Samsung: Explore 3D is only the start for 3D video on demand

As Pocket-lint told you earlier this morning, Samsung has become the first TV maker to launch a 3D video on demand service. And now we've had an exclusive chat with the company to find out more, including the fact that this is only the beginning phase in its 3D on demand plans...

Available on the company’s Smart TV online content hub since Friday, the new "Explore 3D" app offers access to 20 3D videos including films, music videos, children’s classics, documentaries and trailers from partner DreamWorks, all through the television set directly. And crucially, all the videos are in Full HD 3D resolution - the same format used on its 3DTVs, and on 3D Blu-ray discs.

However, this is merely a toe in the water for Samsung's 3D app road map:

“It’s a way for people to get into the 3D experience, possibly for the first time,” said Andy Griffiths, vice president, Consumer Electronics, Samsung UK. “It’s just the start point for us and for the expansion possibilities for a number of video on demand services that support the 3D content world.”

‘Today we’ve got four movie trailers - How To Train Your Dragon, Megamind, Mortal Combat and Shrek Forever - nine music videos, children’s classics like Pinocchio and Ugly Duckling, and for the adults, lifestyle stuff like Macao, The Enchanted Hill and Hearst Castle. There are some great 3D visuals.”

Darren Petersen, content services manager at Samsung UK, also hinted at a rosy future for 3D streaming. “There’s a lot more to come. There’s about 20 different options now and we’re hoping to build that up to 60 or 70 as the year progresses. We’re going to be bringing more content throughout the year, but we can't confirm exactly what that’s going to be yet, so it’s a bit of a ‘watch this space’ situation.”

What about the other movie streaming services - Lovefilm and Acetrax - hosted by Smart TV? “I would expect all those services to evolve over time,” said Petersen. “I expect that the first step would be HD quality movies from the likes of the movie on demand applications, and the natural progression would be for those guys to step into 3D. Although I imagine you would see that housed within their own services rather than the service we’ve launched today.”

There is, of course, an issue with broadband speeds; 3D movies take-up considerably more bandwidth than 2D, or even HD: “We do recognise that you will need a faster connection and users are prompted as soon as they enter the Explore 3D that they will need a fast internet speed,” explained Petersen. “Our HQ is recommending 4 mbps.”

The 3D app is accessed in exactly the same way as any other on the Smart TV platform; simply download it from the Samsung Apps store and enter it as you would any other app on the platform. Smart TV already hosts Lovefilm and BBC iPlayer.

Samsung also revealed to us that although Explore 3D is only available on Samsung’s brand new 2011 range of Smart TV 3D-capable TVs, it will also be made available on our 2010 3D TVs in around a month’s time.

For now, it's available on the D8000, D7000, D6500 and D6100 ranges of 3D LED TVs, as well as Samsung’s D8000 and D6900 3D plasmas.

There is, however, no confirmed launch for Explore 3D on Samsung’s AV devices - including its line-up of 3D Blu-ray players.

Of course, you don't just need a Samsung TV to enjoy on demand 3D content. Virgin Media has had a selection of 3D videos available to its XL customers for some time.

Its ten 3D movies comprise The Hole, Despicable Me, Jackass and Tron: Legacy, which cost from £3.99-£6.49 to rent from the cable operator’s FilmFlex movies on demand service. The rest is made up of free 3D shorts (such as Voyage to Mars and Xenopod) and content that’s exclusive to Virgin’s XL customers (the 22-minute 3D Sun and hour-long Catwalk and Goat Story).

Are you entering the 3D revolution? Or can you not be bothered? Let us know in the comments below...



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