ThreeD for DDDummies

[Editor’s note: contact the 3D version of Peter, email him at]

For some years 3D TV content providers have been seeking overnight success. Heavily researched, beautifully made (mostly cartoon /animated) cinema productions have indeed captivated audiences, and stirred significant investment aimed at bringing the 3D viewing experience into the living room.  January’s CES showed how far we’ve come.

This technology review ain’t about that aspect of 3D.

There are many  instances of breakthrough high-end technology flowing through too much more mundane uses – remember CMX video editing systems (if you are old like me), character generators, computer graphics systems, and desktop publishing. How can the common man/company/school start to use 3D to improve its ability to communicate, inspire and impress?

As an example: consider a startup company wanting to explain its product and its financial opportunities to a number of crucial analysts – how to stand out from the rest?

Interestingly, at CES there were a number of attention-grabbing software and hardware concepts that indeed start one thinking about the worth of 3D beyond the high-end entertainment stratum. After all, 3D enhances the visual medium, and (done right) should augment the impact and value of everything from classroom-taught subjects, to corporate communications, to a broad range of packaging, R&D and medical development, and many more.

So this forward-looking team decides that 3D will add a new dimension to its impact on such a jaded group of  analysts, and appoints a ‘3D-izer’ to get familiar with the ‘state of the art’ in 3D, and become an early adopter. Here’s a couple of things the 3D-izer found.

RCA showed a software /hardware package that allowed the viewer – using a basically standard hand-held remote – to modify the look of a 3D video by changing the perceived depth of the 3D field. So the impact of the ‘3Dness’ could be set from ‘flat as a pancake’ to ‘in your face’.  Not fully baked yet but reveals how malleable the 3D experience may become – making an important figure ‘jump out ‘ of a graph (done subtly) should generate attention!

Why look at a picture when you can print a 3D object. Priced around $1,299 and with cartridges around $3 to $4, 3D printing looks like it will move from the machine shop to the backyard workshop.

A Hungarian company with the somewhat tortuous name Leonar3Do International Inc. (  ) brought their latest version of a 3D visualizer –my term for a tool that allows one to build a 3D construct in a work-space that artists,  teams and students can share interactively. A hard model to visualize but this YouTube video shows the concept well –if a 2D picture is worth a thousand words, a 3D picture must be worth at least the cube of the square root of a thousand. {See:}. Leonar3Do offers (among other products) a training package to get the 3Dizer up to speed on generating 3D ‘stuff’ efficiently

The 3D-izer adds all this innovative capability to some new entries into adjacent spaces, such as affordable 3D printers and ‘no-glasses 3D screens’. 3D Systems Corporation specializes in such 3D printers from home version for $1,300 to a production version for over $250k. A small wristwatch size object would cost about $3-5 per copy. The 3D-izer returns to his team and interactively builds a spectacular 3D presentation, and 3D prints an early version of their ‘Widget2.0’ product. The analysts are hugely impressed……….

This scenario is clearly ‘out there’ – however the opportunities for industry changing products, marketing creativity, and interactive invention bring a whole new dimension to the future of 3D.

Viodi View – 11/23/11

If Innovation is the driver of economic growth, then what is necessary to spark innovation?  Is there a recipe that a society can use to create a culture of innovation?  Do apps count as innovation or is innovation associated with breakthroughs in basic research?  Silicon Valley has been a center of innovation for decades and so it is interesting to read the opinions of folks who have lived through the cycles and the evolution of this valley and their comments on these questions.

The reaction to Alan Weissberger’s recent coverage of the MIT president’s comments on innovation and a recent WCA panel are as thought provoking as what the speakers had to say.  Read on to find the links to those articles and the associated comments.

MIT President on How to Improve America’s Innovation Economy
by Alan Weissberger

Susan Hockfield, President of MIT, spoke to a sold out crowd at the November 9, 2011 Commonwealth Club meeting in Santa Clara, CA. The topic discussed is very dear to this author: “Revving Up America’s Innovation Engine.” Ms. Hockfield is a noted neuroscientist whose research has focused on the development of the brain. She is the first life scientist to lead MIT and holds a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience in the institute’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.  Click here to read Weissberger’s complete article and the extensive commentary that follows.

