Sony exec: Poorly executed 3D threatens biz

Hiroshi Yoshioka tells NAB that quality is vital to success

LAS VEGAS -- Hiroshi Yoshioka, Sony's executive deputy president and president of its consumer products and devices group, added his voice to the growing chorus of pleas for quality 3D during the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas.

"Poorly executed 3D is harmful, and it threatens its long-term success," he said during his keynote Monday. "Remember that 3D is a natural experience; it is how most of us see the world everyday. We must give consumers great 3D that looks natural and feels wonderful."

Several speakers have spoken up for quality 3D, a hot-button topic since the poorly received stereo conversion of Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" worried and even angered many stakeholders in the burgeoning 3D market.

Pointing to the chain of Sony's 3D technologies from production and theatrical exhibition to the home market, Yoshioka said, "every link of the chain had be strong, and 3D also requires a total workflow."

He predicted a strong 3D TV market and concluded by showing stereo content, including a "Resident Evil: Afterlife" trailer and clips from the Masters golf tournament, which this year for the first time was shown in 3D on cable and streamed online to 3D-ready devices.

NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith, who was a two-term Republican Senator from Oregon, gave his first NAB State of the Industry address since being named to the position in the fall.

He first pledged to fight a performance tax from the recording industry, which he called "a bailout of the major recording companies."

"I think the American people have had enough of bailouts," he said. "Technology chopped the head off the recording industry's business model. So now, the recording industry, with desperation in its eyes, had decided to bite the hand that feeds it."

Next, Smith addressed the "great spectrum grab" of the National Broadband Plan.

"Our concern is that the broadband plan would yank away more than one-third of the spectrum used for TV broadcasting so that wireless broadband companies have more," he said.

"There is a minimum we need in order to be viable for the future, and to sustain the enduring value of free and local television," he said, citing such issues as the billions recently spent on the DTV transition, the disadvantaged and elderly that rely on free, over-the-air TV, and homeland security.

Regarding the later, he said, "During times of emergencies, there is no way that cell phones and broadband networks will ever be as reliable as broadcasting in terms of delivering timely and accurate information to the masses.

"This spectrum reallocation is bad for consumers and bad for broadcasters," Smith concluded, suggesting a new approach to solving the problem. "Let's first get a comprehensive inventory of unused spectrum. Let's explore whether digital-compression technologies and other innovations can solve this alleged spectrum shortage without forcing broadcasters off the air."

Finally, Smith reported on the issue of retransmission-consent rights for broadcasters. "NAB has taken the lead with our network partners to ensure that policymakers understand that the fair and market-based retransmission-consent process is working just as Congress intended," he said.

Smith concluded the opening session by presenting NAB's Distinguished Service Award to Michael J. Fox, who received a lengthy standing ovation from the thousands in the packed auditorium at the Las Vegas Hilton.
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