Archive for the ‘3D Film’ Category

First 3D television sets go on sale in UK

April 23, 2010


By Dan Whitworth, Newsbeat technology reporter

3D TV has been one of the biggest technology stories of the year so far and Thursday morning (22 April) saw the first ones actually going on sale in the UK.

They’ve been available in the US and Japan for several months, but as expected they’re not cheap. The price of the first TV released is £1,799 – and there are lots of other bits of kit needed to get the right set-up.

A pair of the 3D glasses this system uses cost £150, a 3D Blu-ray DVD player is around £350 and a compatible HDMI cable is £50.

For 28-year-old Matt Rajah though – the very first person in the queue on Thursday morning – it’s worth the money: “Well I think it’s clearly the future of where television is going.

“I saw Avatar with my friends in 3D at the cinema and really loved that film. I’m also an avid gamer as well so I’m hoping to exploit some of the features of the TV through gaming.”

At the moment, the platforms available for 3D TV are limited. There are no 3D television channels and there are only a relatively small selection of 3D DVDs and video games.

John Kempner, the chief TV buyer for John Lewis, reckons that will change: “It is all about content. There will be more 3D movies coming along on Blu-ray. But more importantly Sky will be launching its 3D channel in around September time we think.

Video gaming is the other area where there’ll be a lot of 3D content available, which I think will be important too.”

That video game content is seen by some in the industry as a key driver of 3D TV sales.

It’s also worth pointing out that as well as 3D capability, the televisions going on sale also offer the latest 2D high-definition technology.

While some forecasts predict only modest sales this year, most experts believe it’s the future and that 3D TVs will sell in much larger numbers once the content improves and the price comes down.

see original article


UKFC’s new Film Fund launches today with £15m

April 1, 2010


Wharton, Francke, Collins confirmed as executives working under Seghatchian in newly streamlined fund.

  • Biggest shake-up since UKFC’s creation
  • £15m film fund open for applications today
  • £5m Innovation Fund confirmed for Autumn 2010
  • New online application system for funds 
  • An ambitious sounding ‘web-based.. national filmmaking community’ 
  • Producers to receive equity in UKFC recoupment
  • WT2’s Natascha Wharton joins BBC Film’s Chris Collins and Em Media / EIFF’s Lizzie Francke on team

The UK Film Council today published its three year plan and launched its new £15m Film Fund to be headed up by Tanya Seghatchian. In developing the final plan, the UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses. The plan specifically:

  • opens up for business a £15m-a-year Film Fund (topped up further by film recoupment) for emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers;
  • ring-fences money for development;
  • confirms production companies will for the first time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council’s recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, following State Aid approval of the measure by the European Commission;
  • sets up a think tank chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale;
  • proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in Autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community;
  • confirms £5m is allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in Autumn 2010 (more details to follow);
  • provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan;
  • confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund – which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films – will, like the Film Fund, top up that fund’s budget.

Alongside this plan, the DCMS have been leading merger discussions between the UK Film Council and the BFI. These discussions have been underway since August 2009 and continue.

The new appointments to Tanya ‘Harry Potter/Heyday Films’ Seghatchian’s team include: 

  • Lizzie Francke, former head of EIFF and BFI Governor, will focus on experimental feature length films, national engagement and showcasing new talent;
  • Chris Collins, executive for Pawel Pawlikowski’s Last Resort, amongst others will focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro/low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.

Launching UK Film: Digital innovation and creative excellence, Tim Bevan CBE, Chairman of the UK Film Council, said, “We’ve set out a renewed mission, a new set of priorities, and a new way of working. With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the UK out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we’re now in the best place we can be to support and promote UK film in the years ahead.”

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, announced that the new £15m-a-year Film Fund had opened its doors for business. Managed by a new team of experienced senior production and development executives, the fund has introduced a brand new online application process in which applicants will set out their creative and strategic visions for their film.

Woodward commented: “The new Film Fund’s primary focus is creative excellence. Tanya and her team will support filmmakers who want to put British filmmaking at the centre of our national culture and on the international map. The aim is for the Film Fund to attract the best talent, encourage creative risk taking, and deliver great films to audiences.

