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Well how about that. We knew 3-D would be a big topic of discussion at CES this year, but with new 3-D capable HDTVs and new cable programming slated for release this year, it looks like 3-D could be the topic of the show. Consumer electronics […]

Well how about that. We knew 3-D would be a big topic of discussion at CES this year, but with new 3-D capable HDTVs and new cable programming slated for release this year, it looks like 3-D could be the topic of the show.

Consumer electronics manufacturers say 3-D is finally ready for prime time, and are making big bets on the technology over the next few years. Top CE companies Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics and now Vizio will all be showing off 3DTVs at CES, following previous product launches by Mitsubishi, Philips and Sharp. While 3-D display market is still nascent, research firm DisplaySearch forecasts that it will grow from 0.7 million units and $902 million in revenues in 2008 to 196 million units and $22 billion in revenues in 2018.

Last week we opined that the success of Avatar might help jump-start that growth in the home 3-D market, but it looks like big, blockbuster 3-D films will only be part of growing consumer interest in the technology. Sure, with over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, the movie has shown that viewers are interested in 3-D, but it looks like a little more regular cable programming could help grow consumer interest in the home as well.

This morning, ESPN and Discovery both announced plans to roll out 3-D cable networks, finally giving early adopters something to watch on those fancy (and expensive) new TVs. ESPN says it will launch its 3-D offering on June 11, just in time for the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match between South Africa and Mexico. ESPN expects to show more than 85 events in 3-D on the new cable network in the first year, including up to 25 FIFA World Cup matches, college basketball and college football games.

Discovery, meanwhile, announced a joint venture with Sony and IMAX to create the first round-the-clock 3-D cable network in the US. While the network won’t launch until 2011, it will include “high-quality premium content from genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology, motion pictures and children’s programming,” according to the press release. The network will have content from Discovery, Sony, and IMAX, of course, but will also include content from third parties.

Some have been skeptical about adoption of 3-D in the home, including GigaOm Pro’s Paul Sweeting, who believes the consumer electronics industry could be “putting the cart before the horse” by rolling out 3-D enabled TVs. But with some actual premium content from cable providers on tap, adoption of 3-D in the home might be ready to kick off in earnest.

  1. I won’t knock it until I see it, but something about 3D just doesn’t look quite right usually.

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  2. cool technology, I can’t wait to buy one

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  3. Why do I have a feeling 3D TVs will be available just in time for Avatar’s release on DVD. Is James Cameron behind this too?

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  4. [...] to home theater systems and camcorders. While it seems like 2010 may be the year we actually see 3-D in our homes, I’m not sold on it myself; I’m not sure I want to wear those glasses at [...]

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  5. [...] availability of 3DTV sets and 3D content (movies and new 3D stations launching this [...]

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  6. [...] for consumer electronics makers like Panasonic and Samsung could come from sports programming. ESPN has announced that it will start a 3D sports network by June — just in time for the World Cup — and [...]

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  7. [...] were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but despite the range of new products that will (SONN? [...]

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  8. [...] would have given it the bragging rights for the first 3-d sports event ever broadcast in the U.S. ESPN previously announced that it will start a 3-D network in time for the World Cup in June, and DirecTV also has some 3-D [...]

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  9. [...] So why the lack of interest for 3-D in the home? Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they didn’t see a need for 3-D TV, and 59 percent said they expected 3-D sets to be too expensive. More than 40 percent said they believed 3-D was a “gimmick.” That’s bad news for the consumer electronics industry, which is investing heavily in 3-D technology, and for cable companies and programmers, which are rolling out dedicated 3-D TV stations. [...]

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  10. [...] rolling out new 3-D capable TVs and programmers and distributors are supporting the initiative with new cable networks. Still, despite industry interest, we’re skeptical about the viability of 3-D in the [...]

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