MasterImage 3D is to launch a content portal for streaming 3D content to mobile devices in-conjunction with a major consumer electronics brand in the second half of this year. National Geographic, Red Bull Media and Hollywood Studios are being lined up to supply content and the company says it is in talks with Nintendo.
“Red Bull Media and National Geographic are two we are proactively trying to look at closing deals with,” said Roy Taylor, display EVP and GM, MasterImage 3D. “We have direct relationships with the studios and we are talking to them about content for the portal. We are also working together to make 3D games, 3D UIs and 3D navigation.”
He added: “We’d love to be more engaged in Europe. We are already working with Orange and we are reaching out to BSkyB. If any of their executives read this I would love to talk with them. We are talking to big OEMs about launching in the fall and they are actively pushing me to make connections in Europe about 3D content.”
MasterImage’s business is in autostereoscopic display technology for smartphones, tablets, in-car and in-flight systems with the streaming VoD service lined up to accompany the release of a MasterImage 3D mobile 3D device. Explained Taylor, “Ideally we would only deliver the screens, but 3D is so new so we have to be involved in the whole ecosystem and to ensure that we help solve the content and distribution challenges with commercialising mobile 3D devices. You can’t just have a movie and a game at purchase. Consumers want a continued pipeline to content. “Additionally, great 3D display technologies need great quality 3D content. We wanted to play a role in making sure the ecosystem of technology and content distribution evolved together. Finally, as a Hollywood company with studio relationships from our cinema business unit, we felt like we were in a good position to mine the content opportunity and provide a premium service to our OEM/ODM partners and ultimately consumers.” The mobile portal is designed to be an embedded app on all MasterImage 3D partners who work with the company to create a smartphone or tablet using its 3D LCD screen and Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier technology. The portal will include a full digital storefront (DRM, e-commerce, fulfilment) and a 3D media player. It is also aggregating premium 3D content so that at purchase, all MasterImage 3D-enabled devices are loaded with content. “As it will be an embedded app, it will be available on all stereo 3D mobile devices that have an app store,” said Taylor. “It could be expanded onto 3DTVs in the future, however, our launch strategy is clearly as a mobile 3D product to help seed that business opportunity. We see glasses-free mobile devices as the vehicle to bring great 3D content into the home.” “This technology is truly pioneering for the 3D industry,” said Taylor. “Never before has anyone seen 3D resolution on a smartphone or tablet that looks so compelling and amazingly beautiful and doesn’t need glasses. We could rescue Nintendo and its appalling 3D experience with something beautiful. We are talking to Nintendo and anybody else who is thinking of creating a 3D portable console.”
That would naturally include Sony and Microsoft, though this was not confirmed. It is also talking with Harper Collins and other publishers about creating 3D versions of books.
“A page of text may not be quite right for 3D but there are hundreds of thousands of illustrated books where a 3D image could bring a whole new lease of life to back catalogues,” added Taylor.
At CES, the service was demoed with a range of content including U2 3D; Flying Monsters 3D, indie shorts from Digital Revolution Studios, and 3D conversions such as Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last. The company also launched a glasses-free HD resolution 3D 4.3″ display for smartphones and a WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution 3D display for a 10.1″ tablet. The company invented, patented and has mass-produced the cell-matrix parallax barrier, a 3D technology for auto-stereoscopic mobile display.