BBC Places 3D Pilot on Hold, Cites Lack of Public Interest

The BBC announced it will take a hiatus from developing 3D TV programming based on the public’s “lack of appetite” for the technology. Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s head of 3D, says that British television viewers have not taken to the format, despite the fact there are now an estimated 1.5 million UK households with 3D TVs. As a result, the BBC is planning a three-year break from its 3D project once the current two-year pilot comes to an end later this year.

“Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home,” Shillinglaw told Radio Times in a recent interview. “You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV. I think when people watch TV they concentrate in a different way. When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing — I think that’s one of the reasons that take up of 3D TV has been disappointing.”

While Shillinglaw praises some of the “amazing 3D work” produced by the BBC and rival Sky, she points out that audience numbers for a wide range of programming have been disappointing, noting that some broadcasts have generated interest from less than 5 percent of potential viewers.

When the 3D pilot ends at the close of the year, Shillinglaw will return to her primary role at the BBC, as head of science and natural history.

“After that we will see what happens when the recession ends and there may be more take up of sets, but I think the BBC will be having a wait-and-see. It’s the right time for a good old pause,” she said.

Last month, we reported that ESPN would shut down its ESPN 3D channel. “We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates,” ESPN said in a statement. “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.”

Both ESPN and the BBC could start developing new 3D programming again in the future if adoption of 3D in the home changes. “With 4K televisions and 4K content on the horizon, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if the industry ditches 3D content altogether in the next few years,” suggests The Next Web.

Related Stories:
BBC 3D Programming ‘On Hold’ Indefinitely, BBC News, 7/5/13
BBC Puts 3D Development on Hold, Broadband TV News, 7/5/13
BBC Axes 3D TV Programming: “Hassly” Glasses Led to Failure, HDTVTest, 7/8/13