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3D is dead
3D looks dead after ESPN & BBC throw in the towel

10 Jul 2013 | Rasmus Larsen |

3D movies are still running in movie theatres but in the recent weeks it has lost support from some of the most prominent players. ESPN pulled the plug on its 3D channel and BBC will no longer produce in 3D. FIFA is also considering dropping 3D ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

ESPN and BCC throw in the towel

ESPN launched its ESPN 3D channel in the summer of 2010 to broadcast the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. By the end of 2013, about 3½ years after launch, ESPN will take it off air.

ESPN will shut down its 3D channels, and BBC will no longer produce 3D content

BBC is also out. They have experimented with 3D for the past two years but consumers have not been particularly interested in its 3D productions so BBC will shut down all 3D projects by year’s end. BBC says that the decision is final and that they will reconsider 3D in three years from now at the earliest.

- ”I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK” says BBC’s head of 3D, Kim Shillinglaw to

Movie theatres are telling a similar tale. More and more people opt for the 2D version of a movie whenever they have the choice. Since Avatar debuted, 3D has lost its wow factor for cinemagoers, it seems.

FIFA might decide to drop 3D

The 2010 World Cup was one of the first major events to be broadcast in 3D. FIFA had high expectations at that time and in especially pubs people gathered to watch their teams in 3D.

3D soccer at pubs

After EPSN has thrown in the towel, FIFA is considering whether to go ahead with 3D broadcasts during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. FIFA says that they see continued interest but the high costs could render it unprofitable. Sony has reportedly also pulled its sponsorship.

FIFA is also considering shooting the World Cup in 4K. No final decision has been made regarding 3D and 4K yet.

TV makers and 3D

3D is not dead for TV makers – at least not yet. You will probably have a hard time finding a TV without 3D support in 2013 but manufacturers are not promoting it. In fact, they would rather not talk about it.

When 3D was introduced a few years ago it was the next big thing at every trade show. Fast forward a few years to CES 2013 this January and 3D was nowhere to be found. All TVs were running 2D demonstrations and the TV makers did not even mention 3D during presentations and events.

3D in its current form seems to be fading out and the last few weeks seem to have been the last nails in the coffin. Glasses-free 3D technology could change, and so could even more ambitious 3D technologies such as the Oculus Rift project.

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