WCA Panel: Mobile Gaming, Payments & Location Are In; Wireless Infrastructure Is Out! by Alan Weissberger

WCA (Wireless Communications Alliance) held their 12th annual “What’s Hot (and What’s Not) in Mobility 2011? event on November 16th in Santa Clara, CA. A panel of venture capitalists shared their opinions and offered predictions on a wide range of topics and issues decided by the moderator.  The emphasis was clearly on the consumer market for mobility services and applications.  There was very little discussion of the mobile enterprise, industrial wireless markets (like M2M or smart grid) or the actual wireless network -both access and backhaul- that enables all the new services, apps and business models.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

Learning Communities within a High School

Designed around five small learning interests, Colleton County High School in Walterboro, South Carolina is a different kind of high school.  Cliff Warren, Colleton County High School’s principal, talks about the unique design of this campus, as well as its academic approach of preparing students for career and college.  With five schools within a school, it has the feel of a college, while, at the same time, it provides a more family like atmosphere than the normal campus of 1,600 students.  Their approach allows for much more of a customized learning plan than traditional high schools.  Warren discusses the role of broadband and its ability to extend school to the home.  Click here to view the video interview.

Media Innovations Summit & New Tech Youth Symposium – Next Week

November 30th to December 2, Santa Clara, CA

Major players from the ranks of Hollywood studios, programming networks and producers, MSOs, telcos, Madison Avenue, CE manufacturers, app developers and technology suppliers will convene to compare notes on the tech trends, monetization opportunities and market forces that are shaping their plans for the year ahead.

Click here for a special Viodi promotional registration code.

Broadband and a Hot Lunch

In anticipation of next week’s MIS Summit and the associated New Tech Youth Symposium, Viodi has been curating articles relevant to the topic of youth and technology.  One topic that was in the news last week, but deserved a closer look was the efforts by the FCC and many cable operators to bring affordable broadband and associated devices to those who are part of hot lunch programs offered by schools.

To read more, click here

To watch our video interview with One Economy, a significant player in this effort, click here.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • Minecraft, a sort of building block virtual world, is extended into the education realm thru the work of MinecraftEdu.
  • An open source way to control and own one’s social media data – like this Tweet that will drift into the ether.
  • A 100% FTTH service area – with FTTH, the performance is same – whether 1 or 40 km away – with lower operational costs.
  • Engaging and empowering young people in rural Kansas- a movement rural telecoms should study for their regions.
  • Ironic- a day after deciding not to use the Apture search plug-in on Viodi, Google acquires them for its Chrome effort.
  • The Generation Gap Question – when I learned what “newstream” means.

The Korner – A Cost Effective Way to Use 3DTV as a Teaching Tool

Innovation sometimes happens when it is least expected.  For instance, the external benefits of commercializing inventions from the space program for other applications are well known.  This video interview with Elixer XES 3D reinforces the idea that innovation in a given field can come from unexpected places; in this case, using a technology that most people associate with consumer entertainment.

Look closely at the background of this video and you will see an autostereoscopic 3D display. The cool thing about this type of display is that one doesn’t need glasses to view the 3D images. As explained by Rob Koplin of Elixir XES 3D, the first application for the displays was in the medical industry (think 3D surgeries). They then extended it to the movie industry (trailers) and casinos.

Along the way, they discovered that 3D techology can be the foundation for new teaching tools for children with dyslexia and autism. Koplin shared the findings of a white paper, created in conjunction with the Gemstone Foundation, as to the benefits of this technology for kids with special needs. Watch this exclusive video interview to learn about the unique model Elixir XES 3D has for bringing this to schools with minimal to no investment by the schools.  Click here to view.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Viodi View’s U.S. readers.

Viodi View – 07/06/11

A social network of devices is how IBM’s Scott Burnett described the oncoming onslaught of machine to machine connectivity.  His comments, made at the 2011 Parks Associates’ Connections conference, echoed those of Glenn Lurie, President of Emerging Devices, Resale and Partnerships for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, who suggested that, “Everything will be connected.”  He anticipates growth of connected devices to easily reach 300 to 500% of the population within two years.   We will be posting an interview with Mr. Lurie in an upcoming issue.

