CBS Experimenting With Converting Star Trek TV Series To 3-D – Moonves Not Convinced There Is A Market

The next big thing for television technology is supposed to be 3-D TV. So far content is scarce as studios and broadcasters are just starting to plan out their 3-D TV strategies. And in the case of CBS it appears that part of their testing of the technology has been with classic Star Trek, but the head of CBS isn’t too impressed.  


3-D Trek TV

Reuters has a report from the Milken Institute Global Conference, and the "The Business Behind the Show: Outlook for the Entertainment Industry" panel which had a number of industry executives participating, including CBS  President and Chief Executive Les Moonves. One of the subjects was the future of 3-D TV and converting shows to 3-D. Moonves revealed that CBS has been experimenting, here is an excerpt:

[Moonves] said he has seen prototype conversions to 3-D of old episodes of "Star Trek" — and that they did not "knock him out" or convince him there was a market for such shows.

"Does the experience get good enough on television to work? I’m not sure it’s going to be economically viable for the near future," the media executive said.

Moonves was less skeptical about sports in 3-D, which he said would be "phenomenal."

It was only four years ago that CBS began its work to digitally remaster the entire original Star Trek Series in HD, with all three seasons now available on Blu-ray. Now 3-D TV technology is the hot new thing. Although 3-D is dominating in the movie theaters, it is just a tiny fraction of the TV market for now, mostly due to the cost of the equipment and the lack of content. Here is a AP report on 3-D TV from last month that talks about the new market.


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Tried it in LA at Universal Studios and was knocked out

I’m not so sure 3D is ever going to be more than a gimmick, ok on occasion.

Avatar was fine but i would have liked it the same in 2d. Alice in Wonderland was probably better for 3D but for the most part i just don’t think the masses will ever be lining up for a 3D version.

I think 3D would be great. I believe in the near future. All movies will becomes 3D. I have watched a 4D show in a Casino in Macau, I just can’t doubt our technology nower days.

No. Please stop. Not everything has to be 3D to work.


Not to be an opponent of sleek special effects and impressive visuals, but I honestly wish studios would focus on strong writing and story telling. Not everything has to be flash-and-dash! I personally don’t own an HD-TV, and I have no plans to waste my money on one. Give me a freakin’ break already!

I’m not a big fan of “upscaling” to 3-D. It always looks better if something is filmed in 3-D. Compare Avatar to Clash of the Titans to see the difference. Now if the next Star Trek movie is shot in 3-D, that might be interesting.

Just think 3D is the next step toward holodecks.

But as it stands today, it shouldn’t be on TV since is still feels like an add-on in theaters. I hope Trek 2012 doesn’t go 3D.

Was not 3D the “Next Big Thing” back in the 1980s?
I think it lasted about 6 months. Along with the 4 channel HiFi Receivers and Records.

The thing I personally hate about the whole 3-D thing is that it doesn’t really work for people like me who wear glasses. Putting the 3-D glasses over my regular glasses is uncomfortable at best. When that problem is solved, then maybe.

Please no. Clash of the Titans being converted from 2D to 3D was a pointless exercise. Wwhen watching this film in 3D I could take my glasses off and the picture still looked clear.

It is best to film things using 3D cameras than converting 2D film into 3D.

Also I am getting fed up with 3D being considered for every single thing.
I loved seeing Avatar in 3D but I am sorry but the whole 3D thing is too old all ready for me.

HD though is fantastic.

I don’t mind watching something in 3D from time to time but it’s still just a gimmick for the most part. It’s such hard work refocusing your eyes after every cut that all it does is bump you out of the film. Sometimes you may think “wow, that’s realistic” but if you’re thinking that, then you’re not involved in the film.
And it can’t possibly work for everything. In films with fast cutting, many shots are less than a second long – by the time your eyes have refocused, the shot is gone.

@10 There’s also a subset of people, a small percentage to be fair, who cannot see 3D when it’s on TV/Cinema. Instead they end up with terrible headaches and/or just end up uncomfortable for the entire movie.

I myself wear glasses and most of the ones at the cinema seem to be designed now to fit over most other specs, and the 3D tv glasses are definately designed to fit over normal specs so they seem to be taking it into consideration now :)

This doesn’t sound like a good idea, does it? I’ve yet to see a report of any truly successful 3D offering that hasn’t been filmed specifically in 3D…got to say though that I’d love to see it happen. When and if it does it might blow the whole 3D entertainment scene wide open and get it mass audience acceptance.

Star Trek First Contact would be cool in 3-D..


#13…there’s also blind people who cannot see TV at all; should we outlaw all visual forms of media ‘to not inconvenience or offend blind people’?

On another note…to all naysayers of 3D TV…watch out…because these be the baby steps leading to Holodecks!!

New films that are designed from the ground up to be 3D (like Avatar) I can get behind, even if I still think their a bit of a gimmick. Converting 40 year old material to 3D simply to make more money from it? Hell no.

Yawn. So waiting for this 3d thing to be over all ready.

Sorry, but I can’t see 3D properly anyway! Waste of time for me and a significant minority of viewers.

3D strikes me as little more than a gimmick that makes spears, axes and falling down chasms a little funkier.

Artistically, I feel its a cul-de-sac.

I’m hanging out for 4D so that I can punch Khan in the face.

3D is a fad that needs to go away. It’s a gimmick that could be used for certain movies, though the need to jump on the bandwagon is getting quite pathetic.

I got a Samsung 3-D TV and I love it, in the two movies that I have at present the 3-D is very good and the image pops out at you like I’ve never seen before. Was my purchase worth it, YES it was

Trekkies would look like total nerds wearing those glasses.

