert Murdoch’s broadcaster, BSkyB, has also announced plans to launch Europe’s first 3D channel. DirecTV also has aims to launch a 3D HD channel this year. And US juggernaut Discovery Communications will make an official announcement later today regarding its a partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and IMAX.
What this could mean for the broadcast design, visual effects & advertising industry is still unclear (though we did get a glimpse of a few 3D Idents via Channel 4 recently). What is for certain, I’m sure our industry creatives will be able to bring some 3D magic to living room couches around the globe.