3D TV Venture Unveils First Programming Plans

Partners Sony, Discovery, Imax contribute content, order originals

The 3D TV network joint venture of Sony Corp., Discovery Communications and Imax on Monday unveiled its first wave of programming, including originals and acquisitions.

Hour-long original series announced Monday are "Abandoned Planet," produced by Flight 33 Productions, which explores entire cities abandoned by people, "Africa in 3D" from Aquavision Television Productions,   as well as "China" and "Jewels of the World," about UNESCO's World Heritage sites, from Natural History New Zealand.

U.S. premieres will include Sony films "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and "Monster House," Discovery documentary "Attack of the Giant Jellyfish" and "The Haunted," in which a paranormal team investigates stories of animals and their owners "who are experiencing the unexplainable," and Imax specials "Into the Deep 3D" about the undersea world and "Magnificent Desolation:  Walking on the Moon 3D," narrated by Tom Hanks.

Tom Cosgrove, president and CEO of the venture, said the unnamed 24/7 channel, which launches next year, wants to provide viewers with "immersive, entertaining programming as we build the most extensive library of original and exclusive 3D content available anywhere."

Research firm DisplaySearch said last week that 3D TV is not growing as fast so far as TV set makers had expected, due to high prices and a lack of content, but the technology should become mainstream by 2014. 

It forecast that 3.2 million 3D TV sets will be shipped this year, including just less than 1.6 million in North America, but the figure will grow to 90 million-plus in 2014.