Samsung plans 3D content streaming from online store

The company has deal with studios for movie trailers

Samsung on Wednesday said it would start streaming some 3D movie trailers over the Internet, establishing a new way for consumers to view 3D content on TV sets.

The consumer electronics company will provide access to 3D movie trailers through its online application store, and will expand the lineup of 3D content in the future, said Olivier Manuel, director of content at Samsung's consumer electronics division, during a press event in New York.

"In a couple of years, 3D streaming will be ubiquitous. This is just the first step to make that happen," Manuel said. "The potential is pretty exciting."

Manuel declined to comment on the type of content that the company will deliver through its applications store. However, he acknowledged full-length 3D movies or 3D games could be possibilities. A company representative said Samsung is striking deals with film studios for the trailers.

Movie services like Netflix are already delivering movies in high-definition format, but do not offer 3D streaming yet.

3D content requires considerably more bandwidth than regular video feeds, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. With the public Internet already under strain, quality-of-service and buffering could become issues in streaming 3D movies and online 3D games to homes.

Manuel acknowledged bandwidth is an issue that must be solved before 3D streaming gains a foothold. He said 3D streaming would require 5M bps (bits per second) to 7.5M bps broadband connections, which are already available in about 20 percent of U.S. broadband households. By comparison, streaming 720p high-definition images requires a 2.5M bps broadband connection, Manuel said.

But as bandwidth issues are mitigated, more users will access 3D content, like they access high-definition movies, Kay said. As more 3D content is developed, and hardware like gaming systems and TVs populate homes, the Internet will inevitably become a key content delivery mechanism, Kay said.

Another issue is whether users are interested in 3D at all, with some finding it uncomfortable to wear 3D glasses, Kay said.

Samsung's 3D streaming offering is an expansion of the company's plans to bring Internet content and Web applications to TV sets. One competitor in the market includes Google, which in June announced Google TV, a platform that blends broadcast TV and Internet into one interface. Google is partnering with Intel, Sony and Logitech on the platform.

Google's entry into the Internet-connected TV space is shows the potential of the market, Manuel said. He said Samsung is already in discussions with Google about Google TV, but declined to provide further details.

"They are a partner of ours already, we are talking about what we could do together, whether it be apps, Google TV, all that stuff," Manuel said.

Google apps including Picasa and Google Maps are already available for use on Samsung's Internet-connected TVs, Manuel said.

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