Ethnic Channels Group asking CRTC for approval to carry 3D TV channel

By LUANN LASALLE | January 16, 2013 | Website

MONTREAL - How about watching a cooking show in 3D? Or a travel show, extreme sports or the latest on Hollywood celebrities for that matter?

The CRTC will look at an application from Toronto-based Ethnic Channels Group to add a 3D family-oriented channel to its lineup.

HighTV 3D is an international channel that the Ethnic Channels Group hopes to have on the air later this year, if granted regulatory approval.

Ethnic Channels Group CEO Slava Levin says viewers will need 3D-enabled television sets to watch the channel, which will broadcast in English. Levin adds he'll have to convince Canada's TV providers to carry HighTV 3D, popular in Europe.

He doesn't expect a large audience.

"It's a niche market," he said in an interview.

But Levin said he's banking on the uniqueness of HighTV 3D to draw in viewers.

"We can do Entertainment programming day in and day out, but that all gets boring. Let's put a little twist on it," he said.

However, 3D TVs haven't been hugely popular with North American consumers. Ultra-high definition television sets, known as 4K TVs, were featured as the next wave of TV technology at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Levin said HighTV 3D approached the Ethnic Channels Group more than a year ago about bringing its programming to Canada.

"Looking around the marketplace we realized, hey, it's a unique product with a unique approach," he said.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it's the first request for foreign 3D programming to be broadcast in Canada.

The deadline for comments on the HighTV application is Thursday.

"So the plan is obviously to get the channel carried on all of the major cable and satellite platforms with the hopes that their subscribers can enjoy their first 3D channel at home," Levin said.

HighTV 3D, headquartered in New York with international offices, also provides fashion, reality, dramatic, video game and events programming. Its programming is also carried in the Middle East and Asia.

Levin's Ethnic Channels Group offers almost 40 multicultural channels in a wide range of languages from Arabic to Vietnamese. It was launched in 2004.

The CRTC has already given approval to Canadian-based Ebabe TV and Skinemax TV to make available for distribution a 3D version of their adult entertainment TV services.