And not a virtual reality, either. ESPN, a station owned by the Walt Disney Company, announced today that it will start broadcasting live sporting events in 3D on June 11. The first event to air on ESPN 3D will be the first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (South Africa versus Mexico), and the channel will broadcast no less than 85 3D sporting events a year. Also planned to air on ESPN 3D will be the “2011 BCS National Championship Game, college basketball and football contests, up to 25 World Cup matches, and the Summer X Games.” When there are no sporting events to broadcast, the channel will go dark.
Add to this the fact that a Sony, Imax, and Discovery announced a joint venture to create the first full-time 3D cable channel. The three companies hope to have this channel live by the end of the year. While the channel will feature mostly programming from Discovery and Imax, they hope to “license TV rights to general entertainment 3D movies, music videos, and game-related content.”
So, it sounds like 3D TV is on its way. If this sounds like something you’ll be interested in, I suggest you count that money you have stored in your mattress. You’ll need it to buy the 3D capable television set required to view the 3D programming that Disney and others plan to deliver. These new sets aren’t cheap, and your current television isn’t built to display this type of 3D content.
In one of my earliest posts on Disney Digital 3D, I said that I doubted 3D would have much staying power. While newer 3D technologies are impressive (far better than the 3D we’ve been used to in the past), I still don’t think 3D is what consumers are craving. 3D has always seemed like a fad technology, fading out then coming on strong years later only to fade out again. I feel doubly strong about this when it comes to 3D.
But the important thing here is that we have a new technology set to enter the home, and Disney is one of the companies interested in taking charge. I would say from a marketing point of view, ESPN is a great choice to go 3D. There are plenty of avid sports fans that would love an added sense of realism and depth to games.
What do you think of 3D TV? Would you spend the extra money for the technology, or is this something to let pass by? As always, leave a comment below!