“Joining Tanya in the search for creative excellence will be a team of three Senior Production and Development Executives with an impressive and broad range of film industry expertise. Natascha Wharton, Lizzie Francke, and Chris Collins each have big production successes under their belts – together, it’s a team that will provide a wide range of expertise and tastes as well as a supportive, energetic and ambitious home for British filmmaking talent.

“The team will all work across the full range of projects in production and development, but individually they will also have specific responsibilities.”

The Film Fund is open for applications from 1 April, but it will be presenting a more detailed strategy to the UK Film Council Board in the coming months. It has already been agreed that a portion of the £15m budget will be ring-fenced for development – although there will be no automatic assumption that projects developed will become films that the fund would then invest in at the production stage. The remaining budget will be safeguarded for the Film Fund’s own production investments. Further details will be announced in the coming months, in addition to details of the Film Fund’s non-London investment target and how the new online showcase will operate.

Natascha Wharton

Natascha has been at Working Title Films for most of her film career.  During her time there,  she set up WT2, Working Title’s low budget film division.  The first film through that division was Billy Elliot, on which she was an Executive Producer.  She was Executive Producer on a further ten films through WT2, including Shaun of the DeadAli G Indahouseand My Little Eye. Later, when WT2 was absorbed into WT’s main slate Development Department, she became Head of Development and was Executive Producer on Hot Fuzz.


Lizzie Francke

Lizzie started her career as a film critic in the early 1990s, contributing to titles such as The Guardian, The Observer, Sight and Sound and Screen International.  During this period she also wrote the book Script Girls: The History of Women Screenwriters in Hollywood. In 1997 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and in her five years there re-established the festival as a key showcase for British cinema. She moved into production in 2001, first for Little Bird, where she co-produced Marc Evans’s thriller Trauma, then as Executive Producer for EM Media, where her credits include ControlAnd When Did You Last See Your Father?, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures and Better Things. She also acted as the British co-producer on Vinyan, the second film from the cult Belgium director Fabrice du Welz, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Lizzie has been a Development Producer for the UK Film Council’s Development Fund since January 2008. She managed the First Feature stream, which is dedicated to emerging writing and directing talent. Films that she worked on during that period include the The Arbor, directed by Clio Barnard and debuting at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, and artist Gillian Wearing’s directorial debut Self Made, which is currently in post-production. 


Chris Collins

Chris started his career working in television documentaries, after which he joined BFI Productions in 1997 as a development and production executive, where he oversaw films such as John Maybury’s Love is the Devil and Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People. He then spent ten years in the independent sector as a producer working with filmmakers such as Pawel Pawlikowski, Francesca Joseph and Sarah Gavron on critical successes Last ResortMy Summer of LoveTomorrow La Scala! and Brick Lane. He also worked with BBC Films on a series of shorts with filmmakers like Vito Rocco and Andrea Arnold. Since 2007 Chris worked as a Development Producer in the UK Film Council’s Development Fund where he managed the funding strand for experienced writers, directors and producers. Projects developed range from new screenplays by Duane Hopkins, Noel Clarke, Matt Greenhalgh and Hanif Kureishi to the recently completed Tamara Drewe, written by Moira Buffini from Posy Simmond’s graphic novel and directed by Stephen Frears.

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DirecTV dives into 3D

March 30, 2010

ESPN also will offer on-demand and pay-per-view content


From nature documentaries to the Major League Baseball All-Star game, DirecTV is diving head first into the 3D broadcasting market.

The satcaster plans to roll out its 3D content in June, including 3D pay-per-view, on-demand channels as well as ESPN 3D and its own N3D channel.

DirecTV senior VP Steven Roberts told Variety, “We made the decision late last year that we were going to continue with our innovation with providing our customers with a great experience in terms of entertainment and taking 3D and really running with it.”

For its N3D channel, DirecTV has paired with Panasonic and various programmers, including Fox, MTV and CBS, to produce 3D content that will include films, documentaries, sporting and entertainment events.

The ESPN 3D channel plans to showcase at least 85 live events during its first year, beginning June 11 with the 2010 FIFA World Cup match between South Africa and Mexico.

The X Games 16 and college football’s ACC Championship are set for later this year, with the 2011 BCS National Championship game, college basketball and NBA games to follow in 2011.

