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ESPN 3D coming June 2010

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Tim Wilson
ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 6, 2010 at 4:53:03 pm

A few people mentioned sports as a maybe, but only sometimes, place for 3D. The sports world disagrees.

Even before major live-action features, people were filling theaters for 3D sports - the NBA All-Star game has been live in theaters since 2007. They've done other live 3D events, including a new one this Valentines Day.

ESPN in particular has been working on 3D for two years. Their first peeks/peaks started hitting last year. X-Games 3D played for a full week in August, and Ohio St. vs. USC in September.

The overwhelming response has led to their creation of an all 3D network, starting with the World Cup. They've committed to at least 85 live events in their first year.

Here's the business part: they've only committed to the first year, while they continue to tweak the business model. People have said that they'll definitely pay more, but how MUCH more depends on the specific content. In the meantime, ESPN will have to have 2 crews on hand for all of these events - one 2D, one 3D.

Their observation was also that this is EXACTLY where they were 6 years ago with HD. Nothing could downconvert in real time, so they had to have 2 full crews. I'm sure you've noticed that in some venues, alternate angle replay cameras still don't have HD feeds coming off them...but it still mostly works.

Also worth noting: 6 years later, it's not everywhere, but HD is far from a gimmick. Producers have established that every kind of content looks better in HD than it did in SD. That's reason enough to do it.

(Also also worth noting - porn has actually been bringing up the rear...ha ha...in HD. That stuff about porn driving Blu-ray adoption or anything else? Nonsense. Makes a good story, but the dollars say otherwise.)

This is exactly how it's going to happen, though. Sports first. The Super Bowl remains the most-watched broadcast in the entire world. There's an enormous of sponsor money - even in a "down" year, 2009 saw record buys. People in sports know how to make money.

The endgame of course is that the window for charging extra for HD is just about closed. Time Warner gives HD for free. My regional system doesn't charge for HD, and they only charge an extra $3/month for an HD DVR. I can live with that. The people who still DO charge extra for HD are charging less and less for it.

That has not always been true of course, but it is now. My point is that, at exactly the point that there's widespread acceptance that this is for real, is exactly the point that people will stop paying extra for anything but the TV set.

Or not. At CES, Vizio is showing 3D HD LCDs...for the same price as 2D HD LCDs. No paying extra....even if large LCDs are pricey. The point is that they're alone in this now...but they won't be for long.

Get used to it. Nobody cares that you or I think that this is a gimmick. They don't care that you or I don't think it's appropriate or interesting for every kind of programming. The first content is coming. The platforms are coming. And for the highest demand content in the world, it begins coming together in a just a few months....even if it will be a few years before it comes together the way HD has.

PS. My vote for best primetime 3D first mover is American Idol. Say what you want about the music or social impact, but their Hollywood studio offers the most dynamic live production anywhere on TV, with a gorgeous stage and top-notch camera work. It's the Super Bowl of weekly TV - nobody else touches it for either audience or sponsor dollars. People will watch it in 3D.



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Mark Suszko
Re: ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:23:02 pm

I've never watched American Idol. Okay, I watched fifteen minutes of it once, the first season it came out, to see what the fuss was about. Not since. Then again, I have a life:-)

As far as "adult viewing:, 3d may be different in regards to that than HD there; if you thought viewers found it disturbing to see their news anchor's facial blemishes and wrinkles in suoper sharp detail on HD, well... you can make your own extrapolation as to areas where more is not necessarily better.

Sports makes the most sense to me for 3-d. Concerts or theatricals second. Cooking shows, probably, travel shows, oh yes. Dance? Yep. Sitcoms? Daily news? Talk shows? I don't see a point there.


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Mark Suszko
Re: ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:26:08 pm

BTW, Tim, did you not get my personal email last week? Reply off-site, please.


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Nick Griffin
Re: ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:28:48 pm

Thanks for the informed update, Tim.

Kind of makes me glad that I'm not a sports shooter. While the long lens stuff will likely be OK, the really great shots in 3D will be those shot very close to the action. Wouldn't want to be the guy getting up close and personal with pro football games. Should be quite the dramatic development for those overhead wire-based cams though.


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walter biscardi
Re: ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:44:13 pm

Yep, saw the article this morning, even tweeted it. (twittered it? twit it? twit? your idea here)

Couple that with FX Factory releasing a 3D plug-in and pretty soon 3D will be the norm....

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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walter biscardi
Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:13:23 pm

They're calling it the first 24/7 3D channel.

http://tinyurl.com/y9pwftb

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Christopher Wright
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 3:42:42 am

Yawn....

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 4:33:02 pm

[Christopher Wright] "Yawn...."


Yeah, some people are so smart that they never open their minds to anything, Christopher. When I think of people like that, I remember you, and then I too, yawn.

Ron Lindeboom


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Tim Wilson
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 2:44:04 pm

National Geographic was an early adopter of HD, and said that they're in on 3D too.

