Thursday, 25 February 2010

Confessions of a 3DTV skeptic

And so we gallop relentlessly towards the 3D future. NAB is going to have stereo 3D absolutely everywhere, consumer electronics manufacturers are rushing to release sets, dedicated OB trucks are being built, broadcasters are laying plans for 3D channels, post facilities are investing with 50% of attendees at BVE saying they expect to work in 3D this year...Hell, there’s even a chance that some form of standard for TX might emerge sometime this year. And everyone is pointing to the Brobdingnagian bucketloads of cash that Avatar has raked in on its 3D screens and congratulating themselves on picking the wave early and riding it over the breakers to the shore.

I confess I have a bit of a problem with this. First of, it’s too technologically deterministic. You can see why the industry vendors in particular are leaping on to this – it’s a new technology that requires yet more kit to be sold to upgrade the production chain and everyone pretty much has HD capability now. But the ‘build it and they’ll come’ approach is a remarkably na├»ve one in a culture that tends to focus group things to within an inch of its life in so many other areas.

The fact is that there’s no real body of evidence suggesting that consumers really really want this. Or at least if there is I’m not aware of it. That 3D works in cinemas is a given, but these are controlled environments designed for immersive experiences, they are not the living rooms with all their chaos, clutter, and sleeping greyhounds littered about the place (okay that last one might just be me) that we are used to. Even at IBC last year, examining the output of the conferences suggested that the industry is divided still, with definite camps of enthusiasts and skeptics forming.

So, currently I’m firmly in the latter camp, unless anyone can prove to me otherwise. Do people really want this and, of the surveys that have been done, has the enthusiasm for the new technology overtaken the rigour of identifying genuine demand? Phone me up and ask me if I’d be interested in rocket pants and I’ll say yes immediately. Come the decision to buy them I might be a bit more worried about scorch marks...

Friday, 19 February 2010

Virtual work

Got a fairly nice piece in this week's Broadcast about virtual studio technology. A slight poisoned chalice of a commission, in that the first person I lined up to interview told me that no-one was really using it in the UK outside of election night. Hmmmm...try getting 1300 words out of that. But examining the problems and looking at the development of the technology over the years yielded the requisite number of words in the end. Not only that, but it actually turned out to be rather interesting too.

Now delving into website copywriting again and the joy of testing SEO keywords for a week or two.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Vegas here we come

Well, here some of us go anyway out to NAB. And probably not this particular us, despite Muse playing the Saturday night at the Mandalay.

Anyway, congrats to Tektronix for sending out the first NAB preview across my desktop. I shall happily highlight the VQNet Video Service Assurance Manager and IPM400A Network Probe wherever possible as a result.

[Update: and even more impressively, someone at Tek is sitting there monitoring such frivolous blog posts and following them up with emails. Tight operation!]