“There is going to be specific content where people aren’t going to want to watch in just plain 2D any longer,” Roberts said.

DirecTV is providing a free software upgrade that will happen seamlessly in June for customers with Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung TVs. With the upgrade, DirecTV customers with an HD package and a 3D flatscreen with glasses will be able to watch the stereoscopic programming.

see original article

Sky 3DTV launch marks European first

March 30, 2010


The Sky 3D television channel will be the first in Europe when it launches in early April, kicking off with live coverage of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea. Football will be followed by other sports, movies, entertainment, arts and documentaries later in the year. Initially the Sky 3D channel will be available at no extra cost to customers on premium packages with high-definition, using their existing Sky boxes. They will need a new 3D compatible display and a special pair of dark glasses. The future’s so bright, we’ve gotta wear shades. 

The official launch of the Sky 3D service follows match coverage of Arsenal and Manchester United broadcast in January to a limited number of venues. Over a thousand pubs and clubs across the United Kingdom and Ireland have since signed up for Sky 3D, with more expected to join them. They will have some of the first 3D TV screens available in the country, following a deal with manufacturer LG. Sky 3D is also on show at various locations, including the O2 venue in London and other retail sites.

Allowing the public to experience 3DTV will be critical to its future. “With 3D, seeing really is believing,” said Brian Lenz, Sky’s Director of Product Design and TV Product Development. “So it’s great news that over a thousand pubs across country will be able to show the magic of 3D to their customers.”

 Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic have all confirmed that they will have sets on sale soon. Sky 3D is compatible with these and works with displays that use either passive polarised and active shuttered glasses. The choice is partly a matter of preference. The polarised glasses are cheap and easy to replace, while the active glasses are heavier, relatively expensive and require a small battery to power the liquid crystal lenses that are wirelessly synchronised with the screen.

3DTV sets will be scarce initially and are likely to command a significant price premium, but the actual cost of production is little more than for a conventional high-definition display and in time 3D Ready displays will be widely available and prices will come down. How ready consumers will be to replace their existing flat screens for 3D compatible versions is another matter.

 Sky 3D is broadcast using a normal HD broadcast channel, over existing Sky infrastructure. Two separate scenes are captured, corresponding to the images for the left and right eye. These are broadcast side by side in a normal high-definition signal, effectively halving the horizontal resolution. Sky+ HD customers will be able to use their existing set-top box and can record 3D programmes in the normal way.

 How the stereoscopic images are presented depends on the display. In a passive system they are displayed so that when viewed through glasses fitted with polarising filters they are split into separate images for the left and right eye. In an active system liquid crystal shutters are synchronised with the screen to present images alternately to each eye.

 Gerry O’Sullivan, director of strategic product management at Sky, for the moment at least, is a passionately persuasive and impressively rational advocate for 3D. He understands that vision is a phenomenon of perception that goes beyond simply seeing two slightly different stereo images and that 3D production requires a different approach to direction, opening up new creative opportunities in much the same way as high definition and colour before it.

 As part of restructure to create two separate groups for research and development, Gerry will be leaving Sky after over a decade in which he has led developments like the Sky+ digital video recorder and Sky Broadband, together with Steven Nuttall, who led initiatives in online and mobile video.

 Sky 3D is an example of how the pay-television operator is continuing to drive developments in British broadcasting, forging ahead of the BBC. It is no accident that the Sky 3D showreel features not only sports but ballerinas from the English National Ballet performing Swan Lake.

Sky believes that like 3D, like HD, will be applicable to many more genres of programming than just sports and movies, bringing a new dimension to natural history and allowing people to watch theatrical productions from the best seat in the house.

 There is still a lot to learn about how to shoot and present stereoscopic productions. Certain subjects seem to benefit more, while the effect may be marginal in long shots. On-screen graphics require special attention, while issues such as eyestrain need to be given serious consideration.

 3DTV may initially be seen as something of a gimmick and while it is evidently successful in cinemas it is not clear how accepted it will be in the home, beyond special events and early adopters. The usage of television and the social viewing environment within the home are very different to that of the cinema. So long as it is necessary to wear dark glasses to watch 3DTV it will remain a novelty. However, games and adult entertainment are likely to be popular and 3D screens could become a premium feature of hotel rooms.

