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ESPN to close the door on 3D broadcasting

1897 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jstanley214
ESPN 3D has announced on twitter and through an official statement that it will cease operation of its ESPN 3D channel by the end of the year. ESPN says that viewership for the channel has been weak, failing to gain acceptance, and that the company will focus its resources elsewhere like Ultra High Definition.

ESPN 3D has been in operation since June of 2010 when it opened broadcasting with coverage of the 2010 World Cup. It has since broadcast hundreds of events ranging from the BCS National Championship game to NBA Playoffs and many others. ESPN tried to make it’s current 3D venture work, going as far as to create what it called 5D production units that allowed one truck and camera crew to produce both 2D and 3D broadcasts. However viewership numbers dictate where the money flows and ESPN is letting go of its ambitious 3D venture for the time being.

The news was broken yesterday through two statements. One came from Katina Arnold (Vice President, Communications ESPN) who tweeted the following:

“ESPN 3D was great at home but due to low adoption of 3D to home, we are discontinuing to focus on other products for fans and affiliates”

The other came through an official statement released by ESPN. It stated:

“Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D. We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates. Nobody knows more about sports in 3D than ESPN, and we will be ready to provide the service to fans if or when 3D does take off. As technology leaders, we continue to experiment with things like Ultra High Definition television (also known as Ultra HD television or UHDTV) production tools to produce our current ESPN family of HD channels.”

Obviously the loss of ESPN 3D is a major blow to the broadcast viability of the technology and its use in sports in the United States. The Sports Video Group, however, says 3D broadcasts are doing well in Europe (primarily the United Kingdom). In addition, they report that Sony continues to push forward with the technology citing an agreement between Sony and the England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to produce Wimbledon 2013 in 3D. The technology isn't quite dead yet.

Despite ESPN’s impending 3D shutdown, the company is leaving the door open to revisit the technology sometime in the future. In a recent interview with TV News Check, ESPN CTO Chuck Pagano hinted that 3D may reemerge by piggybacking on their station’s future 4K infrastructure. Pagano alluded to one of the technology’s stumbling blocks: 3D glasses. According to the report, Pagano said: “I think 3D will evolve when you start seeing some of the TV sets that will be out there that do not have the eyeglass in front of them, but truly have a lenticular lens in front of the set that you can watch stuff without glasses.”

Time will only tell if its reemergence is feasible (or wanted). For now, it appears that US 3D sports fans will have to put away the glasses and rejoin the masses.

Image Credit: espn.go.com/3D

Sources: sportsvideo.org, tvnewscheck.com, ESPN
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I am not surprised by this news. 3D was dead on arrival. Plus, people are not going to upgrade to 3d just because of 3d itself especially after moving to flat screens a few years back. Most folks will upgrade in general only when their old tv dies or there is something really really worth while to have at the moment and 3d was not it.
I'm not surprised either. 3D movies might have a bit more lasting power (even though I prefer 2D in that format), but 3D broadcasting has a lot of hurdles. The glasses being one of them (equipment ownership and equipment cost being others) Who wants to relax and watch sports with the requirement of wearing something (every time!!). Not me.:eek:lddude:

I have 3D and love it. The bigger the screen the better the effect. I have to admit however. I don't use the feature much but I never really used this ESPN channel. I've only used it for movies. I don't really care much for movies that were converted to 3D but movies made for it are amazing.
Seems like the two are different animals... movies vs sports. Forget having a super bowl party in 3D. You'd need way too many glasses. ;-)
I don't think I could watch an entire football game in 3D anyways :)
Me either. Don't get me wrong, football in 3D looked incredible but 4 hours is too much for the glasses. And I wear glasses daily to see.
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