Monday, June 28, 2010
Tough Sell For Daytona 3D Coverage
TNT announced last week that there would be a 3D experiment at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona. As most sports fans have heard, 3DTV is coming and several media companies are actively involved in developing that technology.
The race telecast is Saturday night at 7:30PM ET. The 3D video was originally going to be made available only through DirecTV and the NASCAR.com website. To view it, fans will need a 3D computer monitor or TV. Yes, you also have to wear the glasses. DirecTV has been at the forefront of distributing 3D sports coverage.
Since that time, three big cable system operators have joined the project. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks will offer the 3D feed on selected cable systems. This really shows the interest of the big cable companies in this new technology.
“One of our goals here at NASCAR is to continuously explore ways to improve the viewing experience for our fans,” said Jay Abraham, COO of the NASCAR Media Group. “Offering the Coke Zero 400 in 3D on NASCAR.COM and select television distributors is a great example of that consistent exploration. Our fans have been asking us about 3D for several months so we’re excited to deliver that to them for the first time ever in what will likely change how NASCAR is consumed moving forward.”
“At Turner Sports we pride ourselves on innovation through testing, learning and exploring new products and technologies that can better serve our audiences on a multitude of platforms,” said Lenny Daniels, Turner Sports EVP and COO. “We see this as an opportunity to showcase our marquee primetime race in Daytona through our signature Wide Open format on TNT, as well as to learn more about 3D through this unique presentation online at NASCAR.COM and through DIRECTV.”
What Abraham and Daniels are talking about is the fact that 3D seems to be the next big thing. ESPN is actively involved in 3D for other sports, but has denied any 3D plans for NASCAR this season. More than likely, moving forward with complete 3D coverage for any race would have to be a financial issue shared by several parties.
Turner operates NASCAR.com and has a working partnership with the NASCAR Media Group that includes video content. This is probably the only race of the season that would make sense for a 3D experiment.
The way this project was explained is that there will be two different 3D channels for the race. Turner explains the first as "strategically placed cameras around the track designed to maximize the effect of 3D." Perhaps, those would be the low-angle "speed shots" that fans are used to seeing.
The second 3D feed will be a designated camera on pit road. Shown above is the TNT jib camera that hangs out over pit road and has been part of RaceBuddy since the network first rolled out that online application. Perhaps, this will be the camera location where a 3D perspective would make the most sense.
As we all know, the curious part of this entire project is that 3D television sets are rare. Looking at prices continues to reinforce the belief that spending over two thousand dollars for a base model 3DTV is not really on the minds of many Americans right now.
As we move forward with more specific information on the Daytona 3D project, we will pass it along. On one hand, it certainly is an interesting step forward in new technology. On the other hand, it's a curious decision to allocate time and resources in this direction when NASCAR TV is struggling with ratings and credibility.
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