 Amazingly, there has been very little rigorous academic or medical research on the subject. It is not even known how many people can actually perceive stereo vision correctly. Up to one in ten may not, for one reason or another. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people may experience headaches as a result of processing the conflicting visual depth cues with which they may be presented. It is a field that informitv will continue to follow with interest.

 William Cooper of informitv will be speaking on a panel at the MPEG Industry Forum Master Class at the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas and chairing a session at the 3D TV World Forum in London.

 Coverage of the match between Manchester United and Chelsea starts at 12.00 noon on Saturday 3 April. The Sky 3D channel will appear in the electronic programme guide before then. To access preview programmes customers will need to call Sky with details of their 3D television to activate the channel. There will be at least a further five Premier League matches shown in 3D before the end of the current football season.

 see original article here

3D: Eye-popping economics

March 29, 2010


Auds embrace 3D but ticket fees turn heads



Surely there can never be too much of a good thing in Hollywood. Right?

For years, a hot-button topic was the conversion of movie screens to digital projection, an innovation heralded to bring about the revival of 3D on a grander, more immersive and more lucrative scale.

Now that the revival is in full blush — with three consecutive years of record box office bolstered by 3D, especially in 2009 — the economics of such eye-popping filmmaking are playing an increasingly major factor in Hollywood planning.

They’re also raising questions as to how long the boom will reverberate and how deep auds’ appetites for 3D are, especially as the ticket upcharge rises dramatically. Some studios are worried that exhibs might price people right out of the theater.

As evidenced by “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” 3D can increase a movie’s gross by as much as one-third. In just 17 days, “Alice” grossed $265 million domestically and $300 million internationally for a total of $565.8 million. “Avatar” is the highest-grossing pic, at $736.9 million domestically and $1.94 billion overseas through March 21.

It’s found money. Nobody ever dared increase the tickets by as much as 50%,” one studio exec says. “Now, they have something to do it with: 3D. And guess what — the public is buying it. Let’s say ‘Alice’ cumes $300 million domestically. At least $70 million comes from 3D.”

3D revenues also help to offset the dramatic downturn in the DVD market. “It’s a new revenue stream for content creators,” one veteran exec says.

Generally speaking, the box office split between studios and exhibs is 50-50 domestically and 45-55 overseas. And while the same splits hold true for 3D titles, those revenues are offset by the costs associated with creating the 3D experience.

For the studios, shooting a film in 3D from inception begins at a base cost of $20 million above a film’s core budget. Opting to convert a 2D film to 3D after shooting comes with a lower pricetag, averaging about $10 million, but the figure also can be higher.

Warner Bros.’ late decision to convert “Clash of the Titans” to 3D raised eyebrows across Hollywood. Some say the conversion cost $5 million; others put it much higher. Warners won’t say, but points out that it successfully converted Polar Express.”

If “Clash” works in 3D, other studios are sure to follow suit and begin converting some of their event titles with the after-production conversion process, too.

As part of their deals with exhibs, studios also have to pay for 3D glasses, whether disposable or reusable. That bill can average $5 million to $7 million per picture domestically.

And, of course, theater owners are still paying to convert more screens to digital 3D. The cost of converting a screen to digital — a prerequisite for showing 3D — can be more than $100,000. Studios are helping to defray some of these costs by paying a “virtual” print fee, at least for the time being. The amount of virtual print fees are something of a secret, but insiders say they are usually capped at around $1,000 per print.

For theater owners, the lure of 3D — much as it was in the 1950s and ’60s — is in providing a unique experience that can’t be replicated at home. Getting auds into theaters is primarily a gateway to selling them pricey treats at the snack bar.

As a result, theater owners have been loath to raise ticket prices much. Increases typically ranged from 20¢ to 30¢ a year; a 40¢ rise would have been frowned upon.

However, exhibs are savoring the added gravy of the 3D ticket upcharge.

The profits for exhibs come from concessions,” says one studio exec. “If a person comes in with a $20 bill, he pays $7 for the ticket and $13 on food. They’re making 75¢ on the dollar off concessions, but only 50¢ on the dollar at the box office, if they’re lucky.”

