Sky has announced its dedicated 3D TV channel, Sky 3D, will launch this April. A special preview will take place this Sunday, January 31, with a live broadcast of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United.
The game will be broadcast to nine pubs in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin that will be fitted with the first ‘3D Ready’ television displays to be deployed in the UK and Ireland.
It is planned to roll out the 3D channel to several hundred pubs from April, providing Sky with a showcase for its 3D service before the required displays from manufacturers including Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic become available. At this point the channel will be given its commercial launch with a live Premier League match available in 3D every week. Already technically compatible with the two million Sky+ HD households, Sky 3D will be made available at no extra cost to HD subscribers, already paying a monthly premium of £10.
“3D is without doubt one of the most talked-about developments in television for many years. Sky has always innovated to bring customers the best possible viewing experience, so we fully intend to take the lead in bringing the spectacle of 3D to the UK and Ireland,” commented Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch.
“2010 is the year for 3D TV,” added Gerry O’Sullivan, Sky’s Director of Strategic Product Development. “People have already embraced 3D cinema and because Sky’s 3D service uses the same kind of technology, we’re confident there will be demand for sport, movies, concerts and drama in 3D.”
Sky will produce both a high definition and a 3D edit of Sunday’s broadcast from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Eight specially engineered 3D camera rigs will house sixteen of Sky’s high definition cameras, to provide multi-angle stereoscopic coverage. A purpose-built 3D outside broadcast truck will enable live mixing between shots, slow motion replays and the inclusion of 3D graphics. A dedicated commentary team will also support the 3D transmission.
Last week, Sky’s chief engineer Chris Johns outlined some of the complexities of 3D filming to the DTG. In addition to football, cricket, rugby and tennis, Sky has also captured 3D opera, a Noel Edmonds-hosted game show, and a performance by the band Keane.