3D is nothing if not a cash-cow for companies selling both content and hardware. Despite reasonably modest costs to adapt most TVs to 3D, most manufacturers are charging decidedly immodest amounts for the addition of the extra dimension. Now Virgin has joined the bonanza by offering on-demand movies in 3D, starting with StreetDance 3D, but expanding over time to include more films.
Virgin's press release says the price is "just £5.99 for a 24-hour rental" which made us squirt coffee out of our nose, because saying "just" and then "£5.99" straight after doesn't sit quite right with us.
This is, basically, £6 to rent a movie that will most likely cost a little over twice that to buy on Blu-ray. (We should note, however, that the current Blu-ray release of StreetDance 3D isn't proper 3D, but the nasty 50s paper glasses version.) The concept of renting a movie for only fractionally less than seeing it in a cinema blows our minds -- and our afternoon beverage out of our snouts.
The good news is, you don't need to spend any more on equipment -- well, apart from a 3D TV -- because the Virgin HD boxes are all capable of delivering 3D to your TV. If you have a 3D TV you can jump straight on the 3D movie bandwagon.
Virgin has opted not to follow Sky down its 3D channel route, instead seeing 3D as a more of a special event. So where something interesting becomes available in 3D, it will do its best to provide it to its subscribers. If more broadcasters launch 3D channels, Virgin is capable of supporting them.
The cable firm has also announced it's entering into a partnership with Samsung to promote and explain 3D to consumers. Samsung will install 3D TVs into Virgin Media's nationwide retail stores.
The announcement today is well-timed too, as Sky is due to launch its 3D channel on Friday. It's kicking off with coverage of the Ryder Cup golf thingy and what Sky describes as "clashes" between Manchester City and Arsenal, but which we're pretty certain are actually "football matches".
And as we were about to press the 'go' button on this story, Sky got in touch to tell us its pay per view 3D movies would also be £5.99 -- so that's the going rate then.