Now, all of a sudden, they are getting a bigger percentage of (their revenues from) the box office,” says another exec.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America and the National Assn. of Theater Owners have long touted moviegoing as the least expensive form of entertainment, since sports, live theater and theme parks cost much more.

But on a percentage basis, the escalation of ticket prices driven by 3D represents an enormous jump in a short span of time. The exhibition biz is unique in being able to get away with such increases in tough economic times.

In the year since pics like DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens,” Disney’s “Up” and 20th Century Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” helped pioneer higher prices for digital 3D — with a typical $2 to $3 extra premium on every ticket — the cost of getting a 3D eyeful is growing downright eye-popping in some markets.

Last week, ahead of the high-profile releases of “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Clash of the Titans,” Wall Street media analyst Richard Greenfield released a survey of 3D ticket prices at 10 theaters. It revealed that the average upcharge on a 3D admission had risen 8.3%. One theater instituted a 26% jump.

But Greenfield’s report was just a general barometer of the dramatic boost in 3D premium charges. An informal survey by Variety finds that circuits, including AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment, are starting to charge at least $3.50 to $4 more for 3D titles, with a handful of theaters in marquee markets such as New York and Los Angeles pushing added fees even higher. The previous upcharge average was $2 to $3.

At AMC Century City 15 in Southern California, for example, the upcharge for a 3D ticket is $5 — meaning adults could pay $18.50 on the weekend to see a 3D title; children, $14.50.

Prices are going up even in smaller markets. The Regal Edwards Bakersfield 14 in Bakersfield, Calif., charges $3.50 more for a 3D ticket. Usual prices are $10 for adult ($10.50 on the weekend) and $7 for a child. A 3D ticket for a kid is $10.50, a 50% increase over a regular ticket price; an adult would pay $14, a 33% jump.

The questions now are how much audiences are willing to pay for the 3D experience, and how long will the experience be enticing enough to warrant those extra fees?

A year ago, there was much discussion over whether the marketplace would even have enough 3D screens to cover “Avatar.” The gap in screen count has narrowed since then, and distribs and exhibs now predict there will be enough 3D locations by December to support two 3D pics releasing on the same date. But there’s still a crunch, with the March 26 debut of “How to Train Your Dragon” sharing the landscape with “Alice” and a fading-but-still-around “Avatar” as Warner Bros.’ “Titans” looms on April 9.

But once it’s routinely possible to have multiple 3D titles on screens and competing for attention at the same time, some in the biz wonder if auds will grow weary of the experience and the higher ticket cost.

We run the risk of losing the value movies once were and becoming a luxury item,” says a Fox exec. “This industry has touted itself as the most cost-effective form of entertainment. But we are rapidly moving out of that arena.”

History suggests that Hollywood ought to tread carefully in its aggressive push of 3D. The novelty of all sorts of film innovations — talkies, all-color films and, more recently, CGI animated features — eventually diminished for auds. After Hollywood saw some major hits in the CGI toon biz, expectations were brought back down following a handful of pricey CGI toons that disappointed, including “The Ant Bully” and “Surf’s Up.”

In other words, once the novelty factor plays out, the movie itself better be good. Technology can only keep the audience occupied for so long. “The floodgates have opened,” one studio topper says. “But there’s no way of knowing what will happen when 3D becomes commonplace. When the first CGI animated movies were made, they were a big deal, they were events. And then there were a bunch that didn’t work.”

Imax, after years of struggle, is a big beneficiary of 3D. Imax has always charged a premium, since it offered a “bigger” experience even before 3D. Imax 3D has built an avid fanbase, sending the company into the black. Its domestic gross on “Avatar” was north of $200 million, the best in the company’s history.

Imax, however, is insulated to a degree that regular exhib chains are not: With a relatively small number of screens, it can play only so many movies, and its deals with the studios have grown from only a few titles a year to eight in 2010. So the experience retains a uniqueness-factor for auds.

The challenge for all sides is to keep up pic quality and not fall into gimmickry.

Early 3D adopters James Cameron and Jeffrey Katzenberg are urging Hollywood to slow down when it comes to converting pics to 3D after production. Michael Bay has been outspoken about his reluctance to shoot the next “Transformers” film in 3D, questioning whether the heavy cameras and production demands are flexible enough for his helming style.

