DirecTV pulls plug on 24-hour 3D channel

Just two years after it launched one of the first 24-hour channels dedicated to 3D programming, DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) said it has converted its n3D channel to a part-time programming channel that will feature occasional events such as NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

DirecTV teamed up with Panasonic (NYSE: PC) to launch a trio of n3D channels, including a 24-hour channel programmed with movies, documentaries and other 3D content, an n3D pay-per-view channel and video-on-demand channel. But the top satellite-TV provider has struggled to acquire enough 3D content needed to program a dedicated 3D channel.

"While 3D adoption continues to grow and more programming is being developed, DirecTV has decided to move n3D to a part-time channel," DirecTV said in a statement. The company noted that it still offers subscribers 3D programming from ESPN and 3net, the 3D channel owned by Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX.

Consumer Reports first reported the n3D news Thursday.

DirecTV's n3D move is a setback for CE manufacturers that had hoped interest in 3D programming would spur sales of widescreen HDTVs with 3D capabilities. It's not the first dedicated 3D channel to fold. In January, France's Canal Plus shuttered its 3D network, citing a "lack of enthusiasm among subscribers" for 3D programming.

While 3D programming has lost momentum, the sector could eventually see a revival with the launch of autostereoscopic, or glasses-free 3DTVs. ESPN may also be able to drive more interest in 3D programming in 2014, when it plans to begin shooting National Football League games in 3D.

For more:
- Consumer Reports has this story

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