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Which Broadcaster Is Gearing Up to Launch a 3D Cable Net?

6/29/2011 3:26 PM

In the 3DTV hype cycle, we’re definitely in a trough.

But the market could get a frisson of excitement back: A major broadcast network is in the process of converting many of its 2D shows into 3D, with the idea that it will put together a 3DTV cable network and shop it around to providers, according to DDD president and CEO Chris Yewdall. (He wouldn’t identify the broadcaster.)

L.A.-based DDD, which stands for “Dynamic Digital Depth,” is primarily in the business of licensing its 2D-to-3D technology to TV makers and other consumer-electronics companies. Yewdall says the company owns 52 patents worldwide.

The 30-employee company also offers a service aimed at TV networks that largely automates the 2D-to-3D conversion process, though a human “stereoscopic engineer” oversees it to ensure quality control.

The breakthrough: DDD’s asking price is $10,000 per hour of content. That lets content owners “commit to 1,000 hours of 3D content, which is what you need to get to a 24-hour channel,” Yewdall said.

By comparison, some post-production companies want upwards of $110,000 per minute of film to convert theatrical films into 3D (see Depth Charge, my cover story on the topic, from July 2010).

Yewdall rightly points out that a major inhibitor for 3DTV is lack of content, and he predicts cheaper 2D-to-3D conversion like that DDD is offering will help networks stock the shelves.

Back a year and half ago, 3D was the story from CES 2010 (see TV’s Third Dimension). Aside from dearth of content, there have been issues with the glasses (consumers don’t like ‘em) and the perceived cost of 3DTVs (see 3DTV Tickles Interest But Most Consumers Aren’t Sold Yet: Survey).

Since then the 3D story line has fizzled out, notwithstanding the launch of ESPN 3D (and its evolution into a 24-hour service this Valentine’s Day), and DirecTV’s and Comcast’s efforts to provide 3D content on their own networks. Since making its debut at CES this year, the 3Net channel from Discovery/Sony/IMAX has a grand total of one affiliate — DirecTV (see DirecTV To Debut 3D Channel From Discovery, Sony, IMAX).

So how about it: Do you want to see Glee, The Office, Two and a Half Men or Dancing With the Stars in 3D?

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