Sky Deutschland to close 3D channel, switch focus to UHD

German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland has said it will close down its 3D channel next year as it switches its focus to ultra-high-definition coverage of sports events with two new channels set to broadcast their first games later this month.

Sky 3D launched in October 2010 and offered sports content including Bundesliga football games and golf tournaments. However, a Sky Deutschland spokesman told the Broadband TV News website: “We continuously watch and analyse the market with the target of optimising our offer in the interest of our customers. The trend and also customers’ interest clearly tends towards Ultra HD.

“For this reason, we have decided to discontinue linear channel Sky 3D in mid-2017 and instead to increasingly invest into offers in the new Ultra HD technology.”

The shutdown of Sky 3D comes as the broadcaster announced the first programming for its new Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD and Sky Sport UHD channels.

The Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin will launch Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD on October 14, with Sky adding that it will broadcast a weekly match from the league in this format.

Sky Sport UHD will launch on October 18 with the Uefa Champions League game between Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur. The channel will then showcase further selected Champions League matches and other live sports.

In other news, Sky has said it will mark the switch of Sky Sports News HD to a free-to-air channel by broadcasting a live Bundesliga game on the platform.

In July, Sky said it would make Sky Sports News HD freely available to viewers from December. Sky Sports News HD launched in December 2011 as the first 24-hour sports news channel in Germany and Austria. Under the change, it will become freely available across all platforms in the two countries and will be the first free-to-air television channel launched by Sky.

The switch is set to take effect from December 1 and will be followed on the following day with free-to-air coverage of the Friday evening Bundesliga clash between Mainz 05 and Bayern Munich.