Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ESPN 3D to die before the end of 2013

ESPN 3D, which launched in 2010 during the World Cup, will be killed by the all-sports network no later than the end of 2013, ESPN confirmed on Wednesday. ESPN began broadcasting nonstop 3D content in 2011.

ESPN spokesperson Katina Arnold confirmed the move via Twitter, and blamed low adoption -- of 3D itself, not ESPN 3D -- as the reason behind the channel's demise.
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
ESPN also issued the following 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.
In other words: We'll keep the technology around, and if 3D ever becomes a mainstay of homes, we'll put ESPN 3D back on the air.

We predicted 3D TV's low adoption when it debuted. Although it seems that 3D movies have a solid following, the negatives of 3D viewing -- including health issues such as headaches, eyestrain, and motion sickness -- as well as the cost of sets, have proven a roadblock to many.

Also, a large number (12 percent) of people are simply unable to see 3D imagery.

Finally, we asserted that many would eschew an upgrade to a 3D television -- at least for a time -- since it was only relatively recently that many had taken the plunge and upgraded to HDTV.

With the loss of ESPN 3D, it's possible that 3D TV might fail. While somewhat hyperbolic a statement, remember what happened to HD-DVD. Without sufficient content, it lost out to Blu-ray. Similarly, if there is not enough compelling content -- and what is more compelling than sports in 3D -- 3D TV might die, as well.

On the other hand, ESPN made it clear it is still on the cutting edge of technology. The company said that it is looking into 4K, also known as Ultra HD television. Word is that the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil, will be broadcast in UHD.

If it sounds like the 2010 World Cup and 3D TV, it is. Let's hope that UHD fares better than 3D TV.

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