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May 8, 2010 11:09 AM by Associated Press

DirecTV plans more 3-D TV channels

In the race for supremacy in 3-D television, DirecTV, wants to be king.

DirecTV's exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market football games has been a hit. Now the company has eyes on creating what it hopes to be its next competitive edge: extensive 3-D programming including movies, documentaries and events. In June, DirecTV will debut four 3-D channels: ESPN 3D and three of its own channels.

But DirecTV has to snag exclusive 3-D content to stand apart from cable TV rivals that also want to ramp up 3-D TV. DirecTV CEO Michael White also acknowledged that wide adoption of 3-D TV requires that more content be produced in 3-D. More consumers also must buy 3-D TV sets and be comfortable with 3-D glasses.

"How many consumers will buy a 3-D TV set? Time will tell," White said in an interview Friday.

Not all shows are suitable for 3-D. White said the best 3-D programming are in the areas of children's animation and sports.

"Is someone going to watch the evenings news in 3-D? Probably not," he said.

Still, 3-D seems to be the next technology trend in TV. Samsung and Panasonic have started selling 3-D TV sets as 3-D movies such as "Alice in Wonderland" and "Avatar" packed theaters. Hollywood hopes to bring the 3-D experience to the living room. But whether 3-D sticks is another matter.

White said DirecTV is not planning to buy another company to get more 3-D or other content. Its rival, Comcast, made the opposite bet with its proposal to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co.; federal regulators are reviewing that deal. (Msnbc.com is an NBC Universal-Microsoft joint venture.)

Separately, White dismissed talk that DirecTV might be interested in purchasing Sirius XM Radio Inc. They both use satellites, and DirecTV could add a radio service to its bundle of TV plans. But White indicated that DirecTV wants to stay focused on providing the best TV entertainment to retain its highest-spending customers.

"We want to be the best, not necessarily the cheapest," White said.

 

 

 

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