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.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.

38 comments:

longtimeracefan said...

Are you kidding me, Turner/TNT/NASCAR Media Group, can barely get RaceBuddy to work without major problems. To think that this hokey pokey 3-D thing will be anything but a bust is absurd.

Gary said...

Looks like about $1500 will get the Asus G51J-3D notebook to let you see the race in 3D, and then you still have a nice notebook for the rest of the week!

Richard in N.C. said...

If I am not pleased with the camera views that the networks chooses to provide now, why would I want to invest money in hardware to still be limited to what the networks choose to put on the screen in 3D? I would rather pay for Track Pass and have some choice of my own. I'd rather the networks invest in improved content than new toys. A pig in a bright tutu is still a pig.

Anonymous said...

There are some who think 3D is the future of television.

There are some who simply think 3D televisions are an industry solution to the fact that big-screen HDTVs have dropped dramatically in price that they need something expensive again to generate cash.

I'm not sure which I believe, but I do know this: No more than 1000 people (and maybe 1/5th that) even have the home equipment to participate in this experiment, and how many of them are NASCAR fans? So, to me this is mainly a gimmick.

Anonymous said...

Here's a brilliant idea: If you want to see NASCAR in 3D, how about you go and BUY A TICKET TO A RACE!!! In case you haven't noticed, prices are way down and there are plenty of seats available. A live ticket even comes with Surround Sound and Smell-o-Vision. Oh, and no in-car cam, either.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Here's a suggestion TNT:

Don't attempt 3-D until you get your ratings and viewership in line. Now is not the time to experiment.

The national impeach Brian Frace committee is responsible for the content of this message.

earl06 said...

I really don't see the point in this. Who will be watching the 3D feed? I don't know anybody who has a 3D set, or is even thinking of getting one.

Maybe 10 years down the road, 3Dtv will be commonplace, but I seriously doubt it. This technology is going to be a flop as far as consumers is concerned.

GinaV24 said...

"our fans have been asking for it". Really? How many people actually have 3D tv's? I know I don't and I already wear glasses to read, so having to buy and change to 3D glasses doesn't appeal to me.

I don't see the point in buying a computer monitor for this limited use purpose either.

Plus, half the time the camera work isn't that great to begin with so why would I want a 3D version of an already bad shot?

Just one more thing for the cable companies to jump on and charge the consumer more money to have. Sorry, right now, I'm not willing to spend more.

Gary said...

I have about as much a chance buying a new HDTV as #48 does namimg his new little girl...Junior.

Now, if NASCAR had partnered with a retailer like Costco, Sam's Club etc. for for race-fan special incredible 3D HDTV pricing, months ago it may have been of some help.

Donna in FL said...

I'll be happy to have a look when my cable system upgrades my equipment for free. But even then, can't promise I'll like it.

While I understand the media content producers & providers are desperately looking for a way to get audience numbers up again, I feel this is not the way to do it. This feels like laser disc & Beta VCR: both hugely hyped but ultimately consumer rejected.
What must be done is improvement to their current presentations. For petes sake the K&N Pro East & West races aren't even shot in HD yet!

I agree that the best possible 3D experience is actually going to a race!!!

MRM4 said...

I feel like 3DTV is being crammed down our throats. It's the "in" thing now since movies are being produced and shown in 3D. But with a decent percentage of people still not having HDTV, the 3DTV thing is just a niche thing. I don't think it will ever fully catch on.

yankeegranny said...

Wouldn't it have been nice for TNT to have offered to show the race with a split screen during the commercials. Oh. I guess it is too much to ask for Turner to give the fans something that makes sense and would really be appreciated. Guess this will be another weekend watching the race on RaceView on the computer and the sound down on the big screen TV.Best of all possible worlds and most of the time I can find out why the caution flag came out.
I will give TNT credit this last weekend for showing more of the side by side racing back in the field. Was that because JR was involved in most of it, or are they finally listening to fan complaints?

West Coast Diane said...

Guess new things have to start sometime! But won't be with me!

I remember reading about and then seeing a "flat panel" TV which ran about $20K. Even though I worked in hi tech,I never thought I would own one...shame on me. Did wait quite some time to get an HDTV. Price and working out the bugs my gating items.

Anon 1:23...I'm with you. That's why we travel over 3000 miles every February to see the Daytona 500 in person :-)

Rich in Boston said...

The experiment means nothing to me as I have no intention of getting a 3D TV. I've seen a couple of 3D movies and wasn't very impressed by the experience.

So: meh.

Anonymous said...

We can't wait to watch in 3D. We got our 3DTV a few weeks ago and love it. Directv has the soccer and it is great 3D. As for as going to NASCAR race's in person, we do. Richmond last Sept., Dega this pass april and will be in Atlanta for Labor Day. And 3Dtv when we can't make a race. Our first race was Bristol, Aug. 08.

