Foxtel's chief has hinted that the pay tv provider may trial 3D broadcasts next year, in the wake of Avatar's "titanic" financial success.
It's all James Cameron's fault. Avatar, the soon-to-be biggest film of all time, looks set to be followed up by the first broadcast 3D TV channels, including news of the first such service being planned for Australia.
Foxtel executives have apparently been watching the 3D trend since January 2009, long before the Navi graced our cinema screens and turned 3D into a buzzword. The company, which recently added a big array of new programming options, to its regular broadcast options confirmed it is lining up for another pay TV first with the broadcast of 3D content.
In a press release issued by Foxtel, CEO Kim Delaney detailed the plans: "I expect that Foxtel will bring its first test broadcasts in 3D to subscribers in 2011 when full product details will be revealed. It will be an exciting addition to our range of high quality HD products", said Delaney.
Delaney said that 3D trials are continuing over the course of 2010 at Foxtel's main headquaters in Sydney. More surprisingly, it appears that Foxtel has already successfully tested 3D signals in house.
"Foxtel HD set-top-units have already carried 3D signals in our premises with terrific picture clarity," said Delaney.
Whether the 3D content will be delivered via a dedicated channel or as pay per view "special event" broadcasts isn't clear yet.
However, with the cost of 3D expected to be out of reach for some buyers when it arrives, we imagine the initial 3D TV audience will be something of a niche crowd.
If history had has taught us anything, it's that new technologies should never be overhyped. While the theme of this year's CES was all about 3D, it's worth remembering that Blu-Ray, for all its bells and whistles, was also sold in much the same way just a couple of years ago and like the new 3D kid on the block, it too has yet to catch on as anticipated.
We'll be curious to see how Foxtel's 3D service pans out. Will we need special 3D-enabled TVs or regular screens that re-convert the signal? We'll be interested to find out.