Impressions of Connections

Kurt Scherf of Parks Associates
Kurt Scherf of Parks Associates

The human user interface/gesture recognition, multi-screen access to content and the cloud were three things that made an impression on Kurt Scherf, VP of Parks Associations, at the 2011 Connections Summit. Demonstrations of these technologies at the Tuesday night panel set the tone for this multi-day event. As Scherf points out, the value of the various devices within the home is being enhanced by the broadband connections made possible by networks outside and within the home.  Click here to view.

Pollution Funding & More

Bill Ablondi
Bill Ablondi

Bill Ablondi of Parks Associates provides an overview of some of the key take-aways from the 2011 Connections Conference in Santa Clara, CA. From “Funding Pollution”, to the idea of shifting a product or service from a “nice to have” to a “must-to-have”, Ablondi provides kernels of the knowledge shared at this year’s event.  Click here to view.

Opportunities & Obstacles to Cloud Adoption by Alan Weissberger

The just concluded Cloud Leadership Forum (June 20-21 in Santa Clara, CA) brought together CIOs, IT managers, vendors, and analysts to discuss the current status, future directions and important caveats of Cloud Computing.  All but the largest companies appear to favor Public Clouds because of lower cost, advantages of scale, and faster deployment.  Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft and now Fujitsu all offer public clouds for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). However, HP was touting Hybrid Cloud (mixture of both public and private) as the way forward. HP plans to introduce their own public cloud later this year.  Click here to read the entire article, as well as Weissberger’s analysis.

Melissa Simpler, CEO Affinegy
Melissa Simpler, CEO Affinegy

Last week’s  announcement by Affinegy of their Home Portal v2.0 software and related announcement that Cablevision is deploying it, is further evidence of the growing importance of the converged home to service providers’ business plans.  We caught up with Affinegy CEO, Melissa Simpler at the Parks Associates Connections conference, where she discusses Home Portal v2.0.  Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • What I am learning on my summer vacation – This wisdom from a 12 year old Swedish Boy, “You don’t learn from books, you learn from YouTube.”
  • Nice story of expansion plans for this “Silicon Valley of the Midwest” – our take on Mitchell, South Dakota
  • Entone-NECA partner to bring OTT video solution to NECA members

Marchon 3D Sunglasses at CES 2011
The first day of the Connections conference was greeted with something very unusual for late June in the area formerly known as the Valley of the Heart’s Delight – rain.  Oddly, Silicon Valley received more rain in June than it did in January, the same month that I stumbled upon a cool invention at CES that I thought would be appropriate summer outdoor gear for the tech enthusiast – 3D sunglasses.

A concern of mine regarding 3DTV has been what happens if I am at a friend’s house to watch a program and I don’t have 3D glasses. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, would I really want to borrow a pair of glasses from someone who would be a friend of mine (or vise-versa)? Who knows what sort of germs might be squirming around on a well-used pair of 3D glasses?

Of course, my experience carrying glasses was never positive. as I would lose them or sit on them and end up with a loose-fitting, tape-repaired set of specs that left me open to light-hearted fun from family members.

So, when I ran into Marchon at CES 2011, I was excited that they might have a product that would be useful for those of us who are careless with our glasses, but might want to watch an occasional 3D program. Their new line of passive 3D sunglasses are RealD certified for 3D viewing.  At the same time, the lenses change opacity automatically will change to sunglass in less than 30 seconds.  Marchon manufactures sunglasses for a number of major brands, such as Nike, Nautica and Calvin Klein.

This could be a great gift for that tech person who loves their entertainment and wants to protect their eyes from harmful UV radiation.

Viodi View – 10/13/2010

Click here to register

The Wall Street Journal had a terrific feature article in yesterday’s edition about the business of scraping data from web sites. Amazingly, as the article highlights, this practice is not just the domain of shady characters, as respectable companies are making money from gathering data, without permission, from others’ web sites, analyzing it and reselling it in various forms. It is not just the data that is published by the author that is vulnerable, but the comments made by readers. Some of these companies even have algorithms to identify who made a comment, even if the comment was anonymous or published on a private site under a pseudonym. 

