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August 28, 2006

FOX Sports Developing New 3D Technology?

According to a story that originated in the New York Post recently, the Fox Sports Channel is returning to examining a long-researched television format: three-dimensional TV. While the drive to high-definition continues, as I wrote about on Saturday, this cable network is, according to the story, in the process of developing a 3-D technology that does not require viewers to wear the goofy-looking glasses that I had to wear when my wife and I went to see Spy Kids 3D in the theaters a few years ago. (Yes, we were college kids watching a movie with a bunch of 9-year-olds, and I still contest that the moment in which George Clooney morphed into Sylvester Stallone is one of the scariest moments in cinematic history).

The chairman of the company was quoted as saying that it will happen "in the next 10 years" and that it will "be as big as color."

James Hibberd with TelevisionWeek reports on various other 3-D developments, particularly in the video game industry and with cellular phone screens, that make such technology discussions more possible, and he points out the South Korean government's drive for "3-D Vision 2010," to develop 3-D as a worldwide standard by 2010.

FOX Sports feels that 3-D will be especially valuable to sports broadcasts, and I would agree that the 3-D format could transform the way the game is displayed and understood. But, considering how little we really understand 3-D since we've never seen great examples of it other than things you have to wear the glasses for, it's hard to know what this might mean.

Does this mean that all the research into HD will eventually be for naught, if 3-D presentation eventually becomes the norm? These are the types of questions William Uricchio, one of the directors of our programs here at CMS, likes to mull over. FOX Sports claims that it's not being nearly as aggressive in HD research because its 3-D research will supersede that. We'll find out soon enough, I guess.

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