Ritchie said...

What I'm amazed by is that even if you have $2000 for the TV, you still have to fork over $150 for the glasses required to watch it! That means if you have someone over to watch the race, either you buy extra glasses, or you force someone to miss out on the 3D.

This really is TV for the upper class.

I think someone didn't do enough research on this.

The Mad Man said...

I see this great experiment failing like NASCAR's play-off system, the Car of Woe, and Brian France knowing what's best for the sport.

Few people can afford the 3-D TV and as it is some networks still are having a tough time with their HD programming.

TNT can't seem to keep small things like the race ticker running right so I'm not expecting great things to happen with this. I think this will be a "one of" thing until 3-D TV's and programming become more widely available and cheaper in cost for the equipment.

Anonymous said...

There are sooooo many things that could be improved with TV coverage before initiating another gimmick. Try working on the the camera angles and not pulling away from a mid-pack challenge just because Jooooonnnyyyyyrrrr is pitting. Isn't it obvious that more wide-angle and still camera shots would give a better sense of speed as opposed to following a car's winshield or front quarter panel around the entire track!!

bevo said...

Not a single person I know has expressed any interest in 3D TV. I agree with several other posters - work on the issues with HD, especially audio, before tackling 3D. The directors and producers have a bad enough grasp of camera shots for a race without trying to get even more "creative" with 3D.

Sophia said...

Ditto to most comments especially these! How about learning how to give us WIDE SHOTS ala Mike Wells. I've cut back on ALL NASCAR viewing 85% this season.

3D ain't gonna bring me back to see in 3 D the HORRIBLE camera work of tight shots/in car cams, etc.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are sooooo many things that could be improved with TV coverage before initiating another gimmick. Try working on the the camera angles and not pulling away from a mid-pack challenge just because Jooooonnnyyyyyrrrr is pitting. Isn't it obvious that more wide-angle and still camera shots would give a better sense of speed as opposed to following a car's winshield or front quarter panel around the entire track!!

June 29, 2010 1:34 PM
Blogger bevo said...

Not a single person I know has expressed any interest in 3D TV. I agree with several other posters - work on the issues with HD, especially audio, before tackling 3D. The directors and producers have a bad enough grasp of camera shots for a race without trying to get even more "creative" with 3D.

Ziggy said...

I look at this way.... When HD broadcasts started to make an appearance very few HDTV sets were sold or in use. They (networks, production cos. etc.) had to start somewhere & eventually the consumer caught up with the technology. Granted HDTV was the next great thing since Color telecasts began back in the 50's, & very few households had the color sets back then.

So, 3DTV will follow the same path & probably within the next 5 or 6 years the majority of us couch potatoes will be parked in front of our really really flat screens wondering how did we live without it.

Ziggy Ziggy Ziggy

boyd said...

3Dis not for me.
Even if I coud fork over the money, there isn't enough programming to make it interesting.
I'm still not getting Showtime to watch the revamped TWIN on Wednesday nights.
I wonder if you will enjoy 3D more if just one car is shown (as is still done for HD)?

Wisconsin Steve said...

Although 3D doesn't interest me, I appreciate the efforts that Turner continues to make in providing innovative viewing experiences for the fans.
Since they only cover six races, it would be easy for TNT to sail through their part of the schedule without a lot of effort. Instead they offer Racebuddy, social networking interaction, Wide-Open Coverage, and now 3D coverage in addition to the traditional TV broadcasts which I think they do better than anyone.
The negative reaction to this surprises me. If you aren't interested in the 3D broadcast (and I'm not either), then don't buy the equipment and watch it in 3D. For those who are interested, it sounds like a cool experiment.

Vicky D said...

I'm not allowed to even hold the remote in the family room, what's the chance of me getting to wear the one pair of glasses that come with that 3D tv? Right no chance at all. I can't see us getting that for awhile yet. I think I'd rather get some stuff around the house repaired first too. Sorry TNT. PS thanks for your note yesterday about the shows dropping off your list.

Jojaye said...

while laughing at the utter foolishness & arrogant disregard for reality...
So let me get this straight here... NASCAR is in cash trouble,just like the rest of us & networks revenues are down, cable company bucks are down, & most importantly fans are unhappy with NASCAR product, and fans all over the country have just had to shell out hard earned bucks for HD TV's & now we're expected to shell out way big bucks to see TV (with glasses on no less) to buy a new TV to "experience" 3D TV experiment ? Which very few people own. Yup that'll get the ratings thru the roof. More toys, less racing.

Why not work on fixing the problem first - then worry about 3D?
Oops - my bad, it wouldn't cater to the casual fan!

