Sony admits 3D failing

Sony’s Australian managing director has admitted that 3D technology has failed to live up to expectations, was rushed to market and has lost the support of broadcasters.

For the last few years telly makers have been trying to convince the world and its dog that upgrading their perfectly good flat screen TVs to new sets that support 3D is a good idea.

But few studios have been bothered in creating decent 3D content and have only been offering 2D films converted to 3D in post production.

Sony Australia managing director Carl Rose told Fairfax Media that 3D TV in the home has so far failed to live up to consumer and manufacturers’ expectations.

He said that judging the success of 3D by TV sales figures was “misleading” because most premium brand sets, sized 42-inch and above, supported 3D by default. Sales of 3D-enabled sets are rising but this is not necessarily driven by demand for 3D.

About the only the only 3D thing that Sony has done well with is Playstation 3 games.

Broadcasters had a crack at 3D for sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and State of Origin, but Oz broadcasters removed the 3D TV transmitters from transmission towers in Australian capital cities and the communications regulator has not received further applications for 3D TV trials.

Many sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup will be filmed in 3D but not shown in 3D on Australian TVs. The London 2012 Olympic Games will be filmed in 3D but may not be broadcast that way in Australia. In the UK, as with previous promotions, pubs won’t be packed with revellers wearing the anti-social glasses to watch the Dog and Death’s telly.

Rose was not clear whose fault it all was. There are TV manufacturers, which over hyped 3D and the studios, which failed to create enough compelling 3D content. It was probably both.

He said that he didn’t think Sony could’ve done much more. It developed the 3D technology centre in Hollywood to train all the broadcast camera operators for most of the broadcasters in the world.

Of course, Sony is well positioned at every level for profit if a 3D boom takes off. It has a stake in Blu-ray, the PS3, manufacturing equipment, makes 3D TV sets, trains staff and puts together the studio kit that enables 3D production, as well as 3D studios themselves.

It might have just been poor timing. Broadcasters were struggling with their own financial pressures. Or it could be the public is aware the technology is being foisted upon them.