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DirecTV To Debut 3D Channel From Discovery, Sony, IMAX

DirecTV will become the first pay-TV provider to launch 3net, the 24-hour 3DTV channel from Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX, with a launch set for Feb. 13, the companies announced Thursday.

The satellite operator has aggressively jumped into 3D, hoping to replicate the marketing lead it established in HD a few years ago before cable caught up -- and DirecTV was widely expected to be among the first providers to carry 3net, which will feature a mélange of documentaries, movies and original series.

Still, it's not clear how many consumers have 3DTVs that are capable of receiving the programming. Consumer electronics companies reported disappointing sales of 3D sets in 2010.

On DirecTV, 3net will go live at 8 p.m. ET on channel 107 with three one-hour documentaries: China Revealed, Into the Deep 3D and Forgotten Planet. The network promises to debut a new program every night in February at 9 p.m. ET, and is shooting to deliver the industry's largest library of native 3D content by the end of 2011.

DirecTV currently offers its own 24-hour channel, n3D, which is sponsored by Panasonic, and also offers 3D movies on demand through its DirecTV Cinema service.

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