& 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
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?
P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting, 2/13/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.