In an industry often keen to follow a hit with more of same, it’s telling that these high-profile creatives are urging caution. Maybe there can be too much of a good thing.

see orgininal article

3DTV sales forecasts led by supply not demand

March 21, 2010


There will be nearly 50 million 3DTV displays sold worldwide in 2015, up from just over 3 million in 2010, according to one forecast. Within the same timeframe around half the homes in the United States could have a 3D capable display, according to another. These projections reflect the aspirations of suppliers, rather than clear evidence of consumer demand.

Insight Media expects nearly 10 million 3DTV displays to be sold in 2011, with 17 million the next year, 25 million in 2013, 35 million in 2014 and nearly 50 million the following year. That represents cumulative sales of 140 million over the next six years. It makes for an impressive growth curve but is extrapolated from expectations and assumptions about consumer excitement and acceptance rather than evidence of actual adoption.

To put these figures in perspective, there were 140 million LCD televisions sold in 2009, and over 200 million televisions in total, as estimated by DisplaySearch. Total sales were led by Samsung, with approaching a quarter of the market, followed by LG, Sony, Panasonic and Sharp. Together these companies account for over 60% of television display sales.

Assuming that a similar number of displays are shipped in 2010, the forecast of 3.3 million 3DTVs represents fewer than 2% of televisions that will be purchased. Any exponential growth beyond that will be dependent on the availability of compelling media to drive demand.

“Insight Media has 10 analysts covering the exploding 3D market,” said its President, Chris Chinnock. “We wanted to use the best team in the industry to produce the best 3DTV forecast to date. Our methodology is comprehensive and transparent, so readers can judge if this is indeed a quality piece of work.”

The methodology attempts to reconcile top-down and bottom-up approaches, examining the total available market and modelling penetration rates, combined with consideration of consumer expectations, price competitiveness and the availability of suitable media.

What it does not appear to take into account are the social and human factors involved in viewing television as opposed to the cinema experience — whether people will really want to sit around wearing dark glasses in their homes.

For display manufacturers, 3DTV is the next new opportunity after HDTV. The cost of adding stereoscopic support to a screen may be marginal but it is a significant opportunity to upsell or at least to protect a premium price point. It is likely that a large proportion of screens sold will be 3D capable, if only because all other things being equal there may be little reason to buy one that is not.

Many analysts are positive about the prospects for 3D in the home, although there is little actual evidence on which to base this optimism. When asked, many consumers are excited by the prospect of 3DTV, but this may not necessarily translate into a significant change in viewing behaviour.

Futuresource Consulting believes that within four years around half of homes in the United States will own a 3D capable display, with a third owning a 3D compatible Blu-ray disc player.

“With a number of leading hardware brands all vying to carve out an early position in the 3D TV and BD market, 3D Ready TVs and players will seed the 3D market in much the same way as the HD market was primed five years ago,” says John Bird, a strategy analyst at Futuresource. “By 2015 we expect the majority of TVs available will be 3D-Ready and the normal replacement cycle will result in a good proportion of households in the US, Japan and Europe having a 3D-capable display.”

That is not to say that we will soon all be watching 3D television. Much of the viewing is likely to come from 3D games and movies, with some sport and special events, and no doubt a certain amount of adult material.

The prospects for 3DTV are being driven by technical capability and supply side factors rather than viewers. Most people do not complain about the lack of depth in a television picture. But then they did not necessarily ask for high-definition, multichannel sound, or even colour. Once these became available, they provided differentiation which created consumer demand. The adoption of 3DTV will be as dependent upon sociological as much as technological factors.

2010 3DTV Forecast Report: A Comprehensive Worldwide Forecast of 3D Television Unit Sales by Region and Technology is published by Insight Media.

see original article

PlayStation Signs Deal with Hollywood Studios for HD Movies

March 21, 2010

By Kristin Brzoznowski


FOSTER CITY: Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has secured agreements with 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution to offer HD movies for purchase and rental on the PlayStation Network video delivery service in the U.S.

