BBC scraps 'hassly" 3D

For those of you who enjoyed watching Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory in 3D on the BBC at the weekend, keep hold of the memory of tennis balls and beads of sweat flying out at you from the screen because it could be the last time you’ll see thatBBC 3d type of broadcast from the corporation.

The broadcaster has decided to take a three year hiatus from the medium due to it not taking off with the British public and admitted the experience is a “hassle”.

Speaking to the Radio Times, head of 3D at the BBC, Kim Shillinglaw said: “Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. 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.”

The BBC will take a three year break from developing the medium at the end of this year, meaning no more Wimbledon or nature programmes such as Walking with Dinosaurs in 3D – for now at least. After 3D broadcasts such as the Doctor Who anniversary episode in November and Hidden Kingdom - dubbed ‘Pixar meets Life’ - the corporation will “see what happens”. “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,” said Shillinglaw.

She also praised the work of Sky’s 3D programming, whose dedicated 3D channel launched in 2010 and has since broadcast Formula 1 racing, as well as nature programmes such as Meerkats 3D and Galapagos 3D. Shillinghaw said: “It would be easy for me to be in this job and slag off what Sky has done because they have done a lot of 3D work. But they have done some great work, especially in natural history. I think their programme at Kew was absolutely mind blowing.”

It is estimated that 1.5 million UK households own 3D televisions, with around half of 3D TV owners watching BBC’s 3D coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony last summer. As well as sport, the corporation also aired comedy drama Mr Stink and Strictly Come Dancing in 3D.

The Beeb’s decision follows the news last month of US sports channel ESPN closing down its dedicated 3D channel after three years due to low audience ratings.


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