Last night at 8:00pm, DirecTV launched the latest all 3D network, 3net on channel 107.  The new network is a partnership between Discovery, Sony and IMAX. HD Guru viewed the first three programs on a Panasonic TC-P50GT25 50-inch 1080p 3D Plasma . All were documentaries, broadcast in the side-by-side 1080i format.

First the good news, all 3net programs have excellent 3D image quality with no visible artifacts, no eyestrain inducing segments and only one very brief instance of slight crosstalk (ghosting) during one program. This corporate triumvirate really knows how to shoot and choose well produced 3D .

Now the bad news, just because a program is a professional 3D production does not mean the video content is compelling. For example, the debut program “China Revealed“  about the Great Wall of China., consists of long, drawn out shots of the wall or a drawing. See the side of a flat wall in 3D, panned to the right, followed by a shot of an archway, panned from top to bottom, followed by a view of the wall from the top. Almost all shots last around thirty seconds. For anyone raised on the quick cuts of MTV, it’s excruciatingly drawn out. Interspersed between the shots of the wall are pans of a Chinese line drawing. Boring!

I am no expert on making a documentary; however, to me it appeared to be about twenty minutes of 3D content stretched into an hour program. The spoken narration sounded like the reading of a textbook, informative, but as dry as the mortar between the wall’s bricks.

The second program, Into The Deep is the best of the three premier programs with gorgeous 3D underwater shots of sea life in the kelp forest off the coasts of California and Mexico.

The third, entitled “Forgotten Planet is the depressing story of the contaminated ghost towns of Pripyat, Ukraine, done in by the nuclear disaster at the nearby Chernobyl power plant and the former lead mining town of Picher, Oklahoma. The 3D video mainly consists  of a variety of shots of abandoned building interiors and exteriors, which we found slightly more compelling than watching water boil.

3net plans to add a new 3D programs every night for the remainder of February. Titles include Magnificent  Desolation: Walking on the Moon; Ghost Lab; Bugs a Rainforest Adventure; Dinosaurs Giants of Pangonia (first seen on DirecTV’s N3D channel); 3D Sun; I (Almost) Got Away With It; Deep Sea; Oceana Air Show; The Haunted; Puppy Bowl VII; Under The Sea; High Octane and Bugs A Rainforest Adventure. Based on the descriptions and promos, many appear to be interesting and visually dramatic . We plan on posting another review once these programs air.

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