Last week, we experienced a word-by-word scraping of this next article. Other than a very subtle link to the Viodi web site, one would have thought that this pirate web site is where Alan Weissberger published his latest article.

Exponential Growth in M2M Market Dependent on Important Network Enhancements by Alan Weissberger

IEEE ComSocSCV and NATEA held a very successful workshop on M2M and Smart Grids at SCU on Sept 25th.  Attendees heard presentations about standards for Smart Devices, open M2M platforms from AT&T and Sprint, and mitigating noise in the "connected home" network (the new end point of residential M2M connections that extends beyond "the last mile").  This article is a follow up to that well received mini-conference. Click here to read the entire article and view the comments.  

The Tablet and Smart Phone as an Input Screen and as a Product Finder

M2M could be a big driver for LTE networks, as shown in Alan Weissberger's latest article and as evidenced by a conversation I had with one network provider last week at CTIA . Although I never made it to the CTIA showfloor last week, I did see some interesting exhibits at a pre-CTIA press event. Two items at this event that caught my eye were a mobile app that essentially turns an iPad into a remote screen/entry device for one’s PC and another that enables self-help at the retail level.  Click here to read the rest of this article.

What Careers Does the Internet Create?

Bill Genereux of Kansas State University at Salina, KS poses an interesting question on Twitter, that has me stumped and that is worth more than a Twitter-thought. “Looking for examples of careers that couldn't exist without the Internet. My students want to know.” Other than jobs in datacenters, webmasters and maybe Jet Blue Call Agents (and other call agents), what job has been created by the Internet? Even the Jet Blue Call Agents really aren’t new jobs, as the Internet just changes the nature of how and where the job is done.

It seems like the Internet doesn’t really create new jobs, it just reduces frictions and eliminates jobs by reducing intermediaries and making tasks that would have been prohibitively expensive possible. I am interested in others’ thoughts on this topic, so please comment here or on Bill’s Twitter feed. Also, be sure to check out his enlightening blog that deals with the rural digital life. 

Click here to watch the videoBeam Me Up Android

Using your phone as a way to discover videos and send them to other devices, whether your own PC or someone else’s device, is what the latest generation of the Twonky server from PacketVideo promises. The latest version of the Twonky server includes a feature that automatically copies content from one’s phone to web-enabled devices in the home for viewing and/or listening on the big screen, PC or stereo. Rick Schwartz of PacketVideo provided an overview of an earlier version of this application in a video interview we filmed at Parks Associates’ 2010 Connections Conference in Santa Clara.  Click here to view the video.

Click here to view the videoAn Interactive Look Behind the Curtain at the Media and Innovations Summit

Walking the walk is what OpenTV did earlier this week by implementing their interactive television technology to enhance the Media Innovations Summit at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. Their approach allowed the audience to vote and state opinions using smart phones, text messages, tablets or lap-tops. It was an honor for Viodi to be part of the video capture part of the production.  Click here to view the video and read the rest of the post.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

The Korner – 3DTV and More – Too Much Content for One Workshop

Roger Bindl put together a truly original take on local content at OPASTCO’s Tech and Marketing Symposium last week in Minneapolis. As evidenced by this picture, he entertained the audience with 3D video content produced by the Sony Vegas 10 editing software. Although 3DTV may seem to be in the distant future, local HD production was non-existent when we started the Local Content Workshops, and now, it is common.

Click to view videoA 2-minute compressed version of Bindl ‘s 2-hour presentation can be seen by clicking on the following video. Bindl covered a great deal of content in this session. Amazingly, there is more that he did not cover.

For instance, we discovered some real-world differences in camcorders when we filmed the Media Innovation Summit a couple of weeks ago, as evidenced by this video.

click here for the videoThe set-up for that conference and the things we learned from producing two days of a of live and interactive event is more fodder that we would like to discuss our upcoming Local Content Workshop held in conjunction with the MTA.

Another topic for consideration is how we deal with web scrapping of the hundreds of videos we have produced through the years. So, if you are going to the MTA Video Forum, we would love to hear from you as to what we should put in the agenda.

Feel free to comment in the "Reply "section on the Viodi View web site or, if you are concerned your comment might be scrapped, please shoot us an email. 

