China launches its first 3D television channel

China has launched its first 3D television channel, riding on the success of 3D-capable games consoles.

China launched its first 3D television channel on Sunday.

Whilst 3D might still be considered a gimmick to many, with 3D televisions continuing to be a success in China and the Nintendo 3DS selling well, it's clear that it is a trend that still has a long way to go.

The launch is on a trial basis and the channel, operated by China Central Television (CCTV), will be formally launched during Chinese New Year on January 23rd.

Although there are similar services available in Japan, South Korea and India, this will be the first of its kind in China.

"The launch of the 3D channel is a significant step in the development of China's television," said Cai Fuchao, the head of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

The channel will be viewable to those with 3D enabled televisions and those with high-definition digital TV sets.

Initially four-and-a-half hours of 3D programming will be aired a day, with a second repeat showing the same day, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The contents will be movies, sports, cartoons and even coverage of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

Although there isn't much 3D specific programming available for such services, Xinhua said that each of CCTV's partner broadcasters have established specific 3D production units.

The launch of the 3D channel is hoped to encourage many to upgrade to 3D enabled televisions, creating demand that would be: "worth hundreds of billions of yuan".

China presently houses around 500 million television sets, according to Xinhua. With this, huge revenue could be generated if even a small proportion of Chinese households were to switch to 3D televisions.

Whether or not a new 3D exclusive channel really is enough to sway consumers into upgrading their televisions remains to be seen.