New titles available today on PlayStation Network include 20th Century Fox’sNight at the Museum: Battle of the SmithsonianJennifer’s Body and Fantastic Mr. Fox (on March 23); Warner Bros. Digital Distribution’s The HangoverHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Wizard of Oz; and Universal’sInglourious BasterdsCouples Retreat and Public Enemies. There’s also a package from Walt Disney Pictures that includes Disney Pixar’s Up, Jerry Bruckheimer’s G-Force and Disney’s Earth. From Paramount Pictures comesStar TrekParanormal Activity and Zoolander. Sony Pictures is offering up This Is It2012District 9 and Zombieland.

Initially, the content will only be available in the U.S., with plans to launch soon in the U.K., France, Germany and Spain.

Peter Dille, the senior VP of marketing and PlayStation Network at SCEA, commented: “Securing high-definition content from these studios is another significant milestone further validating PlayStation Network as a complete entertainment network in the home. PlayStation Network is the first and only service to deliver high-definition home-entertainment from all six major studios, directly to consumers for download. PlayStation Network continues to offer the most comprehensive catalogue of HD movies to PlayStation Network members that realize the wide-ranging entertainment power of the PS3 system.”

Steve Perrin to lead UK’s Digital Funding Group

October 6, 2009


5 October, 2009 | By Sarah Cooper

Steve Perrin, the former senior vice president and head of international at Rentrak Theatrical, has been appointed as chief executive of the UK Digital Funding Group (DFG).

The newly formed DFG was set up by the UK Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA) to negotiate financial support for small and medium-sized UK cinema operators to convert to digital cinema technology. The CEA, the trade association for UK cinema exhibition, represents around 90% of UK cinema operators.

Perrin has held a number of roles in the film industry including director of marketing at Warner Bros Distributors UK and deputy head of distribution and exhibition at the UK Film Council.

The CEA chief executive Phil Clapp said: “Helping to ensure that as many UK cinemas as possible can navigate the transition to digital cinema is at the very top of the CEA agenda. I am delighted that we have been able to secure someone of Steve Perrin’s experience and reputation to lead this work.

original article

—————————————————-Fabulous Comment!——————————————————

Jonathan Williams | 6-Oct-2009 11:16 am

Ah yes, Steve Perrin, the man who was centrally involved in the UKFC’s lottery funded ‘Digital Screens Network’ which handed out a £multi-million susidy, most of it to the US studio owned exhibition chains, which was sold as the creation of a network which would benefit foreign (not American – isn’t amazing how people don’t think that those are foreign…) non-mainstream UK independent and classic films.
The one part of this deal which was delivered was the 3D projectors that Hollywood would have paid for if the British weren’t such total mugs. The fact that Perrin used to work for Warner Bros before robbing lottery players pockets on their behalf comes as no surprise.
All that the specialist filmmakers and distributors got out of all this was a very bad taste in the mouth.

Sky and Microsoft bring television to the Xbox

October 5, 2009

Sky and Microsoft bring television to the Xbox

2 October 2009

Sky and Microsoft are joining forces to deliver live television and video on demand to Xbox game consoles. It is another example of the convergence of broadband and broadcast delivering interactive television beyond constraints of the traditional set-top box. Football fans will be able to share their experience with other Xbox Live members subscribed to Sky services.

Microsoft is positioning its games console a general entertainment hub in competition with the rival Sony PlayStation. A major marketing campaign will begin in October, in the run up to Christmas, focussing on the Xbox 360 as a way to access live television, music and movies on demand. Users will also be able to access social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Sky Player service from British Sky Broadcasting will be accessible to Xbox Live Gold members, with premium programming available to Sky subscribers according to their sports and movie packages.

The live and on-demand programming is delivered using the same platform as the online Sky Player service, developed by ioko.

Sky programming will be available on the Microsoft Xbox.

There will be up to 20 live television channels available, with hundreds of movies, sports, entertainment and documentary programmes available on demand. It provides an easy way of viewing Sky Player programming, previously available on the personal computer, on the television screen, allowing users to enjoy television in a second room without the need for an additional set-top box. It will also be possible to get Sky channels without a satellite dish or set-top box, on a separate monthly subscription.

The Xbox environment features smoothly animating menus enabled by the powerful graphics capabilities of the games console.

The Sky Player service on Xbox will also feature a a conventional grid-based guide, like its computer counterpart and the traditional Sky set-top box.

There is also a conventional grid based electronic programme guide covering the available channels.

