Category: 3ality

Although I have not paid for cable in years, and though I couldn’t tell you what the top shows have been for the past ten years, and even though I have frequently proclaimed “Kill Your Television” as a panacea to our collective North American spiritual crisis (highest level of depression in the world) I felt I had to comment on an article that appeared at Gawker.com titled “The End of Television As We Know It”today that said:

“For decades now, the networks and production studios have held a creative stranglehold over the industry. If you were a writer with a brilliant idea for a new show, you had to go through “the system” if you held any hope for your idea to see the light of day and come to fruition as an actual television show. “The system” meaning everything so frustrating and wrong and cliched with modern day Hollywood—-An endless clusterfuck of pitch meetings to tone-deaf underlings, countless script re-writes birthed from asinine notes from dunderhead executives (“I see on page 16 you have Sally eating a peanut…shouldn’t she be eating a cashew instead?!”) who’d never written a thing in their lives but love handing out business cards to aspiring starlets with the word “Producer” under their names, a dizzying array of focus groups and trend research studies so the higher-ups can get their fingers on the “pulse” of the modern viewer and force the creator to change accordingly, and everybody and their wife and cousin has got a fucking opinion to the point where the whole thing gets utterly mutilated. Someone could have the most brilliant idea and these people will more often than not find new and innovative ways to destroy it, all in the hopes of making it more appealing to Harriet and Clarence McAverage in Des Moines, Iowa.”

My response:

Not really.  I mean, it would be nice to think the internet, the platform that made you “famous,” Gawker,  was all that, but not yet. Last year 99% of television was still watched on a “TV.” I was surprised myself by that number, but guess what – Hulu+YouTube+Piratebay+Demonoid and all of it still equals less than 1% of the viewing audience.

People have been crying “Kill Your Television” since it began. And every year we declare its death, but it won’t go away.  Next year when all those new xmas-gift HDTVs start broadcasting 3D content, Lost in 3D, UFC in 3D and the rest of it (sure YouTube 3D is coming soon too) the internet will still be a relative drop in the bucket. Perhaps it is for the same reason radio won’t die; sometimes people don’t WANT to think, they don’t want to make their own choices. Sometimes they just want to sit back and have their entertainment programmed for them by a curator, by a collective group of people who are experts in storytelling, lighting, editing, acting, post-production etc.

“User-created content” may find ways of reaching large audiences, it may even prove to be innovative and of high standard, but what makes television relevant is that it concentrates an audience and its collective experience. The internet lets anyone watch anything anytime – but they do not share in the moment and TV, as the modern campfire creates a certain sense of social unity. You can watch the Superbowl a week later on Hulu, but that kind of misses the point doesn’t it? The collective excitement is gone, the dueling sides, the excitement of participation is lacking in this regard.

Sure this idea of choose-your-own-adventure is neat, but it is still time-intensive and requires research and thus actual work. TV is a passive sport and so long as we work and get tired and just want to chill on the couch and be entertained, TV will be around.




Hollywood has started to align itself behind the idea that the movie industry, despite a healthy summer take 26% over this time last year, is still seeing 5% decline in people’s butts in movie theater seats.

They are meeting this challenge in a variety of ways, principally among them the idea that 3D is a movie viewing experience that can uniquely be appreciated in the IMAX 3D screening theater. The Hannah Montana movie of 2007 made almost 3 times as much on its 3D screenings as it did in conventional 2D theaters – earning almost 60 million in 3D showings off its meager 15 million dollar production budget.

The studios have taken notice, and there are no less than 25 3D movies in the production pipeline including comers from Dreamworks, Disney, Sony, Universal and even some independents.

Interestingly enough the companies that manufacture the 3D production equipment were caught off-guard by this sudden backing from Tinseltown. Caught with their pants down, they are now scrambling to get everything from cameras, lighting systems and stereoscopic editing solutions to market. And they are meeting the challenge – companies like Iconix, makers of the world’s smallest HD camera showed a high-def stereoscopic camera system at this year’s NAB show that can be had for somewhere in the ballpark of US$250K. Sounds like a lot, but that is just the first wave. Digital Ordnance showed a High-Def stereoscopic video playback system for newar realtime playback of your 3D content on set so you know you are getting things right. This is quite something considering the massive amount of bandwidth required to spit out synched, near parallel streams of full 2k HD of an array of hard drives.

But enough geek talk.

Another very interesting event that took place at this year’s NAB show was the live satellite 3D television broadcast from Howie Mandell in Los Angeles. The company behind the demonstration, 3ality, has managed to acheive this using a simple single stream no different than 2-D television.

Yes, you heard me right. Live. 3D. Single-stream. Broadcast.

Samsung and Mitsubishi are already selling 3-D ready digital televisions, and recently WIRED magazine featured an exclusive stream of Bjork’s new 3D video. They pointed out that the stream HAD to be viewed from their site because of a special encoder that permitted it to work. see the trick here? it requires a proprietary encoder for playback – that means, until some hacker/coder develops a freeware/open source version of a hi bandwidth 3D streaming encoder, people can control where viewers access content. Advertisers LOVE this. And so do the content creators because they get financed by the advertisers. So 3D is big business and mark my words, before you can say “What is Blu-Ray?” you will be getting a catalog from Fred Segal’s with a price list for the latest Gucci Polarized 3D glasses – you know the tortoise shell ones with the miniature diamonds in the arms.

Because in a year’s time, you won’t leave home without them.

ps. the above Gucci is FAKE and they had nothing to do with this article which is entirely speculative.