& cplSiteName &

Comcast Courts Early 3DTV Adopters

Light Reading
LR Cable News Analysis
Light Reading
3/31/2010
50%
50%

NEW YORK -- While new 3DTVs may only be available in a few thousand US homes, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is gearing up to distribute 3D programming and to appeal to early adopters of the technology.

"It's clearly early in the adoption curve. What's important here is to be innovative and drive the technology and demonstrate to our customers that this is available to them," Comcast SVP and GM of video and entertainment services Derek Harrar said today at an event put on by the MSO to demonstrate how it will deliver 3DTV programming from The Masters golf tournament. (See Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable .)

Asked how many subscribers he expected would be able to view Comcast's 3DTV coverage of The Masters, Harrar said "thousands," which offers an indication on the small fraction of consumers that so far have actually purchased 3D-capable TV sets from manufacturers such as Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC), and (soon) LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) . (See TV Makers: 3D Is Not a Fad.)

But with CE firms bundling 3DTV technology and glasses in new, high-end HDTVs, about 1 million US homes should have 3DTVs by the end of the year, Comcast executives noted, citing recent statistics from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) .

Major programmers are starting to ramp up investments in 3DTV. ESPN plans to launch ESPN 3D in June, timing its debut with the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. And Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is teaming up with Sony and IMAX Corp. to launch a general entertainment 3DTVchannel in 2011. (See ESPN Jumps Into the 3DTV Game and Discovery Prez: New 3D Net Will Need 6MHz .)

DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) is the first distributor to announce a carriage deal for ESPN 3D. Comcast hasn't announced deals to carry ESPN 3D or any other linear 3DTV programming, other than what it will offer from The Masters next month. But Harrar hinted Wednesday that the nation's largest cable MSO would carry new 3DTV networks that are already under development. (See DirecTV Gets More 3DTV Game .)

"We're talking with all of the people that DirecTV talks to," Harrar said. "We’ll all have the same content."

Asked if Comcast would consider charging a premium for 3DTV programming, Harrar said the MSO is still studying distribution models. But he noted that Comcast hasn't previously charged a premium for 3DTV programming, pointing to the 3D movies and events Comcast has offered subscribers using more traditional anaglyphic 3D technology. (See Comcast Tries On 3D VoD .)

New 3DTVs can display programming produced in both side-by-side and top-bottom formats. Comcast's 3D Masters coverage will be produced in side-by-side format. Augusta National contracted ESPN to produce the 3D version.

"We’ve chosen side-by-side here because of the availability of multiplex and transmission equipment," said Comcast fellow Mark Francisco.

The 3D Masters will run in 1080i side-by-side format. But Francisco said Comcast is also looking at other 3D formats, including content that's delivered in 720p.

In its 3D demo today in SportsNet New York's Manhattan studios, Comcast had 3D video that Augusta National Golf Club supplied for The Masters production running on 3DTVs and a laptop computer connected to a 3D display. A pre-production Panasonic 3DTV required passive RealD glasses that cost $1 each to view images in the three-dimensional format. And it had an LG 3DTV that required active shutter glasses, which cost about $150.

Asked if Comcast would consider leasing the more expensive active 3D glasses to consumers, since CE vendors only include one pair with each new 3DTV that relies on those glasses, Harrar said, "I never even thought about it. It's a challenging thing because people lose them."

While Harrar said live sports programming such as The Masters would work well with linear 3D channels, he was bullish on the prospects of distributing video-on-demand 3D programming. Comcast plans to offer subscribers video-on-demand (VoD) highlights in 3D each day from The Masters.

"The most likely viewership pattern is going to be on-demand. You're going to want to get the family together and hit play. It's a natural for on-demand," Harrar said.

Also worth noting from Comcast’s 3DTV presentation Wednesday:

  • Comcast executives anticipate 3D networks occupying half of a 6MHz channel, noting that it expects 3D to use the same amount of bandwidth as 2D-HDTV networks. "It will be exactly the same as carrying another HD channel," Harrar said.

  • Francisco said Comcast is developing a 3D interactive program guide, which displays program listings that appear to jump off the screen.

  • Comcast SVP of video product management Mark Hess said the Denver-based Comcast Media Center (CMC) will also distribute 3D coverage of The Masters via fiber to Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Canadian MSO Shaw Communications Inc. . Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Cox Communications Inc. are also on board, and Comcast plans to offer the feed to other cable MSOs.

  • Francisco said Web surfers with new 3D computer displays will need a 4.5-Mbit/s connection to view the 3D programming at its best quality level via Masters.com. There will also be a version available for users with connections running 2 Mbit/s and slower, he added.

  • Comcast, Augusta, and their technology partners plan to host several VIP viewing receptions at venues nationwide. Consumers will also be able to check out the return of Tiger Woods and other competition from the tournament at Sony Style retail stores.


— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
How the Padres Hit an IoT Home Run
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/25/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.