By Kim Tong-hyung
Korea will beam its first stereoscopic three-dimensional (3D) television programs over terrestrial broadcasting networks on May 19, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said Thursday.
All four of the country's land-based television stations - KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS - will participate in the trial services, the KCC said, beginning with the 3D broadcasts of the 2010 Colorful Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting on KBS, which precedes the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships next year.
SBS is one of the media companies that will be involved in the global test for 3D television during the FIFA World Cup in June, as it owns the exclusive broadcasting rights for the tournament as well as the live 3D rights. SBS will provide 25 matches in live 3D from June 11 to July 12. Until then, the KCC will allow three hours of live 3D programs per day from May 19 to June 10, and will expand the time slot to match the hours of regular television programming during the World Cup tournament.
The live 3D coverage will reach households in Seoul and its neighboring metropolitan area. Viewers with 3D-enabled televisions could access the content on channel No. 66.
KBS and SBS applied to the KCC last month for a temporary license to operate their 3D channels. MBC and EBS, which specializes in educational programs and documentaries, have yet to announce the details of their real-time 3D programming.
Currently, satellite television operator, Sky Life, is operating a 3D channel, but the upcoming trial service will mark the first time in the world that live 3D television is provided on free, terrestrial networks KCC officials said.
"This is the first time anywhere in the world that live 3D television will be tested on a land-based network, and the participation of all four terrestrial television networks will contribute to accelerating the road toward commercialization," said Oh Nam-seok, an official from KCC's radio policy bureau.
He added, "The next step is to develop technologies and standardization efforts to provide live, high-definition (HD) 3D television over terrestrial networks."
Television networks and electronics makers are accelerating their push for 3D television, which is considered the natural successor to the HD liquid crystal display (LCD) television that is conventional today.