Heads up, couch potatoes. The 3-D channels are coming at you, in every sense of the word.
Disney's entry will be ESPN 3D, launching in June to offer up live athletic events throughout the year. The more ambitious entry may be the one spearheaded by Discovery, IMAX, and Sony, aiming to provide 3-D programming around the clock.
This doesn't mean that you should dust off those old red and blue 3-D specs. This content will shine on the next generation of 3-D televisions (hence Sony's angle in helping launch a channel that will create demand for the new screens). Sony, Vizio, and other manufacturers are delicately hopping on the 3DTV bandwagon, just in case it takes off.
Just as HDTV took off once more cable and satellite television content providers began launching high-def channels and Blu-ray became the clear victor over HD-DVD, 3-D is a nascent television technology that won't sell unless content is plentiful.
Discovery's role here is also noteworthy. It has been breathing new life into its weaker properties, teaming up with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Hasbro
IMAX's role is a bit grayer. If the home theater experience grows even more realistic, will folks still line up for its theatrical exhibitions?
The success of these new 3-D channels will also depend on whether consumers embrace the standard en masse. That won't be easy. We're clawing our way out of a recession, a challenging time for a big-ticket item launch. Folks who have recently migrated to plasma and LCD screens may also be reluctant to bank on the unproven standard.
Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Walt Disney and Hasbro are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares in Hasbro. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wrote this without wearing those old 3-D glasses. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.