Cable, no doubt worried about being behind the 3DTV tennis ball (billiards has yet to be put into multi-dimensions so it's tough to use an 8-ball analogy), has pushed forward with R&D that lets developers and programmers build content around cable's parameters.
Despite lukewarm support for the overall concept and actual antipathy towards wearing silly glasses to watch programming, the industry's bellwether, CableLabs, has published a specification to guide programmers and aggregators into ways to format content for use by cable television systems.
According to Jim Occhiuto, VP of technology and engineering at Showtime Networks, the spec includes "definitions for signaling 3D content over existing digital video infrastructure that uses either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 coding" which, in a CableLabs news release, he called "critical" to "simplifying the user experience when going from 2D to 3D."
Now to the tennis ball analogy. While CableLabs is pushing forward with industry specifications, DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), in a deal with Panasonic, is showing the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 3D.
That sort of programming exclusivity, incidentally, could be hurting, not helping the fledgling 3D cause because it is "further limiting an already small pool of potential viewers," Marguerite Reardon alertly notes in CNET News.
3DTV set makers optimistic it's got a bright future
3D TV: Did the Masters start the ball rolling?
Panasonic, DirecTV team for 3 new 3D TV channels