At the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), executives of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) Group, a public satellite broadcasting company offering service in the United Kingdom and Ireland, are endorsing Certifi3D, Technicolor’s 3D certification program. Launched in December 2010, the certification program is geared toward broadcasters, network service providers, and content owners with the goal of “delivering quality and comfortable 3D experiences to end consumers,” according to a company spokesperson.
Quality 3D content is a concern of BSkyB executives, who launched Europe’s first in-home 3D television channel, Sky 3D, in October 2010. The company, the largest pay-TV broadcaster in the UK with approximately 10 million subscribers, is currently delivering 3D content to subscribers at no charge.
“As the first operator in Europe to launch a 3D channel, Sky is at the forefront of both capturing and commissioning 3D content for broadcast on its platform,” says Chris Johns, chief engineer, Broadcast Strategy at BSkyB. “Sky aims to provide our customers with the very best quality and value 3D content across movies, sports, drama, and the arts.”
“Sky has always been a forward-looking company and we will push on from here by continuing to invest in content and innovation,” adds Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s chief executive. “That’s the best way to satisfy existing customers and create new reasons for people to join in and take more from us.”
Sky 3D is intended to bring “Event TV” into consumers’ homes, delivering sporting events, movies, performances, documentaries, and more in three dimensions. In order for people to enjoy this new immersive viewing experience, however, creative 3D content is needed.
“Sky 3D will totally change the way entertainment is viewed in homes across the country,” says John Cassy, Sky 3D’s channel director. “We see 3D as ‘Event TV’, an opportunity for people to share an incredible visual experience in their home, watching some of the biggest and best television available. When people gathered ’round their new television sets to watch the Queen’s Coronation broadcast in color, little did they know that in years to come images would eventually be leaping from their television screen with the introduction of 3D. The launch of the channel is the just the beginning, 3D has arrived and will change TV forever.”
The Sky 3D channel is available through Sky+HD boxes; is compatible with 3D TVs from LG, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic; and works with active and passive 3D formats.
BSkyB management is investing in the future of 3D, and the hope is that digital content creators will take full advantage of this opportunity to deliver innovative 3D material and, thereby, foster greater demand for stereoscopic content.
“3D TV used to be a gimmick, and frankly a lot of people don’t know how to use it other than as a gimmick,” Brian Lenz, director of product design and TV product development at BSkyB, acknowledged in his presentation at the Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar in June 2010. “3D TV is going to grow rapidly. High-quality content is essential.”