BBC ends 3D broadcasts, blaming 'lack of public appetite'

5 Jul 2013

Dr Who 50th anniversary

The BBC has announced that it's suspending 3D programming for an indefinite period: this weekend's Wimbledon semi-finals and finals will be shown in 3D as planned, as will the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special to be shown in November

However, that drama – with Matt Smith and David Tennant (above) – will be one of the last BBC 3D broadcasts for the foreseeable future.

Citing a 'lack of public appetite' for the lack of uptake of 3D, which she said was 'quite hassle' for viewers, BBC head of 3D Kim Shillinglaw told Radio Times 'I think the BBC will be having a wait-and-see. It's the right time for a good old pause.'

She added that 'I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK. 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.'

Shillinglaw, who ail return to her main role as head of science and natural history at the BBC, said that 'I am not sure our job is to call the whole 3D race.'

The BBC broadcasts have only ever been part of a two year 3D trial the corporation started in 2011, and while it's estimated that half the 1.5m 3D-equipped households in the UK watched the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony in 3D, by Christmas last year the figures had plummeted, with just 5% watching the Queen's Speech and children's drama Mr Stink.

The BBC move follows US broadcaster ESPN's decision to halt its 3D services, due to a similar lack of public interest.

Written by Andrew Everard


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I think the problem lies with the amount of new technology that is being delivered to the market place within a short amount of time. How many viewers have got HD TV and then suddenly there is 3D to update to. Now we have Ultra High Definition and more and more viewers & the public in general are going to say enough is enough. Don't get me wrong as I have a 3D projector ( Didn,t make a point of buying 3D but it came as a feature with the wireless projector) and a nice Sony 52 inch hd tv. I have 3D blurays and have watched 3D on Sky broadcasts but I still say the manufacturers are bringing out new features far too close together. I don't want to replace my tv as it is a good picture and it isn't even a led backlit set. I watch films in 3D at the Cinema and I do think it makes the films more enjoyable but it does depend on the type of film. Prometheus was good for depth and the overall picture but The Hobbit was totally amazing and the 3D was the best ever.  It is a shame the BBC are giving up on 3D but I can understand the decision.


well done to the bbc.

the cost of upgrading to a 3d tv doesn't matter. 3d tv hasn't captured the publics imagination, it's not wanted or needed by most, a 2d tv does just fine for most peoples needs.

a good decision to trial 3d to see it's capabilities and gague demand, a great decision to end the trial.

Simple - It costs too much and does not work very well.

I think there are better ways for the BBC to spend our money than 3D programming to be honest.  I'd much rather see the money put into making more quality drama, music programmes, and documentaries.  For me content is everything with TV, and anything else is a bonus.

Where I think 3D has something real to offer is in films, when it is done to enhance the enjoyment of the film rather than as a technical showing-off exercise.  This is where 3D TV sets will get the most use although, like many others, I just can't justify buying a 3D set yet as my existing Sony Bravia is still performing perfectly well.

Yet at the same time people spend a fortune at times on new/better 'sounding speaker cables   Smile

I recon 3D is quite brilliant IF the source is good. Figures are things that can be bent in any direction to suit whatever.... the fact of the matter from what I can gather is that of the ordinary household Cannot afford to upgrade their TV in the present climate the way many good money-earners on here can... as to WHY 3D is shot-down.... mmmmm ?

3D is a Hollywood obsession and always has been.  

3D in the home was only ever about screwing more money out of people for TV upgrade, new bluray and yet another version of a film that you have purchased again and again.  Man is supposed to be very intelligent so just does not need 3D, we can tell when something is far away/ coming towards us etc. with the visual clues in existing media and technology.

Still it kept the tills ringing and those that joined in can always claim a better visual experience.


I disagree with many of the comments here and agree with the bbc.

I’m still to watch anything in 3D which doesn’t draw me away from the story, rather making me think about effects on the screen.

That said, when 3D comes without the need for a pair of silly glasses, I think it could become commonplace, until then I’d rather have a clear HD picture for movies or TV.





The bbc should be shot for this decision, 