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BBC Suspends Development of 3D Programming

Recently, the BBC announced that it was putting it’s 3D project “on hold indefinitely”. The project, which had been in development for about two years now, has already seen such eminently British affairs as this and last years Wimbledon Tennis Finals and the 2012 Queen’s Christmas speech broadcast in the format. Yes, true to the stereotype, we Brits gather around the television in the hazy lull after a turkey dinner to watch our royal family’s activities, now in the eye-popping third dimension.


BBC To Sideline 3D Program

But, for now, these past-times will come to an end. According to a spokeswoman for the BBC’s 3D department the format suffered from a lack of public interest, a problem that became evident when under half of the current 1.5 million 3D-capable televisions in the country tuned in to watch the opening ceremony of the much-lauded 2012 London Olympic Games. Less than 5% took advantage of the format to watch their beloved monarch.

But why are the numbers so low? Lack of interesting programming? It seems as though the BBC has been putting out every major TV event using the format, including the anniversary special of Doctor Who as well as the aforementioned sports. They even broadcast the finals of the C-list-celebrity tango-fest “Strictly Come Dancing” in 3D, in the hope that their most popular programs would boost ratings, but to no avail.

Development of other 3D shows in general has been slow, and demand even slower (according to the spokeswoman, there was never a big “appetite” for the format), and if you think that’s bad variety you should check out the non-US Netflix catalogues we have to deal with. But it seems that the blame does not rest squarely on the BBC for its programming choices, but rather on the consumers of the technology also. Some evidence, and speculations about the shortcoming indicated that the viewers just weren’t prepared for the added strain of having to find their pair of glasses every time they wanted to watch something.

That’s not even a joke, that’s probably just the most British gripe I’ve ever heard; according to the statement, the added preparation involved in watching a 3D program was considered a “hassle”.

So the future is here, and the future is a bit lazy and flustered at mild inconvenience. The problem is, the BBC is easily one of the most world-recognised networks. If they are essentially declaring it unworkable (for now), does this strike a blow for the fledgling technology? Prior to this, ESPN had drawn the same conclusions and had also suspended its 3D channel. If you are to get the most out of your 3D-capable television, for the time being you will have to look elsewhere.