How much 3D TV content is available?

We're bombarded with news from the movie industry about new 3D films launching almost every week now. But many people remain convinced that there's little 3D content to be seen outside cinemas, that TV broadcasters are failing to invest in 3D content.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Around the world, broadcasters have been providing 3D content to pubs, clubs and homes. A recent blog post identified 3D broadcasts in the following territories:

  • Europe - UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Belgium, Russia and Estonia
  • North America - USA and Canada
  • Middle East - Quatar and UAE
  • Asia Pacific - Japan, South Korea and Australia

Broadcast content types

Sport - live sport has been one of the cornerstones of 3D broadcast, with much of the 2010 Soccer World Cup being shown live to pubs and clubs. Live sport in 3D is now available from a number of stations around the world, including golf, ice hockey, rugby, tennis, soccer and American football.

Movies - as Hollywood produces more and more 3D content - during 2010, film industry profit was bolstered by the popularity of 3D movies - broadcasters are offering 3D movies, often on dedicated/on-demand 3D channels.

Animation - feature films, shorts and made-for-TV.

3D TV series - in 2011, Japanese viewers are watching the world's first 3D television series.

Documentaries - broadcasters around the world are experimenting with 3D factual content.

Politics - Ziggo, a Dutch cable operator, has moved 3D deeper into the mainstream by choosing to broadcast a political debate in 3D as part of the general election coverage.

And the 3D broadcast highlight of 2011?

Audience predictions for the Royal Wedding run as high as 2.5 billion. And, as the event is being broadcast in S3D, it could easily become the 3D programme with the highest viewing figures yet. The Royal Wedding could also spark a buying spree for 3D TVs similar to that reported by Samsung during the early stages of the World Cup.

With a greater number of 3D TVs in the world's homes and public spaces, there can only be a bright future for 3D broadcast content. In the UK, in January 2011, Sky announced that half of the 3D TVs sold in the UK are connected to Sky HD. That's around 70,000 subscribers hungry for 3D programming.

Steve Owen is Director of Marketing at Quantel. The company develops innovative, world-leading content creation systems for broadcast, post-production and Digital Intermediate. Quantel products deliver at SD, HD, 2K, 4K and Stereoscopic 3D.

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