Broadcasters in the Middle East are scrambling to launch 3D channels, writes Adrian Pennington. The next to launch could be the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC – pictured) which is building a new fully HD sports production and playout facility.
“They plan to launch a 3D channel soon,” says Said Bacho, regional director for Harris Broadcast. Harris equipment is at the heart of ADMC’s new facility, which in conjunction with Endemol Sport will see service the launch of four new HD English Premier League channels to be broadcast across the Middle East from the start of next season. ADMC also owns regional Formula 1 Grand Prix rights.
“Investment decisions in 3Gbps 1080p products and infrastructure has become a hot topic in the region over the past year and 3D is the catalyst for this,” Bacho explained. “Customers realise that any discussion about 3D involves upgrading their routing and video processing infrastructure to 3G.”
Other broadcasters considering a 3D channel launch for sports or movies include dominant subscription service Orbit Showtime Network, Saudi-based media group Rotana, in which News Corp took a 10% stake earlier this year, and rival Saudi free to air news and entertainment network MBC.
Al Jazeera Sport is broadcasting the FIFA World Cup in 3D having built two 3G studios designed to facilitate better transmission of HD 1080p and 3D signals.
E-Vision, the cable TV unit of UAE operator Etisalat became the first regional broadcaster to offer 3D TV to customers earlier this month, closely followed by rival operator Du. Both subscription-based networks are offering Al Jazeera Sports’s World Cup 3D channel.