Sony, IMAX, Discovery to Form 3D TV Network
by Mark Hachman
In a surprising endorsement for 3D display technology, Sony Corp. of America, Discovery Communications and IMAX Corp. have announced plans to form a U.S. television network entirely devoted to 3D programming.
The three parties have signed a letter of intent to form the unnamed venture, which is scheduled to launch in 2012.
The new network is designed as a sort of carrot to lure buyers to purchase 3D-enabled TVs, suddenly a hot topic in the entertainment world. Within the movie theater, 3D technology has offered up a fresh way for directors and cinemas to improve the movie experience; now home electronics manufacturers want a piece of the action, too.
Sony said that it will license television rights to current and future 3D films, plus music- and game-related 3D content. Discovery, meanwhile, will provide 3D rights to its television content while promoting the new channel across its 13 properties. IMAX appears to be supplying image-enhancement and 3D technologies, while doing some cross-promotion across its own theater network.
"Sony is the only company with expertise in every part of the 3D value chain," said Howard Stringer, chairman, chief executive and president of Sony, in a statement. "We are delighted to be partnering with Discovery and IMAX, two premier companies also dedicated to leadership in 3D, in this groundbreaking new venture. It is clear to us that consumers will always migrate to a better and richer entertainment experience, and together we are determined to be the leader in providing that around the world."
In recent weeks, a number of 3D initiatives have taken root; just Monday, RealD and Samsung announced a partnership for home 3D TVs. That followed an announcement by the HDMI licensing organization to implement a 3D spec across the HDMI connector, and a Blu-ray 3D spec to boot. Sony has long been a proponent of 3D TVs, joining LG's own 3D TV initiative, among others.
The new venture will be run by a separate management team that will work independently from the three companies, yet report to a board of directors staffed from representatives from Sony, IMAX, and Discove