The 3DTV Hype Race Gets An Early Start
Verizon continues to take shots at cable 3D efforts...
Last week Verizon took a few jabs
at Cablevision's decision to air the first hockey game in 3D, complaining that the cable operator was just "hoping to make headlines." Verizon took the opportunity to again complain that Cablevision is withholding MSG HD from competitors, while promising that a better Verizon FiOS 3D TV launch would be coming later this year. This week, Comcast grabbed headlines for demonstrating the Masters golf tournament in 3D
, staking claim to the first live national next-generation 3D broadcast of a major sporting event on TV:
...this event will mark a series of industry firsts - the first live national next-generation 3D broadcast of a major sporting event on TV, the first live simulcast of a next-gen 3D event online, and the industry's first live multi-camera next-gen 3D production. . . To make the experience possible, Comcast will use our fiber network to carry a 3D production feed provided to the Comcast Media Center where we will package it for distribution to our systems and the Masters website. Sony and IBM are playing critical roles in working with us and the Masters to make this 3D broadcast available to consumers.
Given the limited number of 3D sets out there right now, 3DTV is a niche segment carriers are getting an early jump at bickering over -- and Comcast expects only a few thousands Masters 3D viewers next week. Verizon is pretty clearly concerned that they're not getting out in front of the hype, and that with cable carriers withholding access to 3D sporting events, they're going to be left behind. A Verizon press release
calls Comcast's 3D efforts "hype," and again promising consumers a "Quality 3D TV Experience" -- just not yet:
3D content is just now becoming available from a handful of providers like ESPN. As it becomes available, TV service providers like Verizon will negotiate deals to telecast that content. We are in active discussions with a number of companies in the emerging 3D value chain...There are content distribution companies that own content and that are simply running demonstration events early in the evolution of 3D. These early events seem to be aimed at the viewers who just went through the challenge of getting the best HD sets. Some content owners have elected to specifically exclude Verizon and other competitive distributors from carriage of these 3D events in an effort to advantage their distribution businesses.
Verizon continues to insist they'll have their own 3DTV service available before the 2010 holiday season. We're a pretty bleeding-edge crew around here, and the general response to 3DTV by many of our users seems to be a series of yawns. How many people are really chomping at the bit to buy another HDTV during a recession?