CTAM Summit: Moving from HD to 3D 'different from move from SD to HD'

3DTV is in its earliest stages, but consumers will embrace the experience once there is made-for-3D content available--even with the built-in aversion to using glasses to do so, according to a panel of 3D programmers at the CTAM Summit in New Orleans.

While admittedly not on the technical side of the business, the panelists were less inclined to worry about bandwidth issues and more inclined to see the rosy side of consumer acceptance of the technology, warts and all.

"The adoption of HD is still in the growth phase," said Tom Cosgrove, president-CEO of 3DNet, the joint venture between Sony, Discovery Communications and iMAX. "There is plenty of room in the market for people to replace (existing standard or high definition TVs) or still get that first (3D) set."

Cosgrove conceded that "there will still be the glasses issue" and that bandwidth to run 3D over a cable system might initially be a problem that will probably be resolved by "various compression technologies that I couldn't explain."

Phil Orlins, coordinating producer of X Games Event Production for ESPN had a better handle on the technology; today, he said, it takes more bandwidth on the trip from the event to the studio but ESPN is able to squash it all into a single HD channel but "We do hope down the road that it will be a pair of HD signals. Bandwidth has not been a big stumbling block for us."

The biggest stumbling block, all the panelists agreed, is content; there's not enough right now to whet a mass consumer appetite. Converting traditional 2D fare into 3D could help that "but it just doesn't look as good," said Louis Tarantino, director/executive producer of Flight 33 Productions.

On the other hand, he said, the cost of putting together 3D programming is now within reason.

"People say you can't do 3D on a cable budget but we figured out a way to do it," he concluded.

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