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3DTV: Sexy But Impractical?

CBS has floated the idea of a 24-hour 3D cable network stocked with its shows, but not all operators are gung-ho on the format (see CBS Testing Waters For 3D Cable Net: Sources).

Note that 3DTVs aren’t going to hit critical mass for several years, and consumers have expressed irritation with the glasses and are put off by the perceived high cost of 3D televisions (see Slow Ramp For 3DTVs In 2011: SNL Kagan and 3DTV Tickles Interest But Most Consumers Aren’t Sold Yet: Survey).

For Insight Communications, “we’re dipping our toe in the water with 3D on demand,” Melani Griffith, SVP of programming and video services, told me.

She went on, “It feels very sexy but I don’t know how real it is. Like a DeLorean car, it looks sexy but I’m not sure how practical it is.”

Comcast, for its part, has moved quickly on the 3D front, launching ESPN 3D and its own Xfinity 3D network (see Comcast To Launch 24-Hour ‘Xfinity 3D’ Channel).

“We’ve been disappointed but not surprised by the lack of adoption on the 3D front,” said Marcien Jenckes, Comcast’s SVP and GM of video services. Like HD, “that’s also a richer format that we believe we can have a leadership position in.”

Is Comcast’s action on 3D a response to DirecTV — also a first mover in 3DTV — and the fact that the cable operators had to play catch-up on the HD front after DirecTV took the lead on channel count several years ago?

Jenckes responded, “I wouldn’t look at 3D as a ‘lesson learned’ from the HD front… We as a company spend a lot of time and energy talking with consumers about what engages them. Our desire to be aggressive on 3D is based on what consumers have told us.”


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