3D broadcasting drought continues

Although every television maker in the world wants to introduce 3D as standard on the boxes, broadcast content is still looking a little thin since the first models arrived at John Lewis and sat on the shelf for a month.

Despite BSkyB launching 3D channels along with hefty marketing campaigns – which saw 3D football matches broadcast in pubs and gushing reports about the technology featuring in associated newspapers – there’s still little in the way of actual 3D broadcast content. 

That’s because there’s not much you can do with 3D telly on a day-to-day basis. We reported this last year, with Meko analysts telling us 3D will never be an everyday thing. It’ll be a couple of hours a week, at most, on the television. We imagine most punters don’t quite fancy watching Pat Butcher’s earrings swing out of the screen into their faces.

More obviously, creating regular 3D content for broadcast is very high-cost. Particularly with live content, say analysts at Ovum. There is a “lack of enthusiasm” for investing in 3D content production, according to Ovum’s The State Of 3D (Strategic Focus) report, and as such the whole situation is unlikely to undergo any swift change.

It will be up to packaged goods such as Blu-Ray, streaming, and above all console gaming to keep 3D afloat. Sony is pushing its 3D technology with the PS3, but then it would, having as it does something of a monopoly with 3D. Sony runs Blu-Ray, it knocks out 3D tellies, sells 3D studio equipment and it has heavy investment in the studios which create the content.

According to Ovum, which collared a shedload of execs to talk about strategic priorities, production of 3D content or the launch of 3D channels is at the very lowest rung of the ladder for investment. Over half said 3D content production was “not an important business consideration,” while broadcasters in Europe or North America didn’t give a hoot either.

Which isn’t great news for the future of 3D broadcasting. Many of the most popular shows here in the UK are imports from the States, and if the broadcasters aren’t able or willing to take advantage of the technology which was hoist upon us, it’s unlikely there will be any significant boost in the near future.

BSkyB, which really wants to flog its 3D services, recently pinned its hopes on a channel launch called Sky Atlantic, promising to air the best from the US. We shouldn’t expect a Sky Atlantic 3D launch any time soon.

As for sports, 3D can work sometimes, but reception has been generally less than enthusiastic.

Even 3D boffins agree that the format is not suited to sports that move at a fast pace. What does that rule out? Well, football, rugby, tennis, basketball for a start.