3D takes another blow as NATO strikes at Sony glasses charge

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 29-09-2011

As if there weren’t any other reasons to deter people from using 3D, Sony may have shot itself and the industry in the foot with a rumoured plan to charge customers for 3D glasses.
The need for eyewear in itself has been one of the key gating factors in 3DTV development and any dispute in the pioneering territory of 3D cinema will surely affect negatively the adoption of the third dimension to the small screen. Indeed even 3D’s leading proponents, James Cameron for example, sees parallels between how 3D has developed in both arenas. In this latest dispute the North American Theatre Owners Association (NATO) has felt moved to issue a statement in reactions to press reports in the US indicating that Sony has decided to stop providing 3D glasses to consumers and wants moviegoers to buy their own glasses.

NATO has a history of acting proactively on behalf of its members’ interests and is already in the middle of a campaign against Hollywood studios involved in setting up premium video on demand (pVOD) services which it believes threatens cinema owners’ livelihoods.

Switching its attention to its members having to pay for 3D glasses, NATO says that Sony’s reported suggestion would be “insensitive” to end users “particularly in the midst of continuing economic distress.”
It added: “Sony’s actions raise serious concerns for our members who believe that provision of 3D glasses to patrons is well established as part of the 3D experience. While each exhibition company must make its own decision as to how to handle its business arrangements and how to respond to this development, we are concerned that Sony’s attempt to change this business model would unilaterally upend long-standing industry practices.”
Drawing comparisons with the pVOD dispute, NATO warned that the decision by the studios to radically shorten the theatrical release window for what it condemned as a “failed DirecTV premium VOD experiment” was a vivid illustration of the downside of movie studios announcing fundamental changes to business models without negotiating with their exhibition partners first. It added that Sony would be “well advised” to revisit its decision.