WealthTV expands 3D offerings as more programmers look to new format

WealthTV, which in July rolled out an episode of its series on classic cars, "Wealth on Wheels Classic," available in 3D to Verizon's FiOS TV subscribers, says it's taking the plunge into 3D in a big way this year, and is filming 95 percent of its programming in 3D.

The San Diego-based company currently is using beam splitter 3D cameras to film, but will be taking delivery of several of Panasonic's AG-3DA1 integrated twin-lens 3D camera/recorders soon. WealthTV president Charles Herring said content is captured in 1080p but sent out in 1080i side-by-side due to bandwidth limitations.

"We are convinced that if we can offer our customers a better, more realistic viewing experience, that technology will be successful," said Herring. "The question that remains to be seen is if 3D can deliver that goal without any limitation. If it does, 24/7 3D broadcasting is going to take off in a very big way."

While live sporting events currently are driving operators 3D initiatives, more content will provide them with a broader audience.

A recent report from IMS Research said more than 50 content providers and pay-TV operators will be supplying 3D offerings to the home by the end of this year, and more will join the effort as 3D television set adoption by consumers continues to accelerate.

The research said a survey of broadcasters and operators showed that 70 percent plan to test or offer 3D content within the next year and a half, and that more than 20 percent already were active in the 3D ecosystem.

According to IMS, some 9 percent of of worldwide TV households will have a 3D TV set by the end of 2014. Penetration is expected to be much higher in the US, where 40 percent of TV homes at the end of 2014 are forecast to have a 3D TV. 

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