More Broadcast 3DTV News

Most analysts who understand the HDTV market seem to agree that the reported “failure” of 3D HDTVs is not about people not wanting 3DTV at home; it’s more about the fact that there’s very little to watch. So you can expect to see announcements about more content becoming available. And you can expect to see some companies trumpeting the news about rather little things as if they were very big.

For example, DirecTV has announced that it will be making an opera available through its DIRECTV CINEMA service, which downloads a movie rental to your DVR-equipped set top box. “Lucretia Borgia” will be available in April, and if you are operatically-challenged, it will even include “a series of short films” during the interludes that give you the back story on the Borgias as well as some backstage content.

In the same press release, the company also announces that it be adding four more 3D movies to the available line-up (at $6.99 a pop): “Piranha 3D” (available now), “Jackass 3D” (available March 8), “Tangled 3D” (March 29), and “Tron: Legacy 3D” (April 5). Huh? We’re making a big deal about releasing fewer than one new title a week? Even if I was excited to see all four of these (five, if you include the opera), this is hardly enough content to make me run out and spend a couple grand on a new HDTV (plus the DirecTV subscription).

In a similar vein, ESPN has announced 3D coverage of the Masters Tournament. They broadcast a grand total of 10 hours of coverage on ESPN 3D: two hours a day for each of the four rounds. (ESPN will provide nearly that much coverage in 2D over the first two rounds alone.) Now, this is still news because live sports coverage is still in its infancy, and ESPN deserves some props for trying to work out what must be an expensive and difficult project for a relatively small audience.

The bottom line is that there still is not a lot for you to watch on a new 3DTV, but they’re working on it. In a year or two, I expect the situation to be greatly improved.