BSkyB launching Europe's first 3D channel

Will show at least six Premier League soccer games

LONDON -- BSkyB will launch Europe's first 3D TV channel on April 3, the satcaster said Friday. The broadcaster will open with live 3D coverage of the Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea, and will show at least five more Premier League matches on the 3D channel before the end of the current soccer season.

The channel will intitially be offered at no extra cost to Sky's million or so HD homes, which will be able to view the 3D images using special glasses.

More than 1,000 pubs and clubs -- where fans congregate for sports events -- have also signed up for the service available in the U.K. and Ireland, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to view sports in 3D, while more are expected to sign up in the weeks ahead.

BSkyB has been building up to its 3D launch during the past year with a series of live concerts, gigs and sports events broadcast as part of 3D trials. Later in the year it plans to roll out a range of movies, entertainment and documentaries in 3D.

"It's fitting that one of the biggest games of the season will be the launch pad for our pioneering Sky 3D service," said Brian Lenz, Sky's director of product design and TV product development."
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