Viodi View – 09/15/10

One benefit of social media networks is that they reduce the friction associated with the flow of information and presumably make commerce more efficient (not counting the time spent on the social media games). The downside and the concern I have is that I lose control over the data I post on the third-party sites. I may still own the data, but access to the data can be restricted or held hostage in a heartbeat. Read the Korner to see how one Viodi View friend used an old school social networking tool to serve as the catalyst for starting a new web site, based on a rather unheralded social media platform. 

Click here to learn more about FiberCloudCloud Hosted Software (Sponsored Video)

In this video, George Henny, co-CEO of FiberCloud, explains how FiberCloud helps independent telcos leverage their existing infrastructure and existing customer relationships to add new revenue streams to their service offering. FiberCloud provides cloud-hosted software for small businesses and is a private-label provider of these services for independent telcos. The FiberCloud approach requires no upfront capital investment, allows the local phone company to retain the customer relationship and can quickly be deployed to add further value to existing broadband services.  Click here to view.

Note, FiberCloud is a ViodiTV sponsor and was the executive producer of this video.

Still No Nationwide Public Safety Network- Why Not Use LTE To Build One? by Alan Weissberger

The NY TImes has called attention to the lack of a U.S. public safety network, nine years after 9/11 and despite $7 billion in federal grants and other spending over the last seven years to improve the ability of public safety departments to communicate with one another. The article states that many of the issues that helped shape the current dysfunctional public safety radio networks threaten the creation of a uniform standard for wireless broadband public safety communications – the emphasis of Washington policy makers and the FCC. For years, public safety communications has been done using a raft of incompatible networks. Will that change anytime soon?

Click here to read Alan's analysis and to join in the discussion.  

Fingerprinting – More than Just Piracy Detection

At the Set-Top Box 2010 conference, David Price, Vice President of Business Development for Harmonic, Inc., explained how YouTube integrated technology into Harmonic’s encoders to create audio and video fingerprints of legitimate content. YouTube then compares the fingerprint from the legitimate copy to user-uploaded files. If they match, then YouTube rejects the pirated upload. To date, fingerprinting has mostly been about fighting piracy.

Click here to read why it might be used for other things, such as dynamic ad insertion on multiple screens.  

Meet the New MVPD, Same as the Old MVPD

Jeremy Toeman provided a view through the "Way Back Machine" as he provided an overview of interactivity through the decades at today’s STB 2010 conference in San Jose. He brings the credibility as the founder and developer of middleware software to enable the connected home in the waning years of the twentieth century. He was Vice President of Sling Media and defined the product that became synonymous with the concept of place shifting. His latest venture Stage Two Consulting, Inc. is an out-source product marketing firm helping companies design and market high-tech products and services.

Click here to read some of Jeremy's thoughts and predictions.

2011 – A Big Year for 3D to the TV?

Goofy me in 3D glasses

2014- the year that Parks Associates predicts that 80% of the televisions sold will be 3D capable. According to Dr. Ajay Luthra of Motorola, Inc, 2011 will be a critical year in keeping the momentum going towards the widespread commercial deployment envisioned by Parks. I had a chance to catch up with Dr Luthra and Howard Postley of 3ality Digital at the Set-Top Box 2010 conference in San Jose.  

Click here to read their insight.

Verizon Invests in the Smart Home Through 4Home

The announcement of Verizon’s investment in 4Home is significant in that it shows the importance of smart grid and smart home type services as part of a Communications Services Provider's total offering. Embedded in the router, which eliminates the need for another box, the 4Home software adds the capability for the service provider to offer services such as home security, telehealth and smart energy management.  

Click here to watch a video interview with Jim Hunter of 4Home at the 2009 Parks Associates Connections Conference.  

Click here to watch an amusing video from Roger regarding an upcoming local content workshopThe Local Content Roundtable at MTA – Advertisement

Date: October 26, 8:30 to 11:45
Location: Nisswa, MN (in conjunction with the MTA Video Peer Group Convention)

Building upon Viodi’s Local Content Workshop series, the Local Content Roundtable will be a refresher of some of the latest ideas, tips and tools for producing low-cost, high-quality content. There will be plenty of ideas and examples as to how independent telcos can become better producers and facilitators of community content. Expect this to be a very interactive session.  

