The transition to digital TV opens so many new possibilities that were once only figments of imaginations. The HDTV revolution seems to be maturing at an alarmingly fast rate. As all networks clamor to meet current widescreen standards, 3D HDTV isn’t merely gestating. It’s being born.
Panasonic and Sony have been demonstrating 3D HDTV screens in other electronics shows for the past year. It appears that 3D TV models may start becoming available within 2010. Many production studios are releasing movies in 3D. The success of the recent release, Avatar, demonstrates an enthusiastic appeal. Now it appears that speculation may become relaity as content and distribution networks partner to create 3D television within 2010.
Sony, the Discovery Channel and IMAX Tuesday announced plans to launch the first-ever dedicated 3D television network, which will debut in 2011. In a separate announcement, ESPN said it will launch a 3D channel of its own later this summer, in time to broadcast the World Cup soccer tournament in June.
Three of the world’s leading media, technology and entertainment companies – Discovery Communications, Sony Corporation and IMAX Corporation announced a joint venture to be established to develop the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network in the U.S. The partnership brings together three leaders with an extraordinary collection of award-winning 3D content, technology expertise, television distribution and operational strength to deliver a high-quality three-dimensional viewing experience to home television audiences. The joint venture intends to launch the network beginning in the U.S.
Discovery, Sony, through its U.S. affiliate, Sony Corporation of America, and IMAX each will be equal partners in the joint venture. It will be launched in the U.S., with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3D televisions and giving the network long-term leadership in the 3D home marketplace. In the future, the companies also will explore international distribution opportunities in selected markets. The new 3D network will feature high-quality premium content from genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology, motion pictures and children’s programming from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMAX and other third-party providers.
Another 3D venture is being planned by ESPN. ESPN has been testing ESPN 3D for more than two years. Last fall, ESPN produced the USC vs. OSU college football game which was shown in select theaters as well as to 6,000 fans at the Galen Center on USC’s campus. ESPN has developed best practices for utilizing the technology in live game applications which have provided ESPN the ability to streamline workflow operations, adjust 3D camera positioning, test transmission and gauge fan reaction to a 3D telecast versus a traditional telecast.
ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico. Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, and college football, which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011.
Like theaters, both Sony and Panasonic TV technologies require use of 3D viewing glasses. New rapid refresh screens allow alternate images to display at ultrafast rates to deliver the 3D effect. It’s likely that viewers may be able to choose 2D or 3D as their viewing preference on these anticipated TV models.
If we are to predict consumer trends for Christmas 2010 and 2011, it’s likely that 3D TV and Video hardware will address prominent attention from the buying public.