3D on terrestrial TV : Why Not?

3D TV is more complex than standard television pictures, because broadcasts have to include information used to create both the left-eye and right-eye images necessary for the 3D effect.

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This means broadcasters have to send more information over the airwaves for 3D programmes than they currently do. In technical terms, digital high-definition TV requires about 9.6 megabits of data each second to build up its images. For 3D broadcasts, the figure is between 40 and 50 per cent higher – around 13 or 14 megabits. And while satellite and cable broadcasts are quite capable of handling that extra data, there simply isn’t room in current terrestrial broadcasting for it.

Thankfully, all that's about to change.

Terrestrial TV in Britain is currently broadcast on both analogue and digital, which means there isn't room in the available wavebands to broadcast the data required for 3D TV. But when the big switch-off happens in 2012, all of the UK's TV coverage will go digital-only - and terrestrial broadcasting of 3D programmes could become a real possibility.

So would you pay extra for 3D content?