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Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Under a distribution deal Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) struck with Augusta National Golf Club , no DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV, or AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse TV subscribers will be able to view The Masters in 3D on their home TVs. (See Masters Going 3D.)

Comcast will distribute a feed of a 3D production from the Masters next month through its Colorado-based Comcast Media Center (CMC) facility to its cable systems as well as those operated by several other major MSOs. So far, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , and Bright House Networks plan to offer the 3D golf programming from Augusta to their subscribers.

UPDATE: A Bright House official confirmed that the MSO will not be carrying the Masters in 3D this year. It typically works with Time Warner Cable on such rollouts, but has opted instead to see how the first 3DTV "viewing room" goes for TWC, and then decide how Bright House might proceed with 3DTV in the future.

While only a small number of early adopters that have bought new 3D televisions from Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), and other manufacturers will actually be able to view the programming in 3D using stereoscopic glasses, the 3D Masters will allow Comcast and the other major cable MSOs to tout their technological prowess as an advantage over DirecTV and other rivals.

Comcast isn't the first pay TV provider to invest in exclusive 3D programming -- DirecTV plans to launch a 24-hour 3DTV network, a pay-per-view 3D channel, and a video-on-demand 3D channel exclusively to its subscribers in June. (See DirecTV Won't Give Cable Access to 3D Nets.)

Augusta National Golf Club contracted ESPN to produce a dedicated 3D feed from The Masters, using about 10 3D cameras, which will be focused mostly on the back nine holes at Augusta.

While ESPN and CBS usually feature many close-up shots during golf broadcasts, the 3D production will feature more angles from the players' perspective, including scenic shots that show the contours of the course. The 3D images will also be more immersive, including shots from the gallery's perspective and images that capture the water hazards, and what a golf ball looks like in 3D when a golfer blasts it out of a sand trap.

Comcast has offered 3D programming to its subscribers previously, using the more traditional analglyphic process, which relies on old-school red and green glasses. In 2008, it began offering 3D movies and events, including My Bloody Valentine, Hannah Montana: The Movie, and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. (See Comcast Tries On 3D VoD .)

While any viewer can watch anaglyphic content with 3D glasses, The Masters 3D fare can only be viewed on new 3D-capable television sets. A new network that ESPN plans to launch in June, and a 3D network that Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), Sony and IMAX Corp. plan to launch in 2011, will also only be able to be viewed on this new class of 3D sets. (See ESPN Jumps Into the 3DTV Game and Discovery Prez: New 3D Net Will Need 6MHz .)

Comcast plans to dedicate a 6MHz channel on each of its cable systems to carry the 3D feed from Augusta. Subscribers on Comcast and other cable systems offering the 3D feed from Augusta will also need a high-definition set-top box connected via an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable to a 3DTV in order to view the programming in the advanced format. [Ed note: The dedicated 3D channel will show about two hours of live footage per day, according to the Comcast blog.]

The Masters, considered by many golfers the most prestigious championship in the sport, will be in an even bigger spotlight this year. Top-ranked golfer Tiger Woods announced today that he will return to professional golf at The Masters, five months after crashing a Cadillac Escalade outside of his Florida home, and later revealing that he had been unfaithful to his wife.

In addition to the 3D feed being distributed by several cable MSOs, Sony plans to install 3DTVs in hospitality tents and other locations throughout the golf course to showcase the technology. Sony is also teaming up with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to distribute The Masters in 3D via steaming video on the Web to 3D capable computers.

— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 4:41:02 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable If you look at Jeff's post on the "exclusive" 3D content that DirecTV is planning, they will basically be taking available 3D content and programming it on an "event" channel for customers who have 3D capable TVs. There isn't a "channel" to sell to or withold from competitors. This is the same scenario for Comcast and the other MSOs with the Masters content in 3D.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:41:06 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Yep, timing on this one is not so great considering... but wonder if that'll change when this sort of decision impacts more than a sliver of a sliver of the populaton, since very few will even be able to see view this in 3d.  And what is it about 3dTV and exclusivity, anyway?  DirecTV's already indicated that it'll keep its 3d "channels" all to itself when those launch later this year. JB

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 4:41:07 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Last I'd heard, Comcast was awaiting regulatory approval for a big content acquisition that they really, really want to do.  Last I'd heard, there were a lot of other interested parties who were really, really concerned that vertical integration was going to hurt competition (or, rather, competitors) in the distribution market.  Also last I'd heard, Comcast was trying to assure the regulators that they were not going to deny content to their distribution competitors. 


So what's this about again?  Is it just me, or are the optics of it really, really bad?

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:41:09 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Good to know. I thought OldPOTS had been using that new voice-to-text app. on Android.

KC 12/5/2012 | 4:41:10 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

This from Chris Williams, our Web Development Manager:

Pasting from Word is a problem for the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool because when you're using Windows and you copy from Word, a lot of extra garbage is added to what you copy. The tool scrapes out what it can by default, but to effectively paste from Word, you have to use the "Paste from Word" button on the bottom line of icons under the comment entry box (it's second from the right).








Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:41:11 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Here's what OldPOTS was trying to say.  (Sorry about the formatting trouble, OP - we'll look into it.)


-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-


my pasionate gamer son had a 3d setup with a quaraphonic chair given to him and others several years ago. i even have those blinking glasses and chair in the garage (won't have to buy any).

the marketing significance of this is that even gung ho gamers found the 3d to be too much of an annoyance and gave it up. now there are more aceptance of fancy video now than several years ago, but gamers gave it up!

i initial heard that someone was working on a dual layered screen that did not require the glasses which i believe would be acceptable. anyone else know??

op



-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-


And in response to OP, I'd note: There's a company -- name escapes me -- that is indeed working on a 3D television screen that doesn't require glasses.  They exhibited at CES in 2010 and, I believe, in 2009.


I didn't see the demo... one person who did told me it gave them a headache, and I suspect I'd have the same experience.


 

OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 4:41:11 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

fix the post page please!!!!!!$%^&*()_$%^&*()_+|%^&*()_


op

OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 4:41:12 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

my pasionate gamer son had a 3d setup with a quaraphonic chair given to him and others several years ago. i even have those blinking glasses and chair in the garage (won't have to buy any).


the marketing significance of this is that even gung ho gamers found the 3d to be too much of an annoyance and gave it up. now there are more aceptance of fancy video now than several years ago, but gamers gave it up!


i initial heard that someone was working on a dual layered screen that did not require the glasses which i believe would be acceptable. anyone else know??


op

desiEngineer 12/5/2012 | 4:41:12 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable

Lol @ steaming video.


"Sony is also teaming up with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to distribute The Masters in 3D via steaming video on the Web to 3D capable computers"


Is that the Tiger Woods show?


-desi


Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 4:41:12 PM
re: Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable Bring on 3D Curling!
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