In 3D news from Spain, a free to view 3D demo channel has been launched by Spanish operator Digital+. The new channel, Canal+ 3D Demo, is designed to allow retailers to showcase 3D content on the shop floor, and will allow viewers to get a taste of 3D content before signing up to paid-for 3D TV channels. It is hoped this will boost sales of 3D TVs in Spain and boost demand for Digital+’s paid-for 3D content.
The channel will be available across Europe by pointing a satellite dish attached to a compatible HD decoder and 3D TV 23.5º to the East. Early indications are that Canal+ 3D Demo will show content such as clips from films and concerts and will likely resemble the loops of 3D content previously provided to retailers by manufactures of 3D TVs.
Canal+ 3D Demo is broadcast in the side-by side standard meaning consumers will be able to use a current HD set-top-box for reception of the 3D signal.
Jim Bottoms, a managing director at Futursource consulting and upcoming speaker at the 3D TV Masters Conference has said this is “an important step in the success of 3D that will help both retailers and consumers.”
He continued: “Until now the amount of free-to-air 3D content available to consumers at home has been limited and so any additional content that they can access must be seen as a positive step. Digital+ is obviously hoping that consumers will like what they see and sign up for its subscription services. Meanwhile retailers will have access to another source of demonstration material and be able to point to Digital+ as a mark of broadcaster commitment to 3D, and highlight the continuing roll out of new and extended 3D services. The trend mirrors what happened in High Definition where demo channels were launched initially and as enabled TV ownership expanded and content availability increased, demo services rolled into full blown HD channels.”
He also notes that: “Retailers will be able to point to the channel as a mark of broadcaster commitment to 3D and highlight the continuing roll out of new and extended 3D services.”
In April last year Canal+ became the first Spanish broadcaster to offer a 3D channel and have been broadcasting 3D for the Spanish market since then, with exclusive events in sport and culture.
The new service brings the total number of 3D channels (including video on demand from the likes of BT and Virgin Media) to 30 and is the second free-to-view 3D demo channel to be carried by Digital+’s technical provider SES ASTRA.
SES ASTRA, the operator of orbital broadcast satellites over Europe and Africa and the wholesale carrier of many European and African satellite television and radio services can boast clients such as BSkyB, ITV, BBC, MTV, Discovery and Bloomberg, among others.
Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA, said: "We are very proud that Digital+ has launched its 3D demo channel on ASTRA. As industry partner and technical service provider, we seek bringing innovations such as 3D forward. The fact that the leading Spanish pay-TV operator has chosen SES ASTRA demonstrates the confidence Europe's broadcasters have in our technical expertise and know-how. In view of the fast ramp up of 3D channels together with accelerating 3D TV screen sales, we are confident that 3D will soon establish itself as a premium layer of television."
The news brings the total 3D channels broadcast by SES Astra to eight in Europe including BSkyB's 3D channel Sky 3D.
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