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BBC puts 3D on hold

The BBC plans to suspend 3D programming for an indefinite period due to a “lack of public appetite” for the technology, reports the Radio Times.

Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s head of 3D, said it has “not taken off” with audiences who find it “quite hassly”.

The BBC began a two-year 3D trial in 2011, broadcasting several shows and events in 3D, including the Olympic Games and Strictly Come Dancing. Last year’s Wimbledon finals were the first programmes to be shown in 3D by the BBC. This year, the broadcaster will show both the men’s and ladies Wimbledon semi-finals and finals in 3D.

A Doctor Who anniversary special in November will be among the final shows televised in 3D as part of the trial.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Shillinglaw said: “I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK.

“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 3DTV has been disappointing.”

At TVBEurope’s Beyond HD Masters 2013 conference last month, Andy Quested, head of technology, BBC HD & 3D, also discussed the BBC’s 3D tests. “What has worked really well for us is CG-based or augmented-based 3D. It works extremely well and piques the interest. Traditional 3D/drama 3D – take it or leave it. Sport sometimes is just too long. A five-hour tennis match is probably too long whereas a 90-minute football/rugby match is probably the maximum people want to sit through and watch 3D.

“Glasses I think are a barrier. There’s public disinterest – certainly for glasses in the home. It’s OK when you go to the cinema as you make a conscious decision to do that and I think that’s where TV differs from cinema. When we do alternate methods of delivering 3D such as on BBC iPlayer, people watch more because they make an appointment to download or view.”