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The popularity of 3D television just didn't hit the mark, in general at least, and that remains true in the world of sports. ESPN plans to discontinue it's 3D channel by the end of this year, an experiment they started in 2010.


With the 3D exit, ESPN has plans to jump past 1080p and and perhaps begin broadcasting in 4K UltraHD which offers 4x the resolution of 1080p. This change may seem like 3D is dying a slow death but the truth is that 3D has been around for a very long time and it looks as though it will be around a lot longer despite ESPN dropping the channel.

People Still Like 3D In Some Mediums

IMAX theaters and other cinema setups show movies in 3D to raving fans who pay more for the extra dimension, plus Blu-ray has a collection of 3D titles. And those that stream video from Netflix and are connected to participating Internet Service Providers that are part of the Netflix Content Delivery Network, will have access to some 3D titles. More that Netflix in the streaming world, Vudu has a 3D service too. Other industries including gaming take advantage of the technology as well. China and Europe show continuing growth in the world of 3D despite the slow growth in other parts of the world including the United States.

With ESPN dropping 3D in favor of 4K it still remains to be seen whether 4K is something consumers will latch on to. Some analysts suggest that 4K and 1080p will have only subtle differences to the human eye on most screens. The 4K TVs using the "passive glasses system" however show 3D video impressively because the horizontal line artifacts that are often seen on a 1080p are eliminated as a result of the increased detail.

With all that said, ESPN 3D, to many, is considered the largest and most important source of 3DTV content available. Some suggest the 3D technology as a whole can cease to exist because of this move.

Many suggest it is because people just don't want to strap on the glasses, which makes sense. However, there is technology that exists where the 3D glasses are part of the TV in a sense, preventing the viewer from having to wear them. I'd like to see that technology advance some more.

Sources for this article include:

gizmodo.com

hometheater.about.com
 

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While most people I know have a flat screen, hardly anybody I know actually has a 3d TV. Most people do not upgrade their tv's every year and as such the 3D ability was DOA. Just not enough interest from the masses. Plus, wearing glasses and ensuring they are safe and available when viewing takes a lot of effort for most people. While 3d is good in the theater with the IMAX screens and all, on the small tube, it doesn't have that same affect. Hopefully the 4K push will do better. We shall see. Thanks for the article.
 

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This news isn't surprising since viewership of 3D content hasn't taken off and ESPN offerings on their 3D channel weren't much worth watching to begin with.

I have a home theater setup with big screen projection 3D, and I wouldn't be bothered with the ESPN channel. First off, I'm not a big sports fan. Secondly, the only way to get their channel (for me) is through DTV and you need a 3D ready receiver (which I don't have). Lastly, the programming stunk.

My primary interest is 3D movies, and I watch them via Blu-Ray which is the only way to fly for 3D. Blu-Ray offers full HD 3D, with great color and imaging. Content is what you want, when you want it. With this mindset, I can see why offerings like ESPN's would tank.

4K - Good luck on that!
 

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In order for 4K or ultra HD to survive unlike 3D, the main thing is content. I believe 3D is on it's deathbed due to lack of content. How many channels are really 3D? How many shows are 3D? Dvd's that have been reshaped into 3D, are they really good in 3D? Subpar quality on new 3D remakes cause people to reject the technology..

Let's hope 4K or Ultra HD folks learn a lesson or two from 3D folks.
 

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I never got into 3d and will hope 4k comes down in price over the next 4-5 years and we see some new content. 3D on the active glasses made my head hurt and my eyes really tired.
This is why I never bought into 3D. I have what is called "lazy eye" and can't see it. I read somewhere that about a third of the population can't see 3D and/or see it comfortably. My question about 4K though is are people going to see enough of a difference in it to abandon what they have and buy all new electronics and media? We went through this once already with 720p and 1080p which are really pretty close. A lot of people said screw it, I will stick with what I have.
 

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In order for 4K or ultra HD to survive unlike 3D, the main thing is content. I believe 3D is on it's deathbed due to lack of content. How many channels are really 3D? How many shows are 3D? Dvd's that have been reshaped into 3D, are they really good in 3D? Subpar quality on new 3D remakes cause people to reject the technology..

Let's hope 4K or Ultra HD folks learn a lesson or two from 3D folks.
What lesson is there to be learned exactly ? At least you can actually SEE 3D content. 4K matters just about as much as HD Audio.
 

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What lesson is there to be learned exactly ? At least you can actually SEE 3D content. 4K matters just about as much as HD Audio.
Quite right. I don't think 3D is dead by any means - just 3D delivered by cable or satellite ("channelized 3D"). A growing number of motion picture features are being released in 3D by people who are motivated by profit, and knowing the big picture, they are investing in the medium. It's also quite true that 3D followed too closely on the heels of HD when a lot of people had invested in new HD gear only to hear - now we have 3D and that requires almost all new gear again - not the best way to win friends and influence buyers. However, a lot of the newest sets are 3D capable, and there is a lot of 3D content on Blu-Ray (though at high cost), so over time 3D will make inroads with home viewers.

It's also true that 3D is its own worst enemy, with poorly converted 3D, and sets that cause eyestrain and discomfort. Properly executed, 3D can add to certain movies quite well. There have been some notable examples with "Avatar", "Hugo", "Life of Pi", and "The Hobit" (also notable that none of these were done using post-production 3D).

As for 4K, the story is much the same - we just finished investing in 1080 HD. And as jonathanc mentioned, whose going there if it makes little viewer difference? Looking at the CarltonBale chart, only those folks with large screens or close-in viewing habits (in the purple area of the chart & below the purple line) will be able to appreciate 4K. I know I won't, and I'm quite happy with the 1080 gear I now have. That' why I think it's a real loser for ESPN - more so than 3D - at least right now. It might go over at sports bars with real big screens (how many of those are there), but the average viewer just isn't going to plunk down the $$$ to justify 4K for the masses.
 

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Here's an interesting take on this...
http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/espns-loss-is-3dtvs-gain/

The case being made in that article seems to be that ESPN did a terrible job making the 3D content so there was never a chance to attract an audience, and it's good that they're out of the way. The guy is saying that it was so bad that the 2D content was actually BETTER than the 3D. I guess they were leaving out camera angles and overlays that were going into the 2D broadcast, which is lame. I never watched ESPN 3D except for a few minutes in a store - but it was certainly not impressive there. It was exactly like the article describes - shot just like a 2D production, barely noticeable 3D effects, nothing added with the 3D at all. Definitely not something I would pay the cable company extra for. Never mind the cost of 10 pairs of glasses for all my pals...

Have any of you seen the 3D productions from the other sports companies he is saying do a good job (Sky Sports, UK; CCTV, China)?
 

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I have to agree that on a small screen there just aren't enough people that think 3d is worth changing their home systems for. I love 3d but only as a day out with the family at the Imax.
 

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3D is something that never really attracted me, some movies like 'Finding Nemo' were really cool in 3D, I never understood how to make sports content "cool". I do not think 3D technology is dead but if ESPN can not make it viable not sure how much hope there is for other sports channels. Have never seen broadcast from European or Asian sources that may have a better handle on reproduction of content my opinion is somewhat limited. However I do believe UltraHD with the correct consumer pricing points and quality content can gain mass appeal!
 
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