CBS exploring its own 3-D cable network

July 14, 2011

Shortly after producing the Masters Golf tournament and Final Four college basketball tournament in stereoscopic video this year, CBS publicly stated that it would not produce any more live events in stereoscopic 3-D without advertising sponsorship. Now, perhaps sensing that there is revenue to be generated, the network is considering a 24-hour 3-D channel on pay television for its programming and has demonstrated a 2-D-to-3-D conversion process to several cable operations, according to several news reports.

While CBS declined to comment, a source said that the broadcast network is considering a strategy to secure distribution for the 3-D channel through its retransmission-consent negotiations with pay-TV outlets. However, another source said the network has made no decisions on whether to create such a network and is only at the preliminary stage of considering it.

The network is reportedly working with Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD), a Los Angeles-based company that has developed an inexpensive process to convert 2-D-to-3-D video content. DDD has previously confirmed it is working with “a network partner,” which has not been identified.

DDD president and CEO Chris Yewdall said his company could convert 2-D video into 3-D video for about $10,000 per hour of content. It uses a combination of an automated process operated by a stereoscopic engineer.

There is still a global shortage of 3-D programming. ESPN 3D launched last year and converted to a 24-hour service this last February. DIRECTV distributes the 3Net channel — a joint venture between Discovery, Sony and IMAX. DIRECTV and Comcast also offer 3-D channels with mostly converted content from various partners.

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