3D channel launches for ESPN and Discovery

Sports broadcaster ESPN and factual channel operator Discovery are both set to launch 3D channels in the United States later this year.

The Disney owned sports operator is set to introduce ESPN 3D in June, launching with the airing of the first World Cup soccer games on June 11. The channel will air 85 live sporting events over the year, but will ‘go dark’ when there are no events on. “ESPN’s commitment to 3D is a win for fans and our business partners. ESPN 3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan’s viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the new big advance for TV viewing,” said ESPN president George Bodenheimer.

Discovery, meanwhile, has launched a joint venture with technology companies Sony and Imax, to launch a 3D channel in 2011. Although, it hasn’t announced what content it will air in 3D, the channel will be a 24-hour channel.

Both launches are currently aimed at the US market and neither company has announced plans to launch the 3D networks internationally. This follows satellite pay-TV service DirecTV’s news earlier this week that it will launch a 3D channel later this year.