KOREA: round the clock 3D already on air, with movies, live sports and more on the way
While we wait for Sky to announce the go-date for its consumer 3D offering, and broadcast services supplier Technicolor has the dress and all the accessories, just no party to go to yet, in Korea the broadcast providers are supporting their local sheriff in a big way.
South Korea's digital satellite company SkyLife (no relation) announced an alliance with LG a while back which has seen 24/7 3D broadcasting since the beginning of this year, and now the company looks set to expand on that trial with some serious investment in 3D content for its main service.
Not only is it lining up 3D movie titles – such as Call of the Wild 3D (above) – and investing in 3D graphics for broadcast, it's also planning to allocate five hours a day in its regular broadcasting line-up from next month, with programmes covering sports, events, animation and documentaries.
And it doesn't stop there: from May it will be going into full-scale content production, with sports and concerts covered live in 3D, and also offer a 3D movie rental service.
SkyLife will also be aiming to get the Korean broadcast rights for the 3D coverage of the FIFA World Cup this summer, and also says it plans to offer four other major sporting events in 3D, including the Asian Games being held in Guangzhou, China, in November.
Also on its list of four is F1 Grand Prix, which kind of begs the question 'How?'. After all, we're still struggling to get HD coverage of races, and the idea of cars zooming – well, OK, processing round rather slowly – with massive 3D in-car camera rigs on them is more than a little bizarre.
After all, Panasonic did some car-to-car stuff with its Toyota team last year to fuel its 3D demos, and look what came of that.
Of course, could be 3D's the reason the F1 rule changes have slowed everything down so much...
In other news, Korea's IPTV companies are also looking to a 3D future, with all three – Korea Telecom, SK Broadband and LG Telecom – considering the launch of services later this year. Video on Demand is likely to be the first step, making use of the country's superfast broadband internet services to deliver programming, but the Korea Communications Commission also reckons full-time 3D channels online are a distinct possibility.
3D TV without 3D TVs?
Mind you, there's another intriguing little footnote in the Korean press coverage of the announcements, apart from SK Telecom's plans for a set-top broadband TV box able to convert 2D programmming to 3D on the fly.
SkyLife says it's working on new technology aimed at broadening the appeal of 3D programming. It's said this involves helping subscribers with regular LCD, or LED backlit LCD sets capable of working at over 60Hz watch 3D TV on their existing hardware, rather than having to buy new 3D-capable screens.
??? ???, as they say in Korea...
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