Anonymous said...

Everyone hates it, huh? Well I don't have a 3-D TV either, and I think it's great.

I won't be bothered by 3-D, just like most of you, so neither of us can complain about it. We'll have to find old things to complain about.

But what I am excited about is that this is a 'testing' session for 3-D when no one's watching. That way they can work out all the kinks years ahead of us watching 3-D.

Then everyone can complain about it in 2012. Or leave it on 2-D and complain anyway. Wouldn't have it any other way.

- RA Eckart -

Brian said...

Well big Teddy started 24 hour news (which ruins all media), why not start the sport events in 3D? I think 3D in general will NOT sell like the big wigs think it will. Sure, you will have those who can afford it try it out in the beginning, but the masses will settle for high quality HD. I "feel" like I'm at races anyway with HD.

Anonymous said...

All 15 people who have a 3D TV will enjoy the heck out of this race.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, wearing 3D glasses in your home to watch TV seems like a drag to me. It won't make me buy a TV or watch a particular show.

Donna in FL said...

To the person who says they have the 3D equipment, please come back next week and tell us about it!

KoHoSo said...

First of all, where's my buddy Glen so we can make SCTV Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Pit Stops jokes? Would you care for a piece of...grille tape? (booowEEP, booweep, boowEEP, booweep) :-D

I am 100% fine with TNT and NASCAR offering this new technology. They might as well do it now because, if everybody thinks about it, remember how people used to say things like "I don't need a DVD because a VCR is fine with me" and "I can see everything I want in standard definition."

However, as for me personally, I would be a late adopter of this technology even if I had the money. I just find the glasses to be too uncomfortable.

GinaV24 said...

Donna - I second that thought -- if you have the 3D equipment and watch the race, let us know how it goes.

I'd be interested to know.

Anonymous said...

I am okay with showing in 3d as long as it does not degrade my 2d viewing. I just do not believe nascar understands how necessary a good 2d view is to us little people. "our fans have have been asking for it"? I am having a lot of problems with that one! It seems to me we have been asking over and over for just a few things, and I have yet to see those wishes answered satisfactory.

Vince said...

This is something I haven't seen brought up yet. Google '3D tv medical issues'. I got 278,000 hits. Seems to be some concern with 3D tv within the medical community.

I still have a lot of friends that don't have HD tv's yet. I think 3D tv is some PR/Marketing guy's pipe dream. HD tv is one thing, but I don't see 3D tv catching on. I already wear glasses to see tv. Do I want to wear another pair over top of them to see 3D tv? That would be a NO!

Gymmie said...

I really don't get it either seems like a waste of money/technology when a good number of folks don't have it. Yes a few "will eat mac and cheese" to get the latest shiny will have it but how many are NA$CAR fans?

It does seem silly to do this with 99.99% of the viewers not having he technology to "enjoy" this service. Yes down the road as prices become reasonable more folks will be able to purchase the technology but with very little advertising I doubt the TV stores were overrun this week with folks looking for 3D TVs to watch this ONE race.

I was reading a story and saw a link to the 3D story and then came here to see if JD had already written about it and he had. That's how I found out about it.

Anonymous said...

I watch races on three different screens depending on where I am and what else I happen to be doing. One is a 42 inch flat screen, one is an old 19 inch portable, and the other is a portable DVD player with an 8 inch screen that I use as a monitor. I actually watch the old 19 inch portable the most.

I don't care about HD. I don't care about 3-D. I don't care if they start broadcasting races in virtual reality and holograms.

All that matters to me is the quality of the content, not the means of delivery. If the networks want to impress me, they need to greatly improve the content quality. Cover all the cars in the race, including the strategy. I want to know about the ups and downs of all of the teams. I want to know who is moving up and who is falling back and why. Every time a broadcaster says "Where did he come from?", they are admitting that they failed to do their job.

A lousy broadcast in 3D is still a lousy broadcast. I have seen 3D in other forms and have been consistently unimpressed. I will buy a 3D TV when my old one breaks down and 3D sets are the only kind available.

TexasRaceLady said...

Vince said, " I already wear glasses to see tv. Do I want to wear another pair over top of them to see 3D tv? That would be a NO!"

This is my first objection to 3D.

The 2nd is the cost of a 3D TV. My husband and I are retired on a very fixed income. If I win the Lottery, I might buy one --- but until then, NOT A CHANCE.

And to echo several others, why bother to improve delivery if the quality of the product sucks?

PS --- Sorry to be late, was stuck in the hospital for 2.5 days.

Chris from NY said...

To show the race in 3D, NASCAR should have contracted a company like Fathom Events to do this in movie theaters. Right now, that's the only way most of us can watch 3D.