Is everything gonna be in 3D now? Why all of a sudden the comeback? I know Avatar was big but I don’t think it all needs to go in that direction. Of course if the new movie were to be done that way it would be way cool to see big E warp outta the screen.

#22 – As the Samsung TVs support on the fly 3D upscaling of standard 2D material, have you tried watching some of the Trek movies that way? I’d imagine that ST:TMP and TWOK would probably look very nice.

As to convering the old shows to 3D, I think that’s a bit of overkill right now, especially as they were so recently remastered and released on BluRay. Give it a few years at least for the technology to mature and then only release those episodes that would really take advantage of it like maybe The Doomsday Machine.

Pointless gimmick 3D tv is, gone tomorrow will it be.

If Star Trek is of any indication, then it’s interactive RPGs that will pave the way to 3D, especially in the mid 24th century, AKA holodecks. And it won’t be until sometime in the 2380’s when 3D computer terminals will be in use.

I would MUCH rather see a TNG remastered than 3D converstion of TOS..or any series really. Where the heck is TNG remastered??

I saw a Pixar (i think it was Pixar) movie in 3D at Best Buy last night. It was ok, but I tend to agree with Mr. Moonves.

It’s a nice twist, but does it really add anything? There is something about the experiance that is kind of cheesy/gimmicky.

I tried out a Sony 3D TV…they were showing a soccer a game. It looked cool, but the glasses were kinda bulky and they have to be charged. (Not sure how long the charge lasts).

How awkward would it be to half a super bowl party and not enough 3D glasses for everyone.

Still think its a gimmick but I guess people thought color TV wouldn’t last so maybe 3D is here to stay

Leave it alone

Anything CBS can do to keep Star Trek (especially TOS) in front of today’s audiences is a good idea. I say have at it… I for one would love to see the Enterprise flying out of the screen.

In 1966, green women and aliens with pointed ears were gimmicky/cheesy too.

3D movies on TV are dodgy at best, and painful to watch long. I bought “The Polar Express” when it was converted to 3D, and it is a terrible experience, unwatchable for the most part. Almost all of the scenes of characters up front are out of sync and have major ghosting, not even near 3D.

This is just execs trying to milk the cow one more time. No thanks.

I think the next big thing for TOS will be isolating the actors and designing completely new CG sets.

Scott B. out.

Hate 3D. Hate it. Hope that it’s a passing trend that dies quickly.

They tried 3D in the 1950s/60s, along with CinemaScope, to combat TV. CinemaScope blessedly stayed, 3D went away.

They tried 3D in the 1980s, for probably the same reasons as before. It went away.

They are trying 3D now for the same reasons – but I will admit that the landscape has changed with teh adent of HDTV and people (like me) who have that service with a 51″ TV – I rarely see the need to go to the theatre anymore. 3D is a gimmick, but it does work; however, the underlying movie has to be worthwhile or the gimmick is not enough to keep it afloat.

And maybe when it doesn’t work, these hypocritical stars who make $20 million a picture can take a pay cut and the crew unions can take a hit too. Then the cost of a ticket can go back down, for goodness’ sake.

Note: unlike movie theaters, you can still watch 3d programming as normal 2d without the glasses. You won’t see the blurry images.

It was the next big thing in 1915.

Then again in the early 50s. At the time over 5000 cinemas in the U.S were equipped to show 3D movies.

It won’t take off for all movies or it would have a long time ago.

I’m a photographer and there have been attempts over the years to bring 3D photos into the professional medium there too. It has never been able to pull a large enough market to work.

More on 3D movie history here

Oh God no. Please, if CBS is going to spend the money, work on a new Star Trek Series for television. Serialized like LOST.

3-D is the biggest gimmick ever.

A clever man that Mr. Moonves ;-)

For once, Moonves is dead-on. 3D TV is never going to take off. 3D on movie screens is one thing, but it is nothing but a gimmick at home.

3D on sub-50″ TVs just isn’t worth the effort as you have to sit right up in front of the TV to get anything out of it (try that with the whole family) and the market for larger TVs is very limited. 3D appeals primarily to the younger crowd, who aren’t likely to afford a $5,000 50+” TV and an expensive 3D Blu-Ray player and are disproportionately likely to live in small apartments or dorm rooms, where it isn’t practical to bring in such a giant TV.

“I would MUCH rather see a TNG remastered than 3D converstion of TOS..or any series really. Where the heck is TNG remastered??”

agreed. i would prefer tng, ds9 and vgr remastered for blu-ray. 3d seems to be the new “it” way for hollywood to increase revenue.

Not sure if I’d care to see every TOS episode in 3D, but there are a few that could really be something to experience in 3D.
Perhaps if they selected certain episodes for special 3D treatment and sold it as a set…

Here here! Forget this 3D crap and get me my TNG HD!

I’m all about TOS but this seems silly to me. Moonves seems to be listening the voice of reason here, money or no money.

Converting to 3D…..gimmick. Produced in 3D and used organically as part of the storytelling….sign me up!

I’m not convinced Moonves knows what his doing.

3D and reboots (and maybe vampires) are the reality TV of the ’10s. Yuck! I think for certain projects it might be cool (haven’t see a 3D movie yet), but now every lame a**, two-bit film is now in 3D (especially if it is a the third in a series of sequels–wow, synergy).

Still, sports in 3D? meh. “Certain” spectacular, epic sci-fish projects maybe, but as with all special effects it should serve the story rather than obscure it.

Does anyone remember when “color” was a gimmick they said was just a fad?

Count me in on that 3D market, looking at my Trek viewmaster discs, I always thought they could just offset two clips by one frame, polarise them and viola!

3D Trek.