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SCTE Looks at 3DTV

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) , the cable industry's standards-setting body, says it is investigating what standards would be required to put 3D content on cable networks. The project, dubbed "3D over Cable," will vet out and identify any necessary or desirable changes to existing SCTE standards, including transport protocols. (See SCTE Vetting 3D Cable Standard.)

The 3D project has been assigned to the Society's Digital Video Subcommittee (DVS), which will lead cable-specific activities but will also lean on 3D work already underway at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) .

SCTE has not said when it expects to decide whether the Society will take this beyond the examination stage and pursue a full-fledged standard. However, the subcommittee is scheduled to start 3D project discussions at its meeting next month, according to SCTE VP of standards Steve Oksala.

3D was a hot, hype-filled topic at last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In addition to big-screen movie demos during Sir Howard Stringer's Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) keynote and a 3D simulcast of the BCS championship game at the Paris Hotel, the floor was full of TV models and prototypes that rendered movies and games in 3D format.

The SCTE wants to see if a 3D standard is even necessary, but recall that not all cable guys are that fond of the technology. Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI) chief strategy officer Michael Lee told Cable Digital News at CES that the emergence of 3D video "is an indication that engineers have run out of things to work on." Was he kidding? (See Upchuck TV?)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:11:15 PM
re: SCTE Looks at 3DTV We checked in with SCTE to see when the Society might determine whether a '3D over Cable' standard would be needed. According to an emailed response from SCTE VP of Standards Stephen Oksala, there's no specific timeline set for such a decision, at least not yet:

"At this point I think it is too early to have any particular expectations," Oksala noted. "There are a lot of different ways in which 3D can be implemented, some incompatible with each other. Whether there are changes to existing standards, or one, more than one, or no new standards, will need to be reviewed."
rwintner 12/5/2012 | 4:11:11 PM
re: SCTE Looks at 3DTV There's a great book out "Inventing the Movies" by Scot Kirsner. In it he describes three groups: the innovators, the preservationists, and the Side-liners. It seems to me that Michael Lee is clearly a preservationists and, in my experience, large companies are filled with them. It's hard enough keeping one's position in a big company without having to deal with unsettling new ideas. It also seems to me that the standards bodies, perhaps by charter, are side-liners, waiting for the industry to pick favorites befoe declaring new standards. The lesson: watch the entrepreneurs. 3D is not another short-lived novelty unless the industry choses to screw it up.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:11:10 PM
re: SCTE Looks at 3DTV I'm not so sure about the short-lived part, but it seems to me that 3D has struggled to move past the novelty stage for many years. I saw some of this at CES, and it the latest efforts did look pretty good. But I viewed movie trailers and clips...I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy the experience over long periods, like a two-hour movie. But I do agree that cable, in this case (and many others), do belong in the side-liners category.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:11:07 PM
re: SCTE Looks at 3DTV
3D is not a short-term novelty? Interesting idea, except that it has been twice. First in the 1950s and then again in the 1980s. We will have to see about this time, but I would not assume that it will work this time either.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:11:07 PM
re: SCTE Looks at 3DTV Is seeing believing? The CEA says so today.

This is looks fairly self-serving, but the CEA just issued the results of some research indicating that consumers grow more interested in 3D options as their exposure to them increases.

According to the study, 41 million US adults reported seeing a 3D movie in theaters over the past year, and about 40% of that group said they'd prefer to watch a movie in 3D than that same movie in 2-D. That compares to 23% percent who have not seen a 3D flick in the past 12 months.

Evidently the study found that some were willing to pay a premium for the 3D "experience."

There's more about that study here:
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