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FiOS Looks To Expand Into 3D, But No Additional Territories

In the wake of announced plans for 3D service this year from multichannel service providers DirecTV and Comcast, Verizon posted a statement Friday from an executive with its FiOS TV service to update subscribers and potential subscribers on its plans for the new stereoscopic format.

In a state of the 3D market address Friday, Verizon product management VP Shawn Strickland said Verizon plans to offer 3D content in time for the holiday selling season.

He said the service is “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.”

The telco operator, which earlier in the week announced that it would at least temporarily halt the rollout of the FiOS TV service to any additional markets, has a commitment to bringing “the broadest range of 3D programming to the marketplace, supported by a best-in-class user experience,” Strickland said.

He added that Verizon’s approach to FiOS 3D will compare to its handling of HDTV, which now lists “up to 140 HD channels.”

Yet Strickland took some shots at service providers that are rushing out 3D offerings, while pointing out the task of adding 3D service has not been easy in a newborn marketplace.

He said other service operators that will soon be offering 3D content are offering mostly demo material to early purchasers of 3D TV equipment, and some are using content from their own affiliated production operations and will not share with others.

Strickland said, “Some content owners have elected to specifically exclude Verizon and other competitive distributors from carriage of these 3D events in an effort to advantage their distribution businesses. Others have fixed ridiculously high prices for the content.

“Verizon’s position is that integrated operators should not withhold programming options from the marketplace, and that consumers should have the freedom to choose the distributor that best meets their needs.”

He added that technological challenges also remain, “as technology that enables TVs and set-top boxes to adjust the set to display 3D content has not been perfected or distributed, causing a major viewing hassle for consumers.”

When Verizon launches 3D on FiOS it expects to have a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, “not via ponderous access to the TV’s setup menu,” Strickland added.

At launch the company also expects to find good 3D content available “and to have chosen our mode of delivery, whether full-time or part- time broadcast service, or via video on demand and to what measure as pay-per-view material.