Verizon to offer 3D at year’s end

Fri, 04/02/2010 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

Verizon says it will begin offering 3D “well in advance of the holiday TV-shopping season.”

There’s always hoopla around the latest trend, and 3D is about as trendy a technology as there is in TV this year. There are finally a few 3D TVs available at retail, and 3D some service providers are preparing to eke out the first few dribs of 3D content: DirecTV announced it will start offering 3D channels in June and several cable companies said they’ll broadcast coverage of The Masters golf tournament in 3D.

Verizon is apparently making an effort to not contribute to the hoopla by pointing out that it is not participating in the hoopla.

The company released a statement that says, “What started at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in January as a frenzy over 3D TVs and manufacturer commitments to start selling them, has become a  rush to ‘wow’ consumers. Meanwhile, some TV service providers that also create content are generating and hoarding their 3D programming.”

That’s an apparent reference to The Masters, which is making 3D content available only to cable operators (story here).

Verizon vice president of FiOS product management Shawn Strickland, said “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.  Others have fixed ridiculously high prices for the content.  Verizon's position is that integrated operators should not withhold programming options from the marketplace, and that consumers should have the freedom to choose the distributor that best meets their needs.”

Strickland also said, “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.

“Technological challenges remain, as technology that enables TVs and set-top boxes to adjust the set to display 3D content has not been perfected or distributed, causing a major viewing hassle for consumers,” Strickland continued.

“Verizon's intent for our formal 3D offering is to be in the market in time for the holiday sales of 3D TVs, with a product worthy of our customers.  Our goal is to offer a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, not via ponderous access to the TV's setup menu.  By then, we expect to have access to good 3D content and to have chosen our mode of delivery, whether full-time or part- time broadcast service, or via video on demand and to what measure as pay-per-view material.”

More Broadband Direct 4/02/10:
•  Charter investors buy big chunk of Insight
•  Cable TV Pioneers reveal 2010 inductees
•  Cox Business is hiring
•  Verizon to offer 3D at year's end
•  iPad Prepares for Blast-Off
•  iPad: Here Come the Apps
•  FCC Takes Up USF Reform, Mobile Roaming
•  Sharp Shows 3D Displays for Mobile Devices



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