Skip to content

3net’s Cosgrove addresses the future of 3D and 4K | Forbes

October 18, 2012

From Forbes by John Gaudiosi on 10/18/12

While Hollywood still capitalizes on 3D blockbuster movies like Paramount Pictures’ Titanic, Sony Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man and Walt Disney Studios’ Brave and The Avengers, things have moved a lot slower on the 3D broadcasting front. One of the main problems with getting even early adopters to upgrade from their HD TV to a 3D HD TV has been a dearth of quality programming. There’s also been continued consumer confusion over competing 3D technologies like passive and active and the lack of an industry-wide 3D standard (although everything has been migrating to passive 3D of late).

Just recently, Hollywood studios like 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have flooded the Blu-ray 3D TV market with releases like Avatar, Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and I, Robot; but there hasn’t been much in the form of strong 3D content to watch on 3D networks – the few that exist.

3net, a joint venture from Sony, Discovery and IMAX, hopes to change that with the newly formed 3net Studios. The new global television program production and distribution division will have a bicoastal presence at Sony Pictures headquarters in Los Angeles, CA and Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Tom Cosgrove, President and CEO, 3net and 3net Studios, discusses the current 3D home landscape and explains how the future still looks bright for 3D programming in this exclusive interview.

What role, if any, will the 3D games that have come our or are coming out (like Black Ops II) play in getting people to buy 3D TVs?

The lack of content has been a key limiter to adoption. So the more 3D content, games, programming, educational formats, etc. that get out in front of consumer will only help widespread adoption.

What role has confusion with different types of 3D technology played in the dearth of 3D TVs in homes, at least in the US?

We’re finding that the 3D platform is expanding at many times the historical rate of HD. It’s still very early days for 3D and the same questions were certainly posed to the HD pioneers. The different types of technology don’t seem to have had a negative impact, but of course the technology continues to improve and with the rollout of all of these glasses free 3D technologies from so many companies now, expect more growth.

What impact do you think autostereo 3D will have on this industry when people can eliminate the 3D glasses?

It will be a very positive thing. When 3D in the home gets to the point that a viewer can just flip the channel and watch a program in 3D (as they do now on all other 2D channels), certainly a barrier will have been removed.

I have had a Vizio 3D TV for years and there’s not a single thing on any 3D channel that I’d want to watch outside of some ESPN 3D sports programming. HD TV seemed to get into creative content much quicker than 3D. What’s been the hold-up for 3D?

If you have DIRECTV you’ll see a wide variety of programming from 3net as well as several other options on their service for in-home 3D entertainment. Remember that It took a very, very long time for HD content to become commonplace. In the early days of HD (like 3D) there were only a handful of “pioneers” making HD content, as the platform was not fully developed. Several major entertainment companies were not fully embracing HD until just a few years ago. And so we’re at the same life stage now with 3D.  It might have seemed like HD simply took off, but it took time for the platform and content to be growing at the same rate.

What goes into the decision-making process of what makes for good 3D TV and how do some of these shows make it to air? And who are they being developed for?

We look first and foremost for great stories. And then we look to insure that the project can be enhanced by the creative medium that 3D provides. We always ask ourselves how can we use the medium to more fully immerse the viewer and give them a deeper engagement with both the characters and the story.

Can you talk about 3net Studios and what type of programming you expect to release?

It is consistent with the diverse kinds of programming genres we’ve produced at 3net – both in the fiction and non-fiction space.  Everything from kids and family, natural history, action/adventure, travel, music, scripted and more.

There are many people, especially early adopters, that just think 3D is a fad as far as the home is concerned. What needs to be done to win this majority over?

We would counter that there also are many more that don’t think 3D is a fad. Look at the film business – the majority of consumers are now choosing the premium priced 3D product over 2D when given an option. We expect the same to happen in the home as more and more quality content becomes available. But we really see 3D as complimentary experience to HD, not something that is intended to replace it.

We saw all the networks switch to HD TV programming for hit shows. How far away is that, if at all, for 3D?

There are currently some barriers to broadcasting in both 3D and HD simultaneously, but those technical breakthroughs are on the horizon. So we expect more and more entertainment companies and networks to experiment with the 3D medium in the near future.

What impact do you see 4K TVs having on the marketplace? How much more consumer confusion could 4K add to the HD and 3D TV market?

From our perspective, 4K only makes the 3D proposition better, as it allows for a higher resolution viewing experience overall, just like 4K does for HD. The 4K “baby” – if you will – has just been born, so it will take some time to mature. But we are happy to be a part of the dawn of 4K in the very early stages of this phenomenal technology and help nurture its growth.

What kind of leap is there for 4K programming?

It’s really about the retinal experience and the amount of detail and resolution 4K can pack into the – be it 2D or 3D.  It’s unlike anything we’ve dealt with as a storytelling medium before.

When will the price points become mass market for this tech?

Just like all new technology, the initial entry point for the earliest of adopters will be only be obtainable at a somewhat premium price point, but we expect 4K consumer electronics to follow a similar path like we’ve seen with HD and then HD 3D. The costs to consumers should continue to fall resulting in wider adoption of the format.

Will 4K TVs also support 3D?

Absolutely. We know all of the current 4K models from various companies are 3D sets, and it is our understanding that this will be the case going forward as the industry refines the consumer offerings.

Can networks film in 4K and 3D simultaneously?

We have already begun to do that today. It’s an integral part of our TotalD strategy, which allows for filming in native 3D 4K, 2D 4K, 3D 2K and both 3D/2D HD formats — effectively providing a global suite of content solutions for both current and future entertainment platforms and partners worldwide.

Where do you see 3D TV programming five years from now?

It is our expectation that 3DTV will become a vibrant entertainment option available to consumers in the home on a global scale. At this point in our evolution, we see no reason to doubt that growth projection.

3net President Tom Cosgrove Addresses The Future Of 3D And 4K Broadcasting – Forbes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: