At the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, a host of television distribution and technology groups that include DirecTV, Sony, and Disney sports TV unit ESPN announced plans to launch 3-D television networks, as electronics companies offered show-goers a glimpse of new 3-D enabled TV sets that they hope will transform the high-definition television industry over the next few years. Although 3-D TV services are now in their infancy, both programmers and television manufacturers hope to seize upon the success of recent 3-D films, including James Cameron’s current hit Avatar, in extending the 3-D experience to viewer living rooms. Among the companies poised to take advantage of this opportunity is ESPN, which said Tuesday that it would offer World Cup soccer matches and NBA basketball games in 3-D format on a new network to be launched in June. At the same time, Sony announced the formation of a partnership with the Discovery Network and Imax that will jointly create a 3-D channel, slated for debut in 2011, that will showcase nature and science programming from Discovery as well as 3-D movies shown in Imax big-screen theaters. DirecTV, meanwhile, plans to launch two 3-D channels and a 3-D video-on-demand channel that would offer movies and other content. To view the 3-D channels, subscribers would need to purchase 3-D capable HDTVs that work by dividing picture images into two halves of the TV screen and that require viewers to wear special glasses that capture the dual images in such a way as to create the illusion of depth. Notwithstanding the upcoming 3-D program and equipment offerings unveiled in Las Vegas this week, analysts believe the technology may be slow to catch on, as 3-D capable TVs are expected to account for only 1% - 2% of flat-screen HDTV sales in the U.S. this year.