Interview: How Sky 3D is drawing closer

Sky's Brian Lenz talks up the third dimension

TR: Avatar is obviously hotly anticipated, but do you feel like it could be a pivotal moment in bringing 3D to a wider audience and, ultimately, pushing it into our living rooms?

BL: I think so. James Cameron seems to like putting pressure on himself. He took Titanic, where everyone knew how it was going to end, and took realistic CGI to a new level, and if he takes the same artistic sense along with his technical knowledge to 3D then it will be huge.

I'd hesitate to say that it's a make or break moment, but I do think that it's a significant moment. If he pulls it off – and personally speaking I don't doubt that he will - then it will be absolutely massive in terms of making 3D more popular.

TR: How important was being able to show that you could put 3D through existing Sky boxes?

BL: The big question was can we get 3D through our existing infrastructure and if we hadn't then I don't think we'd be doing anything like what we are doing now. If we hadn't been able to use the existing HD boxes then I think it would just be a novelty on our timeline; something that we might be doing in the future.

Because we don't touch infrastructure it means that all the investment can go towards the content, which is where you want to be.

LIGHTNING BOLT: But is 3D a flash in the pan?

TR: The credit crunch is really biting into people's budgets, do you feel like this has delayed the arrival of 3D sets in living rooms and delayed the chance to get Sky 3D into homes?

BL: I'm not sure if it has. From our perspective we see that next year has significant launches of 3D televisions, which is probably about the reasonable time frame anyway.

I won't proclaim to be an economic expert but consumer electronic sales seem to be holding quite well and Sky has gone from strength to strength.

I don't want to pretend that it doesn't have some impact. If people aren't moving home then there's not that need to buy the big television. I think you'll see stuff happen next year because the TV manufacturers themselves want and need something new.

Everyone hoping [3D] is not a flash in the pan and it all circles back between symbiotic relationship between content and televisions – if the content is there then the push for TVs will start to accelerate.

TR: The most common criticism of 3D is that it is a gimmick, are you convinced that 3D is something that the consumers want enough to invest in?

BL: I think so. I think that there is something intriguing there and of the people who wouldn't be impressed by technically gimmickry many of those are gobsmacked by the footage we have already shot so I would say there's something different about this.

I'm not sure that in five to ten years that the whole schedule will go into 3D, but appropriate events, movies of the weeks, special documentaries and things like major football matches can absolutely be worthwhile.

You put on the glasses to watch something that you are keen to see in a special way rather than a whole evening's viewing.