More movies, sport, HD for Foxtel

Rose Major

Details are emerging of some of the 30 new Foxtel channels set to be beamed from Optus’ new D3 satellite which launched at the weekend – and at least one could be in 3D.

One report over the weekend, on a website aimed at technology retailers, said that Foxtel was looking at a 2010 launch for a 3D channel similar to that planned by the UK’s BSkyB, also due next year. The move comes as several manufacturers including Panasonic, Samsung and LG already either have started offering or are about to start offering, 3D TVs in the market.

Foxtel is likely to have 3D in its thoughts, but is likely to wait to see how the technology beds down elsewhere before launching it in what is a relatively small market.

More likely accurate is a report in The Australian newspaper – like Foxtel, a News Corp-backed entity – asserrting that movies and sport will make up the lion’s share of the new channels.

Showtime Australia, owned by 20th Century Fox, NBC Universal, Sony, Paramount and Liberty Global, is set to offer a range of genre-led movie channels. These will include action, premiere, comedy and drama channels, with at least two in high definition. An excisting channel, Showtime Greats, is likely to be axed.

Another rival movie channel company, Movie Network Channels, which is owned by Disney, Warner Bros, MGM and Village Roadshow, will offer the Family Movie Channel and two other services, currently titled Starpix 1 and 2, although it is not clear what kind of channels these will be. These channels are likely to run in HD, however.

High definition version of sports channels Fox Sports 1 and 2 will also be added, as well as HD versions of entertainment services Fox8 and W. Standard-def channels launching are cited by The Australian as Nat Geo Wild, The Style Network, Discovery’s Turbo Max and NBC-U’s 13th Street, among others. There will also be a number of timeshift channels.

Official details on the new services are not expected before October.