Not that Discovery might not have forced a Nat Geo announcement.

Lotso other 3D news from CES that I'll be posting elsewhere, but one business element came screaming out at me. When the first all-HD network went up, people had already bought between 1 and 2 million HD sets.

There are already between 100 and 150 million 3D-ready sets in people's homes.

Wow. Pretty solid platform to start from.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 3:44:34 pm

[Tim Wilson] "There are already between 100 and 150 million 3D-ready sets in people's homes."

Yes, our 42" flat-screen is a couple of years old and it works very well for 3D. In fact, when I set-it up and watched Coraline on it, which was our first 3D DVD we ever watched at home, it was remarkable.

I would have preferred something other than the anaglyph red-blue glasses but we got used to it pretty quick and of the many who have watched it on our set-up, no one has gotten a headache or complained about it.

In fact, most of the people who have visited and seen it, ask me for a mini-lesson on how to set it up and what they need to do on their own TVs.

Ron Lindeboom



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Doug Collins
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 4:03:14 pm

SD, HD, 3D.....next step?? Holographic TV!



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 4:19:21 pm

My TV is a simple 1080 HD flat-panel that is hooked up to multiple HDMI sources. One is Blu-ray (why, I have no idea anymore), another is an up-converting progressive scan SD DVD player (that I can hardly tell the difference between it and Blu-ray), and lastly I have a ROKU HD hooked into the net and Netflix. I gave up my cable account a few months back.

I use the up-converting progressive scan DVD player mostly for 3D movies. I can buy the SD versions for far less than the Blu-ray and I have yet to find the person who can show me the difference in a side-to-side comparison of progressive scan up-converting SD DVD players working through HDMI compared to Blu-ray. I own both Blue Planet and Planet Earth in both formats and we have tested the pictures and they are damned near identical. At least to my eyes. (No, these are not 3D but they do push the limits of imaging and playback on conventional TVs.)

When up-converted progressive scan players make conventional DVDs look this good when fed through HDMI, no wonder Blu-ray is far from having attained the mainstream format status they wished it would have achieved by now.

As I have yet to find any other 3D movies available other than the blue-red anaglyph variety, this has worked for me.

If the formats begin expanding and options change, I may have to rethink and change my strategy. But this has worked, so far.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi






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walter biscardi
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 7, 2010 at 4:38:05 pm

[Doug Collins] "SD, HD, 3D.....next step?? Holographic TV!"

As with most other technologies, I fully expect the porn industry to drive the holographic TV movement. At least I really hope they do. :-)

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Chris Blair
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:41:25 am

Tim Wilson: ESPN will have to have 2 crews on hand for all of these events - one 2D, one 3D....My point is that, at exactly the point there's widespread acceptance that this is for real, is exactly the point that people will stop paying extra for anything but the TV set.

I think 3D is pretty cool when done well. But from a strictly business point of view, how will they every make money off this?

The question for me is, "they'd need two full crews for how long in the foreseeable future?" I can't imagine how long it would take to create cameras and switchers and all the hundreds of pieces of equipment it takes to produce live TV that can generate images that can be both 2D and 3D using one set of equipment.

With HD there will come a point where they only need 1 crew (if they're not already there) for most if not all events. I love new technology and new ideas, but I can't imagine this would achieve widespread adoption.

We've tried some 3D movies and video games at home with lukewarm results. Similar hookup to Ron's (and I agree upconverted DVDs look virtually identical to blu-ray). Coraline was the exception. It's amazing. Most of the other stuff was...well "yawn."

Heck...I can't stand the sound effects Fox uses when they do football highlights on Sunday NFL...not to mention how Howie and Terry and Jimmy butcher highlight descriptions. I don't think 3D will make me watch those bozos.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Discovery, Sony, IMAX announce 3D channel
on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:12:44 am

[Chris Blair] "I think 3D is pretty cool when done well. But from a strictly business point of view, how will they every make money off this?"

That's easy, have Sony pay for it....

http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2010/01/sony-onboard-with-espns-3d-ch...

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Herb Sevush
Re: ESPN 3D coming June 2010
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:53:29 pm

Tim -

I know there's a lot of interest and excitement about the possibilities of 3D, but for me there is a simple equation that goes like this:

HD = Stereo
3D = Quadrophonic Sound

The fact that the "nay sayers" were wrong about HD does not mean they are wrong about 3D. The advantages of 3D, like Quadrophonic sound, are real, but not great enough to make up for the inconvenience of the gear required to obtain it.

Even now with the spread of 5.1 home theatre sound systems, most people can't be bothered wiring their rooms for surround speakers.

While I agree with ESPN that their audience and their product is ideal for 3D, I am skeptical of the idea that a large number of couch sitting, beer drinking fans are gonna sit still for the glasses. If the glasses could also help them figure out the spread, then you'd have a winner.

On the other hand, I've been wrong before.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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