Click here to watch the video and learn how to register.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • Cool development for our old friends at ETI Software Solutions, as their software is helping to power GCI's new billing subsidary.
  • Videotron launches 3G+ mobile services – Nexus 1 will be one of their offerings. I thought this phone was Manufacturer Discontinued.
  • Great video on rural point of view regarding the FCC's National Broadband Plan. Bravo, Hill Country! (Thanks Cullen!).
  • Lots of Hand-Waving at IBCPrimeSense and Softkinetic demonstrating gesture controlled TV remotes
  • Stuart McKechnie of Zoran– "Only 3% of the world is under the FCC’s jurisdiction" with regards to the prospects of an All Vid Box at STB2010

Click here to read more about the Woof FactorThe Korner – Using the Old Social Network to Create a New One

The subject line of the email from Alan Toman was simply, “Your Perspective.” The email explained that he was on a mission to speak to at least 100 people over the course of a couple of weeks, so he could directly ascertain the state of the economy, understand how various market segments were doing, where the prospects for growth were, etc. He didn’t want the filter of the media to cloud his perspective on these important topics. Our conversation that followed his email lasted for close to an hour and was quite enjoyable.

A few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to find another email from Alan summarizing the conversations he had. He had gathered and synthesized a wealth of information from people who are employed in many industries; from mobile, Internet and advertising to education, energy and finance; from entertainment, non-profit and software to VCs, IT and PR.

Click here to read how his learnings led to the Woof Factor.

2011 – A Big Year for 3D to the TV?

3D Glasses at CES on a typical cnsumer2014- the year that Parks Associates predicts that 80% of the televisions sold will be 3D capable. According to Dr. Ajay Luthra of Motorola, Inc, 2011 will be a critical year in keeping the momentum going towards the widespread commercial deployment envisioned by Parks. I had a chance to catch up with Dr Luthra at the Set-Top Box 2010 conference in San Jose.

Luthra explained that the ecosystem, which consists of content production, distribution and display, are aligned for significant deployments next year; significant in that they will lay the groundwork for the beginning of a lifecycle which could be in the mainstream in a few years. The big question that remains and that has to be answered by the market is consumer adoption and satisfaction with 3D TV in their living room (click here to see an earlier post on 3D and the consumer).

The standards groups have made significant progress in a short period of time in terms of dealing with things such as closed captioning. For instance, the adoption of the AVC SEI standard for signaling tells the set-top whether the content is 3D or 2D and how its frames are positioned. This standardization is important, because it allows the transmission of 3D through the network without modifications to encoders and only firmware updates to set-tops, instead of forklift upgrades.

click here to watch a video interview with Howard PostleyStill, there are challenges that remain, such as how graphics are handled. As Howard Postley of 3ALITY Digital pointed out at Set-Top Box 2010, great care must be taken to ensure that graphics and text don’t jump around as scenes change. This sort of thing can cause motion sickness and dizziness. Postley, whose company sells equipment which facilitates 3D content creation, points out that the production process is critical to creating both compelling and longer-form content (click here to see an earlier video interview with Howard Postley). 

One of the things he emphasizes is the importance for all of the players in the distribution chain to pass through the metadata that is created in production. This data, which is a relatively small amount, relative to the audio and video stream, provides important information to ensure that the viewer has an experience that is truly better than what they would see in two dimensions.

He suggests that service providers need to be aggressive or else they could lose the 3D market to over the top services, whether these services use a PC or a gaming console. He said that 3ALITY Digital is seeing ten times the rate of adoption of 3D on the PC, as compared to the TV. Both the gaming and PC decoding platforms offer the advantage of powerful processors and can provide a much richer experience for a given bit rate. He also warned service providers about over-compressing, as it will degrade the service.

The video for distribution via a network will be encoded in half-resolution, while the Blu-ray standard uses full resolution. Both Luthra and Postley indicated that the bandwidth premium for 3D at full resolution will be no more than 20 to 50% compared to the same stream in two dimensions. Luthra suggests that starting at half resolution is a good starting step, as the investment required to bring 3D to the masses is relatively small. As 3D to the television finds commercial success and faces competitive pressure from the higher resolution of Blu-Ray, the electronic distribution chain can upgrade to full resolution.

