FiOS TV Debuts 3D VOD With Avail-TVN

Verizon launched its 3D video-on-demand offering Tuesday with a lineup of eight titles, delivered by Avail-TVN, letting subscribers rent movies for $2 more than FiOS TV's regular HD VOD titles.

The 3D movies available starting Nov. 16 on FiOS TV are: Chicken Little, Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, Journey to the Center of the Earth and NASCAR: The Imax Experience, each available for $5.99; while Warner Bros.' Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore is $7.99 and the unrated version of horror movie Scar is $8.99.

FiOS also currently is offering a free replay of the Nov. 13 college football matchup between Oregon and the University of California at Berkeley. In December, FiOS TV will add Walt Disney Co.'s A Christmas Carol and the dance movie Step Up 3D.

Avail-TVN is delivering all of the 3D movies available on-demand from Verizon. Other 3D titles Avail-TVN expects to deliver in the next few months to Verizon and other affiliates include The Last Airbender, Saw: The Final Chapter, Alpha and Omega, and Piranha.

"Over the last year, 3D movies in the theatre have created enormous excitement and we are pleased to bring the immersive 3D experience into the living room," Avail-TVN chief strategy officer Doug Sylvester said in a statement. "Avail-TVN's investment in its next generation platform is enabling us to commercialize a scalable service that allows our customers to meet growing consumer demand for 3D."

In 2011, Avail-TVN expects to augment the 3D movies service with a pay-per-view events channel with movies, concerts, events and sports programming; and a free-to-consumer promotional 3D channel offering features, documentaries, music and specialty programming. The company had previously expected to launch the linear 3D services along with VOD in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The 3D VOD titles are available in both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Avail-TVN is using frame-compatible stereoscopic compression -- along with the rest of the industry -- to transmit 3D files at the same rate and with the same bandwidth requirements as 2D HD. Only a small software upgrade is needed on set-tops to allow them to pass through the 3D signals.

Verizon, for its, part, has dabbled with 3DTV over the last several months. For example, the telco produced and broadcast the first televised National Football League game in 3D, the On Sept. 2 preseason match-up between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

In the FiOS TV guide, the 3D movies are available in the "High Definition" VOD folder under "HD 3D," as well as in the "Movies" VOD folder under "3D Movies."