Technology

Providers Say They’re Ready for 3D. Are Viewers?

6/01/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

New York — With a number of
high-profile events already in the
can, 3DTV is ready to break out of
the gates with ESPN showcasing the
World Cup in the format next month.
But there’s still a very long way to go,
in terms of consumer adoption, before
the emerging technology comes
close to critical mass.

“This definitely is the year that
everybody’s converging on 3D except
for one person and that’s the
consumer,” said HDMI licensing
president Steve Venuti at NewBay Media’s
3DTV 2010 conference here last week. The
panel was moderated by Multichannel
News
technology editor Todd Spangler.

The panelists said that the 3D viewer experience
is so compelling, it is just a matter of
time before the standard becomes an accepted
entertainment medium. “The networks are
ready. The boxes are ready,” Motorola Devices
and Home Motorola vice president/general
manager Larry Robinson said. There’s a path
to deliver that experience today.”

But consumer adoption poses some considerable
challenges because the service
requires additional bandwidth, 3D viewer
guides have yet to roll out and there is limited
amount of formatted content available.
That has focused much of the 3D hype on
big-name live sporting events, such as the
recent The Masters golf tournament and ESPN’s
upcoming coverage of 25 FIFA World
Cup matches from South Africa.

SES World Skies chief technical officer Alan Young said there is bandwidth
on the satellites to deliver 3D,
but noted that distributors must be efficient. Viewers only see about 1% the
number of bits on their screen of what
is actually produced already, he said.

Nonetheless, the executives were
optimistic that 3D will continue to
pique consumer interest. “Critical
mass will be reached when 3D is economically
beneficial,” which will
come about when more viewers
purchase 3D-ready equipment, said
Young.

Hess said there were a number of issues,
“some technical, some behavioral. But because
the viewer experience is so good, it’s
going to happen.”


David Tanklefsky is a reporter for Broadcasting
& Cable.
October