Entertainment & Arts

3D sport channel on ESPN to close after three years

People watching 3D television
Image caption Having to wear special glasses may be one reason why consumers have not taken to 3D TV

Sports network ESPN is to close its 3D channel in the US because of a lack of uptake.

It had been called a turning point for 3D when the Disney-owned company launched the cable channel three years ago.

Despite declining costs for 3D televisions, however, consumers have not taken to the channel.

Recent figures from the US show no more than 120,000 people are watching 3D channels at any one time.

The world's first 24/7 all-sports 3D channel kicked off with the 2010 World Cup match South Africa versus Mexico.

ESPN president George Bodenheimer said at the time that the network's commitment to 3D was a "win for fans" that would put it "at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing".

Spokeswoman Katina Arnold said ESPN would be committing their 3D resources to "other products and services that will better serve fans".

The network will continue to experiment with other technologies, including Ultra High Definition.

The channel will close by the end of the year, though Arnold said the network could return to 3D programming "if or when 3D does take off".

No longer promoted

In the UK, Sky continue to expand their 3D sports coverage.

In February they broadcasted Formula 1 in 3D for the first time - the 14th sport to be broadcast in 3D by the channel.

Earlier this month, however, retailer John Lewis suggested there was "not much interest left in 3D TV".

Image caption Japanese broadcaster NHK showed off 8K technology in London during the Olympics,

John Kempner, vision buyer at John Lewis, said there was still "an interest, but it's not the primary purchase decision anymore".

Many of the new TVs being released still support 3D, but it is no longer being promoted as a big feature.

Smart TVs and Ultra High Definition are now seen as more appealing, with Ultra High Definition broadcasts offering four times the amount of detail as HD content.

Also in development is 8K TV technology, which will supposedly offer a 3D-like experience due to the high resolution of its image.

Japanese company NHK showed off their technology during last summer's London Olympics.

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