2009 was all about one-upmanship in HD, 2010 is shaping up to be about the same thing in 3D. Cox Communications just announced it is joining Comcast in broadcasting the Masters Tournament in 3D. The golf tournament runs April 5-11.
That will be a couple of months ahead of when DirecTV promised to start offering a line-up of 3D channels.
DirecTV originally said it would have at least three permanent 3D channels starting in June, but didn’t identify them. DirecTV since said one of those channels would be created in-house in partnership with 3D TV maker Panasonic, and it just announced another of those channels will be ESPN 3D.
Its coverage of the Masters begins on April 7 with two hours of pre-tournament events, and will continue with two hours of video each day of the tournament itself.
In addition, Cox said, customers can access Masters content via the On Demand library on Channel 1.
The same live 3D coverage will be available on Masters.com and available
to those with 3D capable computers, but the deal with tournament organizers is that cable companies will have exclusive rights among service providers. CBS and ESPN will be providing standard feeds of the events.
Cox said multiple 3D cameras will be placed throughout the course at Augusta National, with a focus on the back nine.
Cox’s 3D programming can be viewed on 3D-capable television sets and will be available at no additional cost to Cox Advanced TV customers with an HD or HD/DVR receiver. The TV manufacturer's specified 3D glasses will also be required. The receiver must be connected to the 3DTV via HDMI. Those customers will then be required to tune to a specific channel and change the setting on their 3DTV to 3D format or 3D mode, Cox said.
Comcast announced it would be broadcasting The Masters in 3D two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, DirecTV will have ESPN 3D in its 3D lineup starting in June, which buys the satellite provider up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, X Games 16 coverage, the 2010 college football ACC Championship, 2011 BCS National Championship game, college basketball and NBA games in 2011, all in 3D.
DirecTV said its HD customers who subscribe to ESPN will receive ESPN 3D at no additional cost.
The company also said its channel with Panasonic will be called N3D. N3D will aggregate 3D content from a variety of programmers, many of which DirecTV had previously announced it was negotiating with for programming. They include: AEG/AEG Digital Media, CBS, Fox Sports/FSN, Golden Boy Promotions, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting System.
DirecTV said it will also offer a 24/7 3D pay per view channel and a 24/7 3D DirecTV on Demand channel, beginning this June.
Customers will likewise need a 3D television set and 3D glasses to view 3D programming.