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3D Channels

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/29/2010

3D TV channels are the new kid on the block. But, should you make friends with him and spend some extra dough on your programming? Find out if 3D channels are worth the money.

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    Services Offering 3D Channels

    3D TV is fast becoming the next big thing, and more and more stations are starting to offer 3D channels along with the HD channels. But, the question becomes are any of your services offering 3D channels. And, if so, are they worth the extra money?

    To answer the first question, yes, there are some services offering 3D channels. Euro TV for the European market offers both HD and 3D service, but it only makes up about three percent of the current market.

    As of 2010, DirecTV has started offering between three and four 3D channels. It has one channel devoted to playing movies, one for on-demand shows and movies, and a general 3D channel. And, then there’s the ESPN 3D channel, where you can watch major sporting events in 3D.

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    Available Programming

    The on-demand programming will only show movies that were shot in 3D, which as of this junction is quite a lot. Tons of movies have been released in 3D in the past few years thanks to the success of James Cameron’s Avatar. But, you will have to pay extra to view these movies. This is similar to pay-per-view.

    The ESPN 3D channel only shows major sporting events like the World Cup and the baseball World Series. It’s bound to add the Super Bowl as well, but it leaves a lot of time for dead air or repeats.

    The other two channels are only for programming that was previously shot in 3D. This at the moment is limited to IMAX and older 3D movies. That does provide much content for a 24/7 channel. Yet again, with so many movies being released in 3D, the number of movies available is bound to go up.

    But, for the moment, there isn’t a lot of programming available on 3D channels. DirecTV has said that they won’t convert 2D movies into 3D because it degrades the picture quality. That would mean that you would be paying more money for less quality.

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    Is It Worth the Money?

    Now, it’s time for the second question. Is it worth the extra money? At the moment, that answer would have to be no. Despite the channel being devoted to only previously shot 3D movies, the picture quality is still not up to par with other 3D offers like the 3-D Blu-ray. There’s only a limited amount of bandwidth available for these channels, which limits the crispness of the picture quality.

    And, there’s the thing about the limited about of programming. You may be watching the same thing over and over again until the offerings increase.

    Finally, there’s the thing about having to upgrade all of your equipment, including your television. 3D televisions are expensive, and you’ll have to also get some of those sporty-looking 3D glasses.

    So, the overall take here is that you’re better sticking with HD for the moment. The offerings are bound to increase in the future, which will make it more worth the extra cash. Plus, if you give it some time, those 3D TVs will come down in price.