Sky has announced that it will launch the UK’s first 3D channel next year. The channel will offer a broad selection of the available 3D programming, which is expected to include movies, entertainment and sport.
The service will be broadcast across Sky’s existing HD infrastructure and be available via the current generation of Sky+HD set-top boxes. To watch 3D, customers will also require a new ‘3D Ready’ TV, which are expected to be on sale in the UK next year.
“3D is a genuinely ‘seeing is believing’ experience, making TV come to life as never before. Just like the launch of digital, Sky+ and HD, this is latest step in our commitment to innovating for customers,” said Brian Sullivan, Managing Director of Sky’s Customer Group.
Sky became the first TV company in Europe that has successfully broadcasted a live event in 3D TV. On 2nd April 2009 they broadcast a performance by Keane live from Abbey Road Studios via the company’s satellite network to a Sky+HD set-top box and domestic 3D Ready TV.
Sky has also confirmed the launch of a comprehensive ‘pull’ video-on-demand (VOD) service next year, to provide Sky+HD customers with additional choice and control to complement Sky+ and the current Sky Anytime ‘push’ VOD service. This new service will use the broadband capability of existing Sky+HD boxes.
The jump from 2D to 3D
TV has traditionally only been able to deliver a single image to a television screen. For all the innovation that we’ve seen in TV (including the move to colour, the migration to digital, and more recently, the launch of high definition services), all of these developments have only been able to work within the parameters of a single incoming TV feed – a 2D experience.
So even though HD delivers an intensity and richness which results in exceptional clarity and detail, it is still based on the same underlying picture delivery mechanism as previous TV formats.
3D TV is possible because of a series of major breakthroughs (principally in camera, post-production, encoding, set-top box and TV set technology) which means that domestic TVs are now capable of processing an image in a way that can deliver the depth information to the brain – much like the human eye – and hence add a further dimension to HD.
For the first time, two images can now be merged and played out simultaneously on the same domestic TV display. Polarising glasses are currently used to help direct the correct left or right full colour on-screen image to the corresponding eye. The brain then processes each feed to create a single image, providing a level of depth and focus which means that the content is able to move to and from the foreground and therefore becomes three-dimensional.