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.
3DTV could either sink or soar. Either way, here's a glance at what's been cooking lately.
- DirecTV Confirms 3DTV Net Launch
- Dish Serves Up Some 3DTV
- Verizon Unveils 3D VoD Service
- CTAM Summit: 3DTV Is Poised to Pop
- DirecTV Won't Give Cable Access to 3D Nets
- 3DTV Warning: Poor Quality Could Poison the Well
- Verizon Derides Cable 3DTV Efforts
- Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable