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Google Fiber TV Will Charge $5 Per Month for ESPN 3D

ESPN 3D and 3net, the 3D channel from Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX, are now available to Kansas City residents lucky enough to live in one of the few neighborhoods where Google is currently offering fiber-to-the-home IPTV and 1 Gigabit Internet service.

ESPN 3D is available for an additional $5 per month to Google Fiber customers who take the $120 monthly Gigabit + TV plan, while 3net is included for no additional charge.

In Kansas City, Google Fiber competitors include Time Warner Cable, which charges an additional $10 monthly fee for ESPN3D.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again -- we’re committed to making these qualities that you’ve come to expect from Google Fiber TV better and better,” Larry Yang, head of product management for Google Fiber, wrote in a blog post announcing the 3D additions. And, thanks to the amazing capacity of Fiber, we can also include some new experiences and tools that will make watching TV even cooler. For example, 3D channels.”

Other distributors that carry ESPN 3D are Comcast, DirecTV, Cablevision Systems and Verizon FiOS, which offer it to HD customers for no additional charge. Bright House Networks, which has an agreement to piggyback on TWC programming deals, charges $10 per month. In the last few months, Walt Disney Co. has struck carriage agreements that include ESPN 3D with AT&T -- which had dropped the network in 2011 after its debut year, citing high fees -- Charter Communications and Cox Communications.

For its part, 3net is available on DirecTV and Service Electric Cablevision. Comcast is offering a sampling of 3net programming on Xfinity TV subscribers, and 3net is making a selection of 3D titles available through Netflix’s Open Connect CDN program to participating ISPs.

Separately, Google has complained to the FCC that Time Warner Cable is withholding the Metro Sports regional sports network from the IPTV service. TWC has said it has offered Google “must-have” live collegiate sports programming at “fair and reasonable prices.”

While 3DTV has not lived up to the hype when the first mainstream sets were introduced three years ago, interest in stereoscopic TV slowly seems to be rising.

Consumers are still mainly interested in getting a good deal and a larger screen when they’re buying a TV, according to IHS Screen Digest. However, on a June 2012 survey by the research firm, those citing 3D rose from 6.6% who said it played into their TV purchasing decision the previous 12 months to 18.8% among those considering a TV purchase in the next 12 months.