Sunday, January 10, 2010
ESPN3 Will Come With A "D"
It will be June when ESPN will launch yet another television network. Unlike the many others that have extended the ESPN brand, the risk of this project is daunting.
At a time when many Americans are struggling financially, competition is once again pushing the providers of original television programming to use the latest technology regardless of cost. The result is that the new ESPN3 will come with a "D."
Click here to review the recent article recapping ESPN's plans in USA Today. Here is an excerpt:
The venerable sports network will launch ESPN 3D on June 11 with a World Cup soccer match, creating what it says will be the first all three-dimensional television network to the home. ESPN 3D expects to showcase at least 85 live sporting events during the first year. They'll be no reruns initially, so the network will be dark when there's no 3D event. ESPN is committing to the 3D network through June 2011.
Let's answer some 3D TV questions. Yes, you do need an entirely new TV to see this product. Yes, they are expensive. Yes, you still need those wonderful 3D glasses to watch each program. Yes, you will be paying your cable service or home satellite dish provider more for the 3D programming.
Panasonic is one of the manufacturers that is right in the middle of the 3D television movement. Click here for an article suggesting sales of new 3D TV's may top one million in the next year.
As the article relates, Panasonic will partner with DirecTV to get three channels of 3D programming, including sports, up and running this summer in the same time frame as ESPN. There is little doubt that DirecTV will try to keep as much of that 3D programming exclusive to the home satellite dish service as possible.
ESPN has not been immune to the financial realities of the world. Click here for an explanation of how the media company is partnering with Sony to actively get involved in 3D sports. In fact, ESPN has already completed sponsorship deals with Sony for 3D sports telecasts.
NASCAR's Chase for the Championship belongs to ESPN and ABC. In fact, the company televises the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races of the season beginning with the Brickyard. Few sporting events can match the visual images of a NASCAR race. NASCAR in 3D might be something that could contribute to the rebirth of the sport after a tough couple of seasons.
While the NBA and NFL have already experimented with this technology, NASCAR has just completed the long process of building and staffing a new studio and office complex in downtown Charlotte, NC. The entire facility is geared toward High Definition television production and video storage. 3D technology was not on the list.
With ESPN, DirecTV and the entertainment industry driving the 3D boom, there is little doubt that NASCAR will eventually have to seriously consider the 3D potential of live race telecasts and archived footage for future use.
One significant issue is that for sports TV networks to offer both HD and 3D telecasts, they have to use two completely different sets of equipment. That means two crews, two production teams, two satellite transmission pathways and lots of extra cost. The picture above is of a 3D television camera.
As this technology and agenda advances, we will keep NASCAR fans updated on if and when it may enter the sport. There seems to be little doubt that there is now a strong push to move this technology forward as quickly as possible.
Amid all this fancy new technology, one thing is for sure. It will come at a higher cost to the what networks call "end users." Unfortunately...that would be us.
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