CBS weighs entry into 3D market


CBS may be bringing 3D versions of its shows to a 24-hour cable network, and it has already demonstrated 2D-to-3D converted programming privately to several operators, according to industry sources familiar with the project.

The broadcast network is considering a strategy to gain distribution for the 3D channel through its retransmission-consent negotiations with cable, satellite and telco TV operators, according to one source.

However, another executive familiar with CBS's 3D tests said the network has not made a definitive decision on whether to move forward. "It is all very preliminary," this source said. "There are no solid plans to launch a network."

CBS is working with Los Angeles-based Dynamic Digital Depth, known as DDD, which uses its 2D-to-3D technology to relatively inexpensively convert existing material into 3D format.

A CBS spokesman declined to comment. DDD had previously declined to identify the broadcast partner it was working with.

According to DDD president and CEO Chris Yewdall, the company is able to convert 2D video into 3D for $10,000 per hour of content using a combination of an automated process with a human stereoscopic engineer.

To date, there has been a fairly limited supply of 3D content available through pay-TV operators since the current wave of 3DTV sets hit the market in early 2010.

ESPN 3D launched last year and converted to a 24-hour service this past February, although the lineup remains largely reruns of previously aired events. The 3Net channel from Discovery/Sony/IMAX has just one distribution deal so far, with DirecTV.

DirecTV and Comcast also both have pieced together their own 3D networks with content from various sources, and InDemand Networks provides several 3D VOD titles to its partners.