The big question is customer adoption and acceptance of 3D on the TV. The 'aha' moment for people experiencing 3DTV will probably be different for everyone. The recent Masters golf event might have been the 'aha' moment for me, if I had seen it in 3DTV. Dr. Luthra told me that being able to see the slope of the green impressed him and literally gave the game a new dimension. It will be interesting to see how 3DTV develops and how it enhances different kinds of content (think downhill skiing).

Viodi View – 01/22/10

Navin Johnson– I couldn’t help but think of Steve Martin’s unconscious incompetent character from the classic film The Jerk, while at the recently held Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. As you may recall, Navin Johnson stumbled into success and fortune by inventing a pair of glasses that would not slip off one’s nose. It was a hit with the public, until Carl Reiner’s character led a class action suit that claimed that Johnson's invention caused people to go cross-eyed. Go to the Korner to read the rest my reactions to the 3DTV demonstrations and talk at CES.

Kurt Scherf at CESConnected TVs and Ready for 3D

Kurt Scherf, Vice President and Principal Analyst for Parks Associates, summarizes the panels he hosted on the connected home and 3DTV at CES2010. He talks about the proliferation of connected televisions; he estimates 30 million of the TVs sold this year will be Internet ready. He points out that these connections will go beyond entertainment and include other applications, such as health care and energy management. He also provides his sage thoughts on 3DTV, as well as the general mood of the consumer.

Two common themes throughout the Parks Associates' conference were the importance of simplicity for the user and the infiltration of cloud computing, regardless of industry segment. Scherf suggests that the cloud computing approach could help service providers and manufacturers simplify things for the consumer. 

Tricia Parks of Parks and AssociatesThe Consumer in 2010 – WOPH is Me and a Lot of Other People

Tricia Parks, CEO and Founder of Parks Associates, discusses her research into consumer behavior surrounding the purchase of electronic equipment. The shift in the last couple of years has been away from the impulse buy to a more studied purchase. Going into 2010, she suggests that consumers are still uncertain about the future, although things have stabilized somewhat from a year ago; she suggests that consumers are Worried, Optimistic, Pessimistic and Hopeful (WOPH). She does suggest there are opportunities for manufacturers and service providers in 2010, especially for those product categories that have low NPS (Net Promoter Score) or poor word of mouth.

One Bright Spot from Haiti

In November, we featured a video with David Lewis of TCA, who explained his efforts to bring telecommunications and computers to Haiti. He reports minimal earthquake damage to the village and small town that have been the focus of his efforts, although from increased crime, gasoline shortages and frozen bank accounts are affecting everyone. One bright spot is that the Internet Café’ he installed is one of the few places available to access the Internet and make phone calls. Lewis suggested the best way to help is by donating through reputable financial organizations.

A Sound Way to Donate

Daniel Rudd, owner of Stock20, has a great deal all around. For $189, you can buy 1,629 individual tracks of royalty free music, which is great for scoring any sort of video track. He is giving $40 from every sale to the Red Cross for Haiti relief efforts. Last month, a similar promotion brought in over $1,600 for the Heifer organization. You can give a listen to this music library by going to  This promotion ends before Monday, January 25th.

Navin White Clone?The Korner – 3DTV Ready or Not?

As I donned various forms of 3D glasses at trade show booths around the CES convention floor, in the back of my mind was Navin Johnson's downfall and whether there are any long-term health related issues to living in a virtual 3D world. When it comes to viewing 3D, it is not a gimmick like White’s glasses and it will eventually develop into a mainstream living room entertainment option. The quality of the video that I saw at CES was simply amazing. Click here to see a brief video that shows one of the many views of 3D from the CES tradeshow floor. 

Whoa, hold your early adoption horses, we have a chasm to cross…..

3DTV Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

3ality Sure, the images look great on the tradeshow floor and the device ecosystem seems to be coming together very nicely, but are we looking at a market where the products are a bit ahead of the mainstream consumer?  In reality, 2010 is probably not the year of 3DTV, but maybe it will be remembered as the year that 3DTV was hyped.  There are a number of reasons to be skeptical of the hype and Howard Postley of 3ALITY Digital Productions provides enlightening insight in this video interview shot at Parks Associates Connections Conference at CES.  Click here to watch the video interview with Howard Postley.  