Among the interactive features will be the ability to chat in text and voice in real time with other invited Xbox Live members, represented by on screen avatars in a so-called party mode. Programming can also be viewed full-screen, while continuing to hear comments from friends.

Among the more innovative features is the ability to chat with other users, represented by on-screen avatars.

Users will also be able to access more traditional interactive information services, such as being able to check results and league tables.

“We’ll be working with Sky to bring all sorts of interactive services over as part of this experience,” said Jerry Johnson, product manager for Xbox Live at Microsoft. “A lot of the interactive features people just expect that they either get through the enriched red button experience on the current Sky service or from the web.”

“Sky has always done things in broadcast rather than through a broadband connection, so the opportunity is very interesting,” said Adrian Pilkington of Sky. “The interactive team at Sky Sports has a track record of innovative content through the red button and the prospect of a more powerful interactive platform will bring a huge opportunity.”

These are the sort of interactive features that BT, which has attempted to set itself up in opposition to Sky, has been unable to deliver on its hybrid broadband and broadcast platform, powered by Microsoft Mediaroom.

For those that still want to watch television at the highest quality in high definition, the Sky direct to home satellite service will remain the best option for some time to come. Sky is also expected to bring video-on-demand services to its latest set-top boxes in the near future, combining broadcast and broadband delivered services with local storage.

Meanwhile, the combination of Sky Player and Xbox is finally delivering to the mass market some of the innovative features, with a level of fit and finish, that have long been forecast for interactive television.

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Digital screens unlock alternative content

October 5, 2009

Tim Richards

The rising number of 3D screens is giving exhibitors the opportunity to do much more than just show films. Tim Richards is excited by the prospects of alternative content.


Digital screens unlock alternative content

1 October, 2009 | By Tim Richards

We’re well into 2009 and it’s shaping up to be another year of strong growth for the UK cinema industry. Box office is up, thanks to a great schedule of movies, and this is also the first year that 3D has really arrived on the market – Monsters Vs Aliens,Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs and The Final Destination have been well received by customers.

“A live broadcast of a concert by pop group Take That had 100% occupancy at 50 sites”

Looking forward, there are a number of strong releases still to come, including Up, A Christmas Carol and Avatar this year and an equally strong line up of 3D movies in 2010. Even with traditional cinema enjoying real growth, there are still opportunities for screening alternative content to fill programming gaps and encourage new customers to the cinema experience.

With the number of digital projectors increasing in cinemas, the infrastructure is at least partly in place for many to show different content. Vue has been actively supporting the alternative use of cinema screens in the UK since 2007. We’ve offered our customers everything from live music, ballet and stand-up comedy tofootball and Formula One racing. Our corporate clients have used our cinemas for product launches, annual general meetings and training venues.

Such events can help fill the cinemas during quiet periods – a live broadcast of a concert by pop group Take That had 100% occupancy at 50 sites, Genesis live from Düsseldorf achieved occupancies of 70% for a Tuesday evening, and a programme of Monday matinee operas and ballets earlier this year reached sales of more than 80% at some sites.

And feedback shows customers are happy with events – the screening of rock band Muse’s Wembley concert achieving an average satisfaction score of 9.6 out of 10. It’s a great opportunity to drive loyalty among our existing clients while also attracting new ones. Why, then, is non-traditional programming not more widespread?

Alternative content has to take its place in the pecking order of our core business. The amount of alternative content available is still relatively small, and this combined with the effort required to plan and market alternative events compared with our core content means we choose carefully on what we focus.

The still limited availability of digital screens also means limited playing opportunities and a higher profit hurdle to clear, given we have to take something off a screen to play alternative content. Add to this the fact most alternative content is sporadic – customers do not have regular events around which they can plan (perhaps the only exceptions are the opera and ballet seasons which can be promoted together).

As more screens are digitised, the opportunity to play more content will increase dramatically. As the number of screens grows, so will the potential revenue. This will lead to more engagement from the content owners to deliver regular product and special events for cinema.

Overall, we remain excited about alternative content and the role it will play in changing customers’ perceptions of our cinemas from traditional movie houses to entertainment centres. Tim Richards is CEO of UK exhibitor Vue. He will be speaking at the Screen International Film Summit on October 13.

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