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Our Father,Who Art in 3D

Like their mainstream peers, many faith-based networks are waiting to see if 3D on TV and on the Web gains momentum. Some of these broadcasters are already producing 3D Web content and teeing up programming for conversion if 3D ends up being worth their wait.

CatholicTV Network is leading the pack with The site hosts 3D videos of some of the channel’s most popular series, including Catholic Destinations, and online extras, like a 3D version of the net’s visit with Pope Benedict XVI. Viewers can request a free pair of 3D glasses from via an online order form. “3D and holographic technology is the next big thing,” says Father Robert Reed, CatholicTV Network president. “However, like HD, it is going to take a while for [3D] to settle into the living room.”

While CatholicTV’s engineering budget is still focused on completing its update to HD, the network plans to allocate resources to its move into on-air 3D programming in the next fi scal year.

Other religious broadcasters are waiting to see if 3D catches on before considering the switch. “We want to learn what others are doing with the technology first so we can better understand how to develop it,” says John Mattiello, director of marketing and affiliate relations for The Word Network. He says TWN hopes to incorporate 3D to showcase its gospel music programming in a way that viewers can feel like they’re right there in the ministries.

CBN CEO Gordon Robertson says that the upcoming animated series Superbook, along with all of CBN’s new content going forward, is designed to be modifi ed for 3D—should household sets make the leap of faith. “Until they figure out a way to get rid of the glasses, I don’t think 3D television is going to catch on big,” he says.

Rev. Eric Andrews, president of faith-based Paulist Productions, is concerned less about the technology than about whether 3D makes sense for religious audiences in the first place. “I don’t know if people want a 3D version of Jesus getting nailed to the cross,” he says. “We’ll use the latest technology if it’s helpful in telling the story. If it is, I don’t think we’d rule [3D] out.”