Extra dimension for TV viewers

Updated: 2011-12-29 08:49

By Wang Yan and Luo Wangshu (China Daily)

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Trial run for 3-D channel before official launch for Spring Festival

BEIJING - China's first 3-D television channel will begin a trial run on Jan 1, before its official launch during Spring Festival in late January, according to TV authorities.

Extra dimension for TV viewers

A 3-D TV attracts visitors at the 12th China (Tianjin) Information Technology Expo in Tianjin, North China, on Nov 11. [Wang Chen / Xinhua] 

The channel will offer 3-D programs from 10:30 am to midnight and the programs will include animation, sports, documentaries, TV dramas, entertainment and live broadcasts of big events.

The initial plan is for 4.5-hour packages to be broadcast for free three times a day, according to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

Six TV stations, China Central Television (CCTV), and those in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Shenzhen and Tianjin, will make 3-D programs for the channel, which is operated by CCTV.

"All stations are investing heavily to prepare 3-D programs now," said Mei Jianping, vice-director of CCTV Project Management Department.

As of last week, Jiangsu TV had recorded more than 30 programs, and eight programs had been sent to CCTV for airing, according to the administration.

A 3-D TV set is necessary to view the channel, and a survey provided by electronics retailer Suning shows that sales of 3-D TVs were more than 35 percent of color TVs in November and the price has decreased 33 percent on average since 2010. It also shows that most customers were between 30 and 45 years old.

"3-D TV is the big trend in the TV market," said Zhang Baozhong, a 34-year-old sales manager at a Wumart store in Beijing.

Wang Gangzhen and his nephew were shopping for a 3-D TV in the store. "It provides a more vivid view," said Wang, a loyal sports fan, who would like to watch the 2012 London Olympics on a 3-D TV.

Given the fact that there are 500 million TVs in China, launching 3-D channels will expand domestic demand and contribute to boosting the real economy, said the administration.

More than 45 percent of consumers have expressed interest in 3-D programs, and 35 percent said they would buy a 3-D TV set, according to a survey by China 3-D Industry Academy in March in six cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The survey also found that the biggest demand was for sports, culture, entertainment and technology programs.

The launch of the channel marks a new era in China's TV and radio industry and will help promote 3-D technologies and standards, according to the administration.

For Zhou Chen in Shanghai, this is good news, as he finds that watching 3-D TV for too long strains his eyes. "I have to take a break after watching 3-D TV for an hour. I hope that improving the technologies would solve the problem," he said.

Xu Qing, an eye doctor in Beijing, cautioned the new sets might easily cause eyestrain, especially for children.

Tuo Yannan contributed to this story.