The Metropolitan Opera’s high-definition movie theater broadcasts are at the forefront of opera’s use of new media. But the broadcasts may, at some point, get multidimensional — at least if Verizon has anything to say about it.
The possibility of a 3-D Met was mentioned this afternoon during a conference call with reporters featuring Ivan Seidenberg, the chief executive of Verizon, and Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. The purpose of the call was to announce a “joint policy proposal for an open Internet,” to reassure the public that the two companies did not intend to form a business partnership to allow Google to pay to stream its content more quickly over Verizon’s Internet network. The proposal seemed to preserve “net neutrality,” the concept by which all content on the Internet is treated the same way by Internet providers.
However, the companies left open the possibility that “new services” — including, according to the proposal, “health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options” — could eventually find their way to an alternative Internet in which net neutrality rules might not apply.
In answer to a question about what these entertainment options on a so-called “non-public” Internet might be, Mr. Seidenberg said, according to an unofficial transcript, “Let’s say that the Metropolitan Opera wants to broadcast all of its operas in 3-D. They might not want to do that over the public Internet. Who knows what other technologies might bring us?”
According to a spokesman, the Met’s administration hadn’t known beforehand that the company would be mentioned. Asked about the possibility of 3-D broadcasts and the Met’s participation in a “non-public” Internet, the spokesman, Peter Clark, wrote in an e-mail, “Although we have no specific plans in these areas, we are interested in exploring all platforms for delivering opera to the public.”
According to Verizon, there wasn’t any special reason for Mr. Seidenberg’s use of the Met as an example.”Quite honestly,” a company spokesman wrote in an e-mail, “he could have picked any entertainment or arts venue to discuss how certain organizations may want to release entertainment content to subscribers/patrons. As a New Yorker, Ivan may very simply have had the Met on his mind as he spoke today about how our technology benefits various sectors, including the entertainment industry. The Met is a world class facility and it’s not uncommon for us to reference world class venues when we are discussing various topics.”