What started at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in January as a frenzy over 3D TVs and manufacturer commitments to start selling them, has become a rush to "wow" consumers. Meanwhile, some TV service providers that also create content are generating and hoarding their 3D programming.
The following Verizon view of the 3D TV market and the company's commitment to it should be attributed to Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon:
"Verizon believes that new technology - especially entertainment opportunities as great as 3D TV promises to be - must be accommodated and delivered rationally and superbly, just as we have done with our HD TV offering. As the industry transitions to stereoscopic 3D, we are developing a broad 3D offering focused on sustainable, ongoing 3D entertainment options that can be offered to all FiOS TV customers who buy one of the new stereoscopic 3D television sets. As we have done with HD, our commitment will be to bring the broadest range of 3D programming to the marketplace, supported by a best-in-class user experience. Today, we fulfill that promise with up to 140 HD channels and thousands of HD VOD titles. Ultimately, we expect to provide the same industry leadership with 3D.
"The market for 3D TV is very early in its development. We're monitoring the early sales of 3D TVs and expect to announce a 3D offering well in advance of the holiday TV-shopping season, when 3D television sales will expand.
"3D content is just now becoming available from a handful of providers like ESPN. As it becomes available, TV service providers like Verizon will negotiate deals to telecast that content. We are in active discussions with a number of companies in the emerging 3D value chain.
"There are content distribution companies that own content and that are simply running demonstration events early in the evolution of 3D. These early events seem to be aimed at the viewers who just went through the challenge of getting the best HD sets. Some content owners have elected to specifically exclude Verizon and other competitive distributors from carriage of these 3D events in an effort to advantage their distribution businesses. Others have fixed ridiculously high prices for the content. Verizon's position is that integrated operators should not withhold programming options from the marketplace, and that consumers should have the freedom to choose the distributor that best meets their needs.
"Technological challenges remain, as technology that enables TVs and set-top boxes to adjust the set to display 3D content has not been perfected or distributed, causing a major viewing hassle for consumers.
"Verizon's intent for our formal 3D offering is to be in the market in time for the holiday sales of 3D TVs, with a product worthy of our customers. Our goal is to offer a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, not via ponderous access to the TV's setup menu. By then, we expect to have access to good 3D content and to have chosen our mode of delivery, whether full-time or part- time broadcast service, or via video on demand and to what measure as pay-per-view material.
"We have proved ourselves by leveraging our all-fiber network to deliver the top-rated TV service in the country, with the best HD and the broadest viewing choices. We'll do it again with 3D."