Just what are the prospects for 3D TV services in Central and Eastern Europe?
The industry focus at present is very much on the format, not only in CEE but Europe as a whole. Indeed, demonstrations have taken place in a number of countries and Sky 3D, the first channel offering 3D content, is due to launch next month in the UK and Ireland.
For 3D is to take off, there will have to be sufficient content available to broadcasters and – just as importantly – affordable receivers in the shops. There is certainly already growing enthusiasm for 3D in CEE: just this week UPC and Telefónica O2 in the Czech Republic (and by implication the companies’ other operations in Europe) have indicated that they are ready to start broadcasting in 3D.
What is more, 3D sets are due to start appearing in Czech shops this week. As recently as January, such a development was expected to be 2-3 years away.
Meanwhile in Poland, the alternative carrier Dialog is undertaking a 3D trial and Cyfra+ has said it will have a 3D strategy in place by the end of the year. Given how quickly things are currently moving, this date could well be brought forward.
Poland, interestingly enough, is also about to become the leading producer of 3D TV sets in Europe. Earlier this year it was announced that LG would begin production in a factory near Wroclaw next month. Its output is expected to account for 80% of 3D TV sets sold on the continent this year.
Meanwhile in Russia, the DTH platform Platforma HD is understood to be involved in a 3D project with Samsung and General Satellite.
Coverage of major sporting events such as the World Cup in South Africa, now less than three months away, is likely to give a big boost to 3D.