Looking for the current example of chicken-and-egg communications dilemma? Look no further than 3D television.
With less than a month remaining in 2011, 3D’s on track to add between 3.5 and 4 million households to the community with such a set to watch, according to Consumer Electronics Association stats. Set prices are the lowest ever, thanks in part to promotions linked to Black Friday. ESPN3D and 3net, half of the four 24/7 U.S.-based 3D services in business (n3D and video-on-demand oriented Xfinity 3D are the other two), are increasing the amount of original content they’re running. More than 50 first-run hours will show up on 3net this month alone, and Fields Of Valor: The Civil War, one new 3net series, was the beneficiary of a supportive New York Times review last week (“The approach gives familiar material a little extra life,” the review noted in part.) and premiere simulcasts over the weekend by sister Discovery Communications diginets Military Channel and Velocity.
Yet many critics of the TV medium remain steadfast that 3D will not follow high-definition in generating mass acceptance. When they raise their voices or blogs to argue the case, out peeps the chicken-and-egg argument. On the chicken side: people won’t watch 3D regularly if the content isn’t proliferating and widely available. For the egg beaters: you can’t make enough attractive content if the set population isn’t there. Aye, there’s the stalemate.
It’s easy to suggest chicken or egg make the first move to break the ice and give 3D any shot of working as mass medium in the long run. Let’s not be easy about this; consider it’s time to pluck the chicken and crack this egg together. By this time next year, if 3D TV doesn’t move off and up the needle, it may never do so.
What will it take? Going back to our chicken coop, it will take more 3D services cranking up imaginative content alongside ESPN3D, 3net and company. It will take a popular broadcast or cable TV program or two willing to move in and set some 3D benchmarks to attain. Plus it will take a few more visionaries like James Cameron to exercise their 3D visions via TV and stimulate public interest.
In the egg hatch, wider service distribution is job one. Cable, satellite and overbuild operators must clear these services to give them a fair shot at success. Every TV set maker should be making promotion of content as important as promotion of their own products. At some point in 2012, much earlier than later, all TV set makers must get behind one common 3D glasses technology that works with all 3D set models. From there, all TV set makers must focus their handiwork on glasses-free 3D that you watch from any angle.
We’ve got a critical year upcoming for 3DTV, where at the end, there’s light or permanent black at the end of the tunnel. Instead of playing the game of which goes first, the chicken or the egg, how about everyone goes? For all 3D believers, it may end up the only way out.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!