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BBC postpones 3D programming due to low public interest

The BBC is to put 3D programming on hold for three years due to a "lack of public appetite" for the technology in the UK.

The disclosure comes as the BBC's head of 3D programming, Kim Shillinglaw, admitted in an interview with the Radio Times (opens in new tab) that a market for the technology had not emerged.

"Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV. I think when people watch TV they concentrate in a different way. When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing – I think that's one of the reasons that take up of 3D TV has been disappointing," she said.

The BBC's two year 3D trial began at the end of 2011 with a number of flagship shows and events broadcast in the format, including Wimbledon, Strictly Come Dancing, Walking with Dinosaurs and the Olympic Games.

However, despite estimates that 1.5 million UK households own a 3D TV, the 3D coverage of the Olympics Opening Ceremony was watched by just half of all 3D TV owners in the UK.

3D viewing figures for the Queen's Christmas Message and the children's drama Mr Stink were even worse with just five per cent of potential viewers taking advantage of the technology over the Christmas period.

A Doctor Who anniversary special in November will be among the final 3D shows as part of the trial.

"We will see what happens when the recession ends and there may be more take up of sets but I think the BBC will be having a wait and see. It's the right time for a good old pause," added Shillinglaw.

It is not just the BBC that is suffering from a lack of interest in 3D TV however. Last month, ESPN announced plans to close its 3D channel in America due to low adoption numbers.

Recent US figures suggest that no more than 120,000 people are watching channels in 3D at any given time.

Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.