Two of Hollywood's top 3D cheerleaders expect relatively slow adoption of 3D TV, despite their strong faith in the value of the extra-dimensional medium.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation SKG, and filmmaker James Cameron, who directed Avatar, Hollywood's all-time top-grossing film, also warned that inferior 3D experiences could turn off viewers to the value of 3D.
Speaking at the "All Things Digital" conference, Katzenberg and Cameron, in separate presentations, expressed excitement about the 3D spree now evolving.
"We're at the beginning of a new and great opportunity for storytelling," said Katzenberg, who has committed all future Dreamworks animation projects to be produced in 3D. But he cautioned that "our movies are not going to drive this".
Sports and gaming will, at least initially, be the major attractions for 3D television, Katzenberg said.
"Not all 3D is create equal, and the consumer is going to be discerning."
Cameron voiced similar concerns.
"When people begin paying extra to have a bad experience, it will slow the thing down," he warned. "3D is being debased and embraced at the same time by studios," Cameron added, expressing his apprehension that studio chiefs' encouragement of 3D movies rush to make 3D movies will lead to productions that turn off customers.
Both Katzenberg and Cameron, who have allied with consumer electronics companies (Samsung and Panasonic, respectively) for 3D promotions, voiced admiration for the juggernaut of the home TV category. But Cameron said that in generating 3D buzz and seeking a new product to sell the electronics makers "leaped ahead" of the market.
"Now you have a content gap," he said, observing that a viewer who watched every available 3D program consecutively would finish his viewing in three days.
Both movie industry icons concentrated on the appeal of theatrical distribution and only touched briefly on cable distribution of 3D programming, which is not central to their roles in the process. They both acknowledged, but minimized, the opportunity for 3D viewing on mobile devices.
Separately, Cameron revealed that he is in the early stages of an expected three-year process to make Avatar 2. He is currently working on a 3D re-release for 2012 of his landmark film "itanic in 3D, which is timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ship's first sailing.