3D TV channels

ByDuncan Heaney

Want to watch 3D TV at home? We look at Sky and Virgin Media's 3D offerings, and tell you what you need to do to start enjoying the third dimension.

If you want television that makes you feel like you're really there, then 3D TV is probably the closest you're going to get. All you need is a 3D ready TV and a subscription to 3D channels. And whether it's an action movie or nature documentary, 3D puts you in the midst of the action.

It's certainly not cheap, but 3D goes beyond high-definition (HD) to add a whole new dimension to the TV experience. So what exactly can you watch in 3D? And who offers the best 3D channels? This guide explores your 3D TV options.

Sky 3D TV channels

Sky  (www.sky.co.uk) launched Europe's first dedicated 3D TV channel in October 2010, making 3D films, sports coverage and documentaries available to all Sky subscribers with 3D TV equipment.

Sky's 3D TV channel has everything from top sporting events and blockbuster films to real-life documentaries and 3D concerts, making it the ideal choice for anyone looking for a comprehensive 3D TV package.

How to get Sky 3D

  • 3D TV for existing Sky customers - Existing customers with a Sky+HD box are already well on their way to getting 3D TV at home. Simply invest in a 3D ready TV and upgrade to the Sky Entertainment Extra+ package, if you haven't already got it. You'll then be able to watch Sky 3D - the UK's first dedicated 3D channel. You can also watch select 3D movies, if you have the Sky HD and Sky Movies packs.
  • 3D TV for new Sky customers - If you're a new customer looking to join Sky, to get the 3D content you'll need to subscribe to the Sky Entertainment+ pack when you sign up. Sky will provide the necessary Sky+HD box for free. If you want to watch 3D movies, when they're available, you'll also need to get the Sky Movies and Sky HD packs. Remember to compare packages to make sure you get the best possible price.

Virgin Media 3D TV channels

Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) has also jumped on the 3D TV bandwagon and now offers 3D films on-demand with all TV packages. These are rentals, so you'll need to pay a few pounds to watch one. Unlike Sky, the company doesn't offer a dedicated 3D channel at the moment.

How to get Virgin Media 3D TV

  • 3D TV for existing Virgin Media customers - if you already subscribe to Virgin Media, you'll need to make sure you have a 3D-ready set top box - either the V HD box or the 500GB and 1TB TiVo boxes. Virgin Media supplies these with TV packages, so chances are you've got one ready. 3D films can be found in the 'Movies On Demand' section in the menu.
  • 3D TV for new Virgin Media customers - New customers looking to join Virgin Media for its 3D films need to subscribe to a TV package. You'll also need either a V HD or TiVo set top box - Virgin Media will supply you with one upon sign up - and a 3D ready TV. Then you're ready to start renting 3D content which is available directly from the electronic programme guide (EPG).


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3D TVs and glasses

In order to watch 3D TV content from either Sky, Virgin Media or BT TV, you will need a 3D ready TV. Manufacturers such as Sony, Panasonic and LG all offer 3D models, which range in price - anywhere from £400 to £10,000 - and can now be purchased from retailers such as John Lewis, Comet, Argos and Currys.

Click here to buy a 3D TV

You'll also need to wear 3D glasses, though the type you should buy will depend on the format of TV you get. There will almost always be several pairs supplied when you purchase a 3D TV. There are now even screens for which you don't need to wear glasses, but these will likely cost thousands rather than hundreds of pounds.

Always check out your options in store and speak to a salesperson about optimal viewing distances - you don't want to buy a TV that is either too big or too small for your room.

Should I get a 3D TV?

If you're not yet ready to make the leap into 3D TV, you can still experience its wonder at more than 1,500 pubs and clubs around the UK and Ireland, courtesy of Sky's 3D TV channel.

You can find your nearest Sky 3D venue using the Sky pub finder - just visit www.sky.com. Keep checking back for details of forthcoming fixtures, and make sure you call your venue to check scheduling and reserve a seat if necessary.

Want to know more about UK TV services? Check out our guide

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