Verizon To Offer 3D Content To FiOS TV Customers In 2010

3D. It's a format that's being talked about, and implemented, almost everywhere these days. It's impossible to avoid, but thankfully it doesn't seem that 3D will be completely replacing 2D anytime soon. 3D as a format has had its fair share of pundits due to having to wear 3D glasses to view most implementations, but to say that no buzz has been created because of it would be an outright lie. Now, cable and satellite companies are lining up to offer 3D content to consumers, without really knowing how long the lines will be to take them up on the service. It reminds us somewhat of the initial HD rollouts, but at least with HD, there was a general feeling that every consumer wanted in, with the only hurdle being the high cost of an HDTV.

This weekend, Verizon has announced that they will join DirecTV and Comcast in planning a 3D programming offering. What's interesting about this is that Verizon is far from being one of the most prolific pay-TV operators; it has connections in just 18 U.S. states, and they announced last week that their rollouts were hitting a stop. The good news for current customers is that Verizon clearly cares about their FiOS and FiOS TV offerings, and they're still working to improve and expand service to the areas where this option is available.

Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon, had this to say about the company's future entry in 3D, which should happen sometime later this year:

"Verizon believes that new technology especially entertainment opportunities as great as 3D TV promises to be must be accommodated and delivered rationally and superbly, just as we have done with our HD TV offering.  As the industry transitions to stereoscopic 3D, we are developing a broad 3D offering focused on sustainable, ongoing 3D entertainment options that can be offered to all FiOS TV customers who buy one of the new stereoscopic 3D television sets.  As we have done with HD, our commitment will be to bring the broadest range of 3D programming to the marketplace, supported by a best-in-class user experience.  Today, we fulfill that promise with up to 140 HD channels and thousands of HD VOD titles.  Ultimately, we expect to provide the same industry leadership with 3D.  

"The market for 3D TV is very early in its development.  We're monitoring the early sales of 3D TVs and expect to announce a 3D offering well in advance of the holiday TV-shopping season, when 3D television sales will expand.

"3D content is just now becoming available from a handful of providers like ESPN.  As it becomes available, TV service providers like Verizon will negotiate deals to telecast that content.  We are in active discussions with a number of companies in the emerging 3D value chain."

We get the feeling that Verizon's announcement will be followed soon by many other cable providers; if a relatively small carrier such as Verizon can get deals to carry 3D content, we feel confident that bigger operators like Time Warner Cable and Dish Network will also be onboard soon. The question is: will you pay extra for the added depth? Would you buy a 3D HDTV if the 3D content were provided at no extra charge?