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James Cameron is banking on 3-D TV

Forget Pandora. James Cameron has set his sights on a new frontier: 3-D TV. The Avatar director has teamed up with cameraman Vince Pace to form the Cameron-Pace Group, which will explore the widespread adoption of 3-D technology for episodic television, sports and advertising. While this might sound like something out of Star Wars or CNN’s lame 2008 presidential election coverage, Cameron, already a champion for 3-D cinema, feels that 3-D will become a major player in television programming in the next five years.

“3-D is just how all broadcast entertainment will be done. Sports, episodic drama, scripted and unscripted—we haven’t seen anything yet that doesn’t have a great degree of value added by being in 3-D,” Cameron told Reuters. Unscripted? Watch for Real Housewives of Saskatoon in 3-D.

As of now, high prices and the need to wear special 3-D glasses are apparently the biggest barriers for consumers, but Cameron feels that the development of lighter, less expensive 3-D glasses would overcome this resistance (though last time we checked, 3-D glasses weren’t all that cumbersome).

Cameron says the television industry is at a similar crossroads to the one film was at six years ago, when theatre operators and filmmakers resisted switching to 3-D due to expense, lack of films and a dearth of venues in which the movies could be screened. “We overcame that hurdle because we were getting constant positive feedback from the audience, and we are seeing the same thing in the broadcast model,” Cameron said.

With the Cameron-Pace Group, the Canadian filmmaker plans to develop new camera systems, services and creative tools that bring 3-D production costs down to an acceptable level for television budgets, as well as allow television crews to shoot in 3-D but extract a 2-D feed. Pace told Reuters, “I think that is a challenge for us—to demonstrate that a well done 2-D product that is successful can easily, easily translate into a 3-D revenue stream.”

Avatar may have made $4.7 billion at the box office, but we’re not sure we want to see Will.i.am in 3-D in our living room—one hologram of him was more than enough.

• James Cameron to venture into 3-D television [Reuters]

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