Video services

Verizon Unveils 3D VoD Service

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has emerged as the first service provider to roll out Avail-TVN 's 3D video-on-demand (VoD) service, starting off with a menu of movie titles that will cost $1 to $2.50 more than high-definition 2D movies. (See Avail-TVN Boots Up 3D-VoD Service .)

Avail-TVN isn't saying how many 3D VoD titles it's launching with Verizon (though FiOS TV subscribers should feel free to share that information on the message boards below). It did, though, reference some titles that will become available "over the coming months," including The Last Airbender, Saw: The Final Chapter, Alpha and Omega, and Piranha. [Ed note: Are those titles really supposed to attract people to the service?]

The pay-per-view VoD offering is the first 3D product from Avail-TVN. The company is also developing two linear 3D channels: a premium pay-per-view channel with movies, concerts, and other events; and a free, promotional network that will let 3DTV owners check out the 3D fare. (See Avail-TVN: All 3D, All the Time.)

Avail-TVN is expected to launch those in 2011, starting with part-time linear channels that follow the rollout model adopted recently by ESPN. (See ESPN Jumps Into the 3DTV Game .)

To ensure that stereoscopic 3D signals work on legacy set-top boxes, Avail-TVN is using a "frame-compatible" approach that fuses together two half-resolution high-definition signals.

In Verizon's case, its set-tops will still require a "minor" firmware update to accommodate the new 3D signals.

However, the telco should be ready to go as it's already been offering some 3D content prior to the Avail-TVN launch, and has been preparing to support an influx of new 3D content in time for the upcoming 2010 holiday (Thanksgiving) season. And, all the while, it's been having fun jabbing at cable's early 3DTV offerings. (See Verizon Expands 3DTV Plans, Cablevision, Verizon Set Stage for 3DTV Battle , and Verizon Derides Cable 3DTV Efforts.)

Although Verizon's is its first announced 3D partner, Avail-TVN is marketing its new packages to cable operators, too. Its current base of customers includes major MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Charter Communications Inc. , Cox Communications Inc. , and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC).

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:18:24 PM
re: Verizon Unveils 3D VoD Service

For those who are keeping score on the formatting front, Avail-TVN is starting off with side-by-side in 1080i, and top/bottom in 720p, referring to how the right eye and left eye images are being transported in the video stream.  The 3DTV combines those two half-resolution HD signals into one, which creates the 3D effect.  Also, Avail-TVN is making its 3D signals available in mpeg-2 and mpeg-4.. but it almost has to do that so it doesn't leave any deals on the table since there are plenty of SPs out there that aren't doing mpeg-4 yet. JB


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