3DTV Is Officially Never Going to Happen

And for better or worse (um, we’re not on the “worse” side when it comes to this), it’s all because of ESPN.

That’s right. Sports killed the 3dTV craze, just like video killed the radio star:

espn3dby Kyle Wagner

That was it. That was 3DTV’s best chance. ESPN just decided to discontinue its push for 3DTV sporting events, deciding its time would be better spent focusing on traditional high resolution broadcasts and Tim Tebow daguerreotypes. And that, in a nutshell, effectively kills 3DTV’s chances of ever going mainstream.

ESPN giving up on 3D is crippling in a way that seems almost impossible for 3DTV to overcome. That’s because if anyone ever really wanted 3D on their TV for anything but movies, it was for sports. In a survey from 2010, around the time 3DTVs were first becoming widely available, 61 percent of people polled said that sports were the thing they’d most want to view on a 3DTV. Movies will remain more or less fine—though often the 3D Blu-ray is simply bundled with a collector’s edition or the regular edition—mostly because they’re such a boon to box office numbers. But sports were the foothold into the wider world of TV.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect canvas for 3D on your television than sports. That makes sense on a few cascading levels. For one, sports are played three dimensionally, with depth and perspective that simply isn’t necessary or utilized on traditional programming. Shows like the evening news and How I Met Your Mother are scripted or staged in ways that make 3D, essentially, superfluous. It would be nice, more or less, but wouldn’t really add much in the end.

Read it all