ESPN has provided the answer to the question of what would happen if it created a channel and nobody watched. The answer came when ESPN announced today that it is shutting down ESPN 3D, the Associated Press reports.
The channel will shutter its 3D operation by the end of 2013, the piece reports, “dealing a major blow to a technology that was launched with great fanfare but has been limping along for years.”
ESPN said it didn’t have enough people watching the 3D channel to make it worth continuing. Without providing numbers, ESPN said the total was "extremely limited and not growing."
The report adds: “Last year, only 2 percent of TVs in the U.S. were able to show 3D programming, according to the most recent data from research firm IHS Screen Digest.”
The technology was hot in 2010 after the release of the 3D James Cameron movie “Avatar,” the report notes, with ESPN 3D being one of nine 3D channels to launch around that time.
“TV makers rushed to introduce 3D sets as well,” the story reports. “ESPN said then that it expected a ‘3D tsunami’ in the industry.
“But few consumers proved willing to pay the extra $200 or so for a 3D-capable set. The sets also required viewers to wear glasses, and many people felt the 3D effect didn’t add that much to the viewing experience.”
Optometrists also noted that a number of viewers, up to one in four, have trouble watching 3D for a variety of reasons.
The report notes: “ESPN said it would be ready to provide the broadcasts again ‘if or when 3D does take off.’"