The grand old BBC may sound about as cutting edge as a buttered scone and a cup of Yorkshire Gold but the taxpayer-funded British broadcaster has pushed the boat out on the digital front, with, for instance, its pioneering iPlayer on-demand TV service. It’s also not been a tech laggard when it comes to 3D. Auntie — as the Beeb is affectionately referred to by long-term consumers of its programming (aka the British) — has been running a pilot 3D broadcast program for the past two years. But not for much longer. It’s decided to pull the plug on 3D TV production, in the face of massive audience 3D ennui.
According to a report in the Media Guardian, Kim Shillinglaw, who heads up the Beeb’s 3D pilot, told the Radio Times that viewers were finding 3D too much of a hassle — adding that the time was therefore right “for a good old pause.” Swiftly followed by a nice cup of tea, no doubt.
“I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK. Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV,” she is quoted as saying.
She also speculated that take-up of the tech might be being held back by difficult economic conditions. When times are tough, a 3D TV set isn’t exactly going to top the shopping list.
“We will see what happens when the recession ends and 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. I am not sure our job is to call the whole 3D race,” she said.
So, in other words, 3D isn’t going to fly until glasses-killing autostereoscopic TV sets have been honed to headache-free, multiple viewing angle perfection. And are cheap as chips. Which means: don’t wait up for this one.
The forthcoming Wimbledon ladies‘ and mens‘ tennis finals will both be broadcast in 3D by the BBC but Shillinglaw said there are no further plans for the format after the trial period ends. According to the Verge, the last 3D BBC broadcasts will take place in November — and will include a 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who.