3DTV: Proceed with caution

A number of barriers need to be overcome and issues need to be addressed for the broadcast and pay-TV industry to see 3DTV as a viable business proposition, according to speakers at a 3DTV Analyst Forum held during IBC.

Doug Sheer, CEO and Chief Analyst, D.I.S. Consulting Corporation, suggested that although 3DTV had drivers such as being able to ride on the back of HDTV, and didn’t face patches and standards battles, possible impediments included doubts about stereographic display, consumer dislike of glasses, shyness about budgets, the likelihood of production equipment being rented rather than purchased, and the lack of purpose built equipment.

Ben Piper, Director, Multiplay Market Dynamics, Digital Consumer Practice, at Strategy Analytics admitted that it was “early days, so forecasts are all over the shop,” in terms of consumer opportunities and challenges, but suggested that major challenges included turning popularity into profitability, market uncertainty, lack of content, and technology challenges.

In terms of revenue generation, Piper warned that in both the UK and US, nearly half of respondents to a Strategy Analytics survey indicated that they would not expect to pay a premium for their 3D service. “These are exciting times, but it’s early days. 3DTV is likely to be more of a niche application; it’s not the next HD,” he said. David Mercer, VP, Digital Consumer Practice, at Strategy Analytics, said that a major communications effort was needed from consumer facing providers.

Brian Lenz, Director of Product Development, BSkyB, which launched its commercial 3DTV service in April, and is currently gearing up for a consumer launch in October, said that it was important for the pay-TV operator to develop a 3DTV proposition that it could do without having to rip out the existing infrastructure, and to have an addressable audience. He contended that 3DTV was a premium product.

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