More and more big-budget actions films are showing up in 3D versions and it was inevitable that the third dimension would make its way to the small screen. Still in its infancy, however, it’s come a long way, but still has a ways to go before it becomes standard fare among consumers and television providers alike.
Here’s a look at what’s available in the world of 3D television if, and only if, the required components (3D TV, 3D Blu-ray player, 3D glasses) are already in place.
Both DISH Network and DIRECTV have 3D service offerings, but they’re fairly skinny at the moment. Much of this has to do with the fact that 3D television is still relatively new (introduced in 2010). This means television manufacturers are still figuring out the industry’s standards and understanding the needs and desires of the consumers who will eventually buy their products. 3D television also requires special 3D compatible receivers.
In an effort to truly promote 3D television, and avoid appearing like a futureless gimmick, both companies are committed to delivering only the best in 3D programming. However, this dedication to quality content limits their offered programming because the amount available is in short supply.
At present, DISH Network offers 3D movies, which can be found on only channels 1 and 501 (comment if you know otherwise). Here, you’ll find top rated Hollywood blockbuster movies that have flourished in the third dimension. DISH also offers a variety of 3D compatible receivers including their new Hopper Whole Home DVR.
In addition to offering great 3D cinema, DIRECTV also includes over 100 sporting events in high definition 3D on ESPN 3D. As technology improves, DIRECTV is committed to delivering more and more 3D sports content.
Both DISH and DIRECTV require a modest monthly service fee for 3D programming, but are working with major studios and television production companies to continually up the ante in the world of 3D television programming options.
Like their satellite competitors, cable providers are just starting their foray into three-dimensional offerings. The available programming options are still in short supply of 3D content, but this has more to do with a lack of 3D production, rather than the cable television industry’s inability to deliver the goods.
Many content providers made big plans in 2010 to begin creating and rolling out 3D content, but it remains a challenge for producers. Nonetheless, cable television companies offer what’s available and will continue to do so as additional 3D content becomes available.
3D Channels by Cable Television Provider
At present, ESPN 3D is carried by DIRECTV, Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS.
N3D, Cinema 3D, 3Net
These channels are exclusively offered by DirecTV and include films and original content.
This is the 3D version of The Madison Square Garden Network, and primarily broadcasts sporting events from New York City. It is exclusively offered by Cablevision.
This service is offered exclusively to Comcast’s Xfinity Digital Cable subscribers. Catch movies, sporting events, films, and documentaries from around the world.
Other Providers of 3D Services
Companies that compete directly with satellite and cable television are also entering into the 3D space. These services include Netflix, Blockbuster, and Hulu – each streams 3D content to your television via an internet connection.
Netflix currently rents 3D Blu-ray discs and is looking into their capabilities for streaming 3D content. At the time of this post there are no announced plans for 3D streaming from Netflix.
Blockbuster video finds itself in the same boat as Netflix. It presently offers 3D Blu-ray discs for rent, and is working towards streaming content in the future.
Hulu currently streams 3D movies and television content, as well as movie trailers in 3D. Its content is comprised of previously aired television programs.
3D television is still in its infancy (maybe around the terrible-twos stage), which means there isn’t a ton of content available today. Expect the industry to respond, however, as more and more people demand this type of enhanced content, fueled in part by a film industry that has completely embraced the technologies and techniques.
Edwin is a writer and content strategist for USDish. He specializes in current and emerging entertainment technologies likes 3D TV.