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Google Fiber TV adds 3D channels

The search giant has beefed up its TV lineup with two new 3D channels.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Subscribers of Google's Fiber TV service who own a 3D TV and glasses can now opt to watch a couple of new channels in 3D.

Announced yesterday, Google has launched 3net and ESPN3D.

Subscribers to the Google Fiber Gigabit + TV Plan will automatically receive 3net, which will offer documentaries, family entertainment, concerts, lifestyle and cooking shows, and scripted series, all in 3D.

Sports fans who want to catch their favorite teams in 3D can grab ESPN3D for an additional $5 per month with their Gigabit + TV plan. Subscribers can call Google Fiber to sign up for ESPN3D.

Launched last July, Google Fiber TV is offered at an additional cost as part of the company's Gigabit Internet service. Users can subscribe to the high-speed Internet alone for $70 a month or opt for TV and Internet for $120. A lower-speed Internet service is also available at no monthly cost but with a one-time installation fee of $300.

Google Fiber TV offers an interactive search that lets you track down programs on your TV as well as your DVR. The DVR offers up to 500 hours of storage, all in 1,080p high-definition format. Subscribers can record up to eight shows at a time.

But few people can sign on to Google Fiber at this point. So far the service is limited to just two cities -- Kansas City, Kans., and Kansas City, Mo. Three other cities in Kansas and two more in Missouri are next on the list. As such, the service is definitely still in beta mode.

Why offer 3D channels at this point? Google's head of product management, Larry Yang, said in a blog that such new features will make TV watching a better experience:

We're committed to making these qualities that you've come to expect from Google Fiber TV better and better. And, thanks to the amazing capacity of Fiber, we can also include some new experiences and tools that will make watching TV even cooler. For example, 3D channels.

But I can't see such a move making Fiber TV that much more appealing.

3D TV adoption has been weak due to the higher cost of the televisions and the inconvenience of wearing 3D glasses. The number of 3D TV owners in Google Fiber's limited test markets is unlikely to be very high, which begs the question of why Google is going the 3D route.