ESPN Shutters Its 3D TV Network, Ending Three-Year Run

3-D TV May Give Ground to Ultra HD

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ESPN is shuttering its 3-D cable channel by the end of the year, yet another sign that 3-D TV is not catching on among consumers.

A still from an ESPN 3D promo video
A still from an ESPN 3D promo video Credit: ESPN

The cable sports network, which is owned by Walt Disney, said on Wednesday that it is giving up on the channel due to the low adoption of 3-D services in the home.

ESPN introduced the channel in June 2010, airing live 3-D coverage of sporting events like the World Cup and The Masters. It secured distribution through pay-TV companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Cablevision, Verizon and Charter. Google's Fiber project also included ESPN 3D.

But viewers' resistence to wearing 3-D glasses at home may have been too much to overcome.

"There's not much in the way of consumption," said Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser. "The glasses are an unnatural experience. TV is casual in nature. The consumer proposition just isn't there."

Ultra HD, or 4k, is a more promising technology, according to Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible. Ultra HD has been a focus at the Cable Show taking place in Washington, D.C., this week.

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