April 2, 2010
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) today offered its view of the 3DTV picture, dismissing some current cable efforts as more hype than substance and promising its own 3D service before the 2010 holiday shopping season.
In a prepared statement released Friday, Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon, said the market for 3DTV "is very, very early in its development" and that 3D content is only generally available from a handful of sources, such as ESPN (its part-time 3D channel will launch in June). Verizon is in negotiations with 3D content providers to include their content in its offer. (See ESPN Jumps Into the 3DTV Game , DirecTV First to Commit to ESPN 3D, and Discovery Prez: New 3D Net Will Need 6MHz .)
Verizon "is focused on sustainable, on-going 3D entertainment options that can be offered to any and all FiOS TV customers who buy one of the new stereoscopic 3D television sets," Strickland said in his statement.
That means developing a 3DTV offer that does not require a new set-top box but would enable customers who buy new 3DTV sets to take them home and use them immediately, according to Verizon spokeswoman Heather Wilner.
"Our goal is to be ready when the market is ready," she says.
In the prepared statement, Verizon criticized cable operators who have run 3D demonstration events using their own content and excluded Verizon and others from offering that content.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) negotiated such a deal with the Augusta National Golf Club to distribute the Masters Golf Tournament only to cable operators, cutting out competitors such as Verizon, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV). (See Masters 3DTV Coverage Exclusive to Cable and Comcast Courts Early 3DTV Adopters.)
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) earlier this year carried a demonstration event in 3D, delivering a New York Rangers hockey game on its MSG network. (See Cablevision, Verizon Set Stage for 3DTV Battle ).
Verizon and Cablevision have fought previously over Cablevision's refusal to let Verizon carry MSG's HD content.
"Verizon's position is that integrated operators should not withhold programming options from the marketplace and that consumers should have the freedom to choose the distributor that best meets their needs," Strickland said in his prepared statement. (See DirecTV Won't Give Cable Access to 3D Nets.)
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading
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