What are the prospects for 3D in Central and Eastern Europe?
While these are undoubtedly still early days, an extraordinary amount has already happened across the region. Canal+ set the ball rolling in Poland by undertaking a live football broadcast in 3D on May 15 and following it up by screening a movie in the format on the following day. Meanwhile in Estonia, STV, the country’s second largest cable operator, announced that it had launched a channel at the beginning of May offering viewers “sports, cultural and recreational programmes” in 3D.
Elsewhere, Russia has been showing a good deal of enthusiasm towards 3D, with the DTH platform NTV-Plus and cable operator Akado both starting to produce content and preparing to launch channels in the format. In the case of NTV-Plus, the company has also aired the Champions League final and will be showing the closing stages of the South Africa World Cup in 3D.
There is a view held by some in Russia that the country can make the leap straight from analogue to 3D TV if all the conditions (distribution, sufficient content etc) are right. While feasible – ASO is a still distant 2015 – this would certainly require a great deal of effort.
Other markets across the region are not being left behind. In the Czech Republic, for instance, the country’s leading cable operator UPC began to carry a 3D channel named HD+ early last month. It is produced by a local company named SAT Plus, which already has experience in 3D cinema and in supplying 3D technology to studios.
3D demos have meanwhile taken place in (amongst others) Hungary, and reception equipment has started to appear in the shops across the region.
The clear message is that with 3D, just as was the case with HD, CEE has more than managed to keep pace with the rest of Europe in the early stages. It will no doubt continue to do so as take-up of the technology grows.