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Comcast launching 24-hour 3D channel Sunday

The cable provider kicks off its round-the-clock 3D channel with an outdoor NHL game between Calgary and Montreal, followed by a Kings of Leon concert.

Comcast is ushering in the launch of a 24-hour 3D channel by enlisting the help of Kings of Leon and the National Hockey League.

The cable provider said yesterday that starting at 3 p.m. PT on Sunday, its new Xfinity 3D channel will begin broadcasting. The channel will start with an airing of the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, pitting the Montreal Canadiens against the Calgary Flames outdoors at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. After the game is over, Comcast plans to broadcast a Kings of Leon concert from Hamburg, Germany.

From there, the channel will broadcast 3D programming 24 hours a day. Comcast said that it plans to show content ranging from "haunted castles" to documentaries on "the depths of the ocean."

So far, few consumers in the U.S. are able to capitalize on Comcast's new channel. According to a Futuresource Consulting survey released in November, just 4 million 3DTVs were likely sold around the world in 2010. However, Futuresource expects that figure to jump to 8 million this year, with 5 million of those units sold to customers in the U.S. The research firm indicated that so far, "year-one adoption of 3DTV is running at a far quicker rate in most territories than it did for high-definition."

Although few people have 3D sets, Comcast said it has seen an uptick in viewers watching 3D content. The company reported yesterday that it has served over 1 million 3D video-on-demand streams.

But trouble remains in the 3D market.

A Deloitte study released in September found that 83 percent of consumers do not believe 3D is enough to make them want to buy a new television. Worst of all for vendors and 3D providers like Comcast, 31 percent of respondents said 3D does nothing to "enhance their entertainment experience."