BSkyB flags 3D compatibility

By Julian Clover

BSkyB has made clear its proposed 3D television service will be compatible with a range of ‘3D Ready’ televisions manufactured by LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.

The four manufacturers are expected to use CES in Las Vegas to signal their intention to bring ‘3D Ready’ television displays to the market later this year. In a statement Sky said its 3D service would be “compatible with a wide range of 3D Ready TVs being launched in the UK and Ireland during 2010”. These include the LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony products.

Stephen Gater, head of marketing, Home Entertainment, LG Electronics UK, said we were witnessing the beginning of a change in how TV is viewed. “This year will see LG’s first 3D Ready TVs hit the market – and through Sky’s clear commitment to 3D broadcasting, 3D in the home is set to become a reality.”

A number of differing formats are emerging, in both transmission and display formats, ahead of final decisions by regulators and standards bodies. In the United States one of the largest white label display manufacturers, Vizio, has chosen the Sensio proprietary side-by-side format. However, Sony, Samsung and JVC/Panasonic have all opted for the rival RealD system. LG is yet to publically declare its support for either system and the manufacturer could simply run regular side-by-side without any proprietary elements. Both Sensio and RealD are claiming intellectual property rights over their use of the side-by-side format and proprietary encoding.

Side-by-side is key for Sky because it allows the satcaster to use the existing Sky+ HD receivers of which over 1.6 million units have already been deployed.

“Our HD customers already have a 3D capable set-top box, so if they are interested in experiencing TV in a third dimension, the good news is that they’ll have a range of 3D Ready TVs to choose from,” commented Brian Lenz, Sky’s Director of Product Design & TV Product Development. “This is a great example of Sky and TV manufacturers taking the initiative to ensure there is no confusion over formats. By working together with set manufacturers, we want to provide a hassle free way for consumers to enjoy 3D TV.”

Sky plans to launch the UK’s first 3D service during 2010, most likely as a pay-per-view channel, joining recently announced ventures in the US from Discovery Channel and ESPN.