Chris Johns, Chief Engineer at Sky, said Sky 3D viewers are increasing and that they are looking to diversify their 3D genres.
Chris Johns is main architect of Sky 3D and is also involved with Sky’s Ultra HD strategy. He was participating in the Future 3DTV panel at yesterday’s 3D Creative Summit, joined by Richard Mills from ONSIGHT, Roland Vlaicu from Dolby and Andy Quested from the BBC.
As might be expected, Johns said that, unlike the BBC’s experience, 3D audiences are rising: “3D is definitely not ramping back at sky. Subscriptions continue to increase. In April we are opening it wider so if you are now a movie subscriber you get to watch the 3D version and likewise with sports. This is another push to get up the viewing figures up.”
Sky will launch a £31.50/month basic-tier HD and 3D TV pack on April 1st called Entertainment Extra. Subscribers will be able to access non sports and movie 3D shows via Sky On Demand.
This marks the first time 3D content will be regularly available to those who do not subscribe to the top tier package.
Whilst being very focussed on high end of 3D, through their own production venture, Colossus Productions, many of the shows on Sky 3D have been reality and natural history based but Johns said more diversity can be expected: “We are looking at episodic and various TV game shows and the drama space. Watch this space in a few year’s time"
That is not to say natural history won’t form the backbone of Sky 3D’s output, with shows such as MICRO MONSTERS 3D and Pandas 3D currently in production.
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One of the recurring conclusions throughout several of panels during the first day of the summit was that 4K/Ultra HD technology is not a threat to 3D and Johns echoed that it could be what 3D needs: “If and when they [4K TVs] come out later this year, it could mean full resolution 3D so I don’t believe 3D is dead. I think it’s a revolution and we are the start of a curve.”
Back in 2011, at the 3D TV Masters, BAFTA, London Chris Johns said that eventually 3D will be the prime viewing choice in the home followed by HD with SD slowly losing ground. At the time he also said that Sky were talking to STB manufacturers and standards bodies to develop a solution for full HD 3D, and that there was a drive to deliver “higher quality 3D” over the next few years.
The 3D Creative Summit continues today.
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