Video services

Comcast Tunes Up 3DTV

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) will ratchet up the 3DTV hype cycle another notch on Feb. 20 when it launches Xfinity 3D, a 24-hour 3-D channel that will feature concerts, sporting events, movies and some original programming.

Comcast hasn't said how many hours of individual 3-D programs will grace the channel early on, but it did note that it will supply "more than a dozen" movies in the format.

The new network boots up at 6 p.m. ET with 3-D coverage of the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames, followed by the MTV World Stage Kings of Leon concert from Hamburg, Germany.

Xfinity 3D is the full-time 3-D channel developed by Comcast. The MSO also carries ESPN 3D, which went 24/7 on Feb. 14, and offers several 3DTV titles via video-on-demand (VoD). Comcast says it has served up more than 1 million 3-D VoD streams since April 2010, when it got things going with linear and on-demand 3-D coverage of the Masters golf tournament. (See Photos: Comcast Tees Up 3DTV Masters.)

Comcast still doesn't carry 3net, a linear 3-D channel from Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and Imax that launched Feb. 13. DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) is still the only service provider carrying that one.

Why this matters
For millions of consumers who don't have a 3-D-capable TV, it really doesn't. At this point, it's really all about bragging rights and serves, to a degree, as a retention tool for the few customers that have already shelled out for a new set and those fancy glasses.

Comcast's new channel is largely a competitive response to DirecTV, which led out with its own 3-D channel last summer. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which scoffed at cable's initial 3DTV efforts, is also expected to make some big 3DTV moves as well.

For more
3DTV could either sink or soar. Either way, here's a glance at what's been cooking lately.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

3d tv den 12/5/2012 | 5:12:31 PM
re: Comcast Tunes Up 3DTV

As a Comcast customer and fan of 3d tv I am quite excited about this anouncement.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:12:26 PM
re: Comcast Tunes Up 3DTV

Well, they had to do it I suppose (and nice job getting a plug in there, by the way)  But I'll be curious to find out how much new content in 3D, in terms of hours or titles, will be offered here in the early going.  They aren't saying much about that yet, so I'm going to take a big giant guess that we're going to see lots and lots of reruns and loops of archived 3D content, with some fresh stuff sprnkled in here and there.  If anything, at least they have a linear destination channel out there for the few customers out there who can actually view it in all its intended dimensions.

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