Media Groups Plan 3-D TV Networks

Two groups of media companies are each planning to launch new 3-D television networks in the U.S., as entertainment and electronics companies look to push 3-D technology into more homes.

Discovery Communications Inc., Sony Corp. (SNE) and Imax Corp. (IMAX) are planning for a 2011 debut of their 3-D network in 2011. News of the new venture, confirmed by Discovery, could be announced as early as Tuesday in the run-up to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS) sports-TV unit ESPN separately announced Tuesday that it will launch a 3-D television network in the U.S. later this year. The new network will include matches from soccer’s World Cup, as well as from U.S. sports, like college football, the company said.

The new Discovery-Sony-Imax network will be structured as a joint venture, and include 3-D content from both Sony and Discovery. Unlike the ESPN channel, which a spokeswoman says will be available only when events are aired, the Discovery-Sony channel will be on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one of the people said.

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