New Tech 2010: 3D Content Is Coming

How many times has this happened to you? Irrepressible engineers invent a terrific piece of new hardware, but you can't find any content to play on it. the sampler that came in the box is awesome, but after playing it a thousand times, it's getting a little old.

Of course, 3D TV faces the same issue. No one is going to buy another TV unless there's a good selection of 3D content to watch on it. some 3D TVs will be able to generate a 3D image from a 2D one, but the market will crave the real McCoy. Fortunately, 3D program providers are moving forward as fast as 3D TV makers in an effort to support the big launch with as much content as they can muster.

In case you haven't been to the theater lately, Hollywood has been churning out tons of 3D movies - all of which are prime candidates to fuel the 3D TV revolution, courtesy of the just-finalized 3D Blu-ray Disc standard. Sony wants to sell both 3D Blu-ray players and 3D TVs, and it has its own movie studio to ante up 3D content. so, Sony has announced that it will release Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on 3D Blu-ray Disc this summer, along with other titles. similarly, Samsung has partnered with DreamWorks/technicolor to release Monsters vs. Aliens on 3D BD in June. Disney's first release, later in the year, will be its 2009 motion-capture-animated version of A Christmas Carol. It will also release a 3D showcase Disc compilation title. you can expect to hear announcements soon from all studios with 3D content in their vaults.

TV program providers have been anticipating 3D for some time, and their plans for it are well under way. live sporting events - a critical component of the HDTV launch - are a natural for 3D. Not surprisingly, ESPN plans to kick off its new 3D channel in June. Flush with cash from Sony's sponsorship, it will broadcast 25 FIFA World Cup soccer matches. (World Cup soccer happens to be the mostwatched sporting event on earth). ESPN has also promised a minimum of 85 additional live events for 2010, including the US PGA tour. Fox also plans to be a player in the rollout, showing this summer's MLB All-Star game in 3D.

DirecTV plans to debut three dedicated 3D satellite TV channels in June: a PPV channel, an on-demand channel, and a free demo channel. subscribers' set-top boxes will need a (free) firmware update, along with a 3D TV, in order to view the new channels. In addition, Discovery, Imax, and Sony will collaborate on a 3D TV channel. expect announcements from more program providers to follow soon. Although it will take time for ISPs' bandwidth to catch up, sooner or later you can expect to see 3D video streaming.

Movies? Sure. Soccer? Well, okay. but what we really want are kick-ass 3D videogames. this summer, PS3 owners will be able to play games and watch movies in 3D with a fi rmware upgrade to their machines. Also, the "adult movie" industry has always driven new technology, and 3D will not be an exception here. since we're a respectable publication, I won't speculate on what might be forthcoming from that arena.

If you get tired of packaged entertainment, you can always create your own. hardware companies are gearing up with 3D digital cameras and camcorders. Demonstrations of prototypes - Samsung was showing still-picture slideshows taken with a consumer 3D digital camera at CES - suggest that truly terrific results are possible. this could become a major part of the emerging 3D industry.

of course, as impressive as these offerings are, they're all small potatoes. the only content that will really matter is Avatar on 3D Blu-ray Disc. that could truly be the mother of all killer apps. When Avatar hits shelves, expect to see eBay's servers collapse under the weight of all the nice, hardly used 2D HDTVs that are suddenly put up for sale.