In a move that technology blogger Gizmodo says marks the official death of 3D, it has learned that sports network ESPN will cease all 3D productions by the end of this year. ESPN 3D, which started in 2010 on largely a test basis, never really got off the ground – and as Gizmodo wryly noted, “won’t be broadcast in any dimension soon.”
See more on what Gizmodo calls this “huge news”…
ESPN says that the reason they made the decision to pull the plug on ESPN 3D is “lackluster adoption of the technology.” This statement is somewhat ironic, given how often we’ve heard about the tremendous number of flat-panel televisions with 3D that the industry has shipped. Obviously, although companies were including 3D as a feature – consumers weren’t using it.
Gizmodo notes that: “This is huge news considering the significant investment that TV manufacturers and broadcasters have put forth in an effort to bolster the struggling tech.”
Not the killer app…
But perhaps even more importantly than that, sports was supposed to be the “killer app” for 3D adoption. As Gizmodo noted, Panasonic even paid to broadcast the Olympics in 3D at no charge to consumers. Yet even this failed to draw a significant audience…let alone stimulate demand for 3D.
“Sports was the crucial test case,” Gizmodo’s Mario Aguilar exhorted in his report. “If there was ever a justification for 3D televisions it was watching sports—and if you can’t get people excited about 3D action-packed sports, you can forget about getting them excited about 3D anything else.”
Not ruling it out…
In an email statement, ESPN did not rule out future use of 3D “when and if the technology takes off.” I wouldn’t hold my breath. We’ve been reporting for quite some time that study after study showed that consumers were not fond of 3D. For some, it seemed like a “gimmick.” Others hated having to wear glasses. And others noted that 3D made get-togethers with friends and family awkward and expensive.
For these reasons – and others – consumers…many of whom already own 3D sets…just won’t even switch it on.
In a separate post by Gizmodo’s Kyle Wagner, he summed it up by saying: “That was it. That was 3D’s best chance… And that, in a nutshell, effectively kills 3DTV’s chances of ever going mainstream.”
But on a “brighter” note – ESPN is looking forward to 4K Ultra HDTV. From what many of my expert sources are telling me…this could be the industry’s next boondoggle!