Viodi View – 01/06/10

With all the press releases and noise coming from the Consumer Electronic Show this week, I am reminded of Everett M. Christensen’s 23rd postulate, “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.” I hope to be able to see through all of the hype and hyperbole at the show and bring some good insight for the Viodi View and ViodiTV from this enormous cornucopia of electronic gadgetry.

50/50 Isn't Enough…….A Book Review

Click here to read the review on 60-40 or Fight!I have been thinking a great deal about Christensen’s Postulates, since reading Everett Christensen’s book, 60-40 or Fight. His book reminded me of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. A central thesis to his book is true happiness stems from the contributions one makes to others. This book transcends the typical business genre and is useful for anyone interested in having better relationships with family, friends or colleagues.  Christensen is president of Christensen Communications, a Minnesota-based, independent telephone company.  Click here to read the rest of the review.

3D – Not Just for the Movies or TV

The announcements from ESPN, Discovery and DirecTV regarding the creation of 3D networks has got to be music to those folks at CES who have a stake in seeing 3D in the living room. This Saturday, January 9, the MPEG Industry Forum will kick off the inaugural meeting for the 3DTV working group.

Chuck Van Dusen, an encoding expert and former CTO of Tut Systems, suggested that this is a positive development for the industry, “Standardization and and cost effective business methods will be key in the follow-on success of this technology for home use. I am glad to see the MPEGIF addressing this topic.”

Van Dusen pointed out that theatrical and television are not the only applications that may benefit from 3D technology. Chuck wrote, “There are many non-entertainment applications, such as digital signage, that can also benefit directly from these efforts, since many of these displays are network fed for the more common 2D HDTV resolution advertisements. I have been watching this space since early 2006 and the technology in the display and camera areas are much more mature that the player and distribution part of the ecosystem.”

3D will be on Tap at the Parks Associates Connections Summit at CES

3D will be one of the topics at tomorrow’s Parks Associates Connections Summit at CES, so I look forward to finding out directly from the panelists and analysts when network operators will have to start worrying about replacing their set-tops to meet this potentially disruptive technology.

Lights, Camera, Don’t Freeze Up

Roger and I will be running around with a camera and microphone interviewing speakers, analysts and anyone else we believe will be of interest to the ViodiTV audience. So, what do you do when preparing for an interview, especially one that may put you on the spot and with little or no preparation? Andy Marken of Marken Communications has written a nice piece giving some tips on what to do when the camera is facing you. Click here to read Marken’s tips.

Another Reason for Embedding

This next post provides another reason for embedding videos in your web site, instead of simply linking to them from a third-party site. Click here to read this article.

Surprising Customer Service – One Might Call It Magic

Emmett Smith has a rather informative article about his experience with Magic Jack, when after a year of use, his Magic Jack unit failed. Magic Jack’s customer service was a pleasant surprise to someone who has dealt with telephone companies small and large. Click here to read his article.

A Lure and A Legend – My Interview with Dave Sumner

Click here to watch the videoOne of the downsides of the franchising of America is the resulting homogenization of our experience. The hotels, the restaurants and the big box retailers are definitely a far cry from the Americana of yesteryear.

Fortunately, there are still some things that cannot be franchised and are unique to certain areas. For instance, ice fishing is an abstract concept to a California native. Sure, ice fishing would appear in an occasional movie or television show, but it just didn’t seem real.

Then, last summer at the Lakeland Appreciation Day, I met the inventor of the Flirty Girty (over 2 million sold!). Dave Sumner is an entrepreneur, extraordinaire, as he owns several businesses including a cable installation operation. Sumner is also a champion ice fisherman.

In this brief video interview, Sumner discusses ice fishing, the ice fishing community, and how technology, such as GPS, helps him position his ice-fishing house. He also explains some of the benefits of the Eskimo portable pop-up ice-fishing house. In these times of non-stop chatter, I can definitely see the appeal of the stillness of a Wisconsin frozen lake and the warmth of a ice fishing chateau. 

Click here to watch the video.