Video services

Will Cheaper Conversion Boost 3DTV?

A Hollywood technology firm says it has a new process for converting 2-D episodic TV shows to 3-D that cuts the costs dramatically and would enable service providers to build up libraries of 3-D content rapidly.

Advanced Digital Services (ADS) says it is using proprietary but not patented technology that combines existing conversion techniques to alter 2-D content on a scene-by-scene basis, rather than frame-by-frame, at a cost that is 3 percent to 5 percent of current conversion costs. (See ADS Improves 3-D Conversion Process.)

The thinking is that video service providers, including telcos, will want to build up a library of on-demand content that can be viewed in 3-D as they look to drive interest in the category and generate additional revenue.

"This has passed the major studios' test," says Tom Engdahl, president and CEO of ADS. "We think we have broken new ground here in terms of getting existing TV shows converted."

The technology can be used to create new boxed sets of DVDs, as well as for broadcast and pay-TV programming, Engdahl says.

Why this matters
3-D programming has been hyped but not widely adopted, in part because of limited programming. ESPN and Discovery Channel are among the few major content producers pushing 3-D at this point. If more programming becomes available, that would spur the sales of 3-D TV sets and potentially generate more interest by consumers in paying more for 3-D subscriptions, as they once paid more for HDTV.

At a time when video service profits are slim, this could represent a new source of revenue, although there's no guarantee it will last. HD is now considered part of the regular service package for most subscription TV services.

For more
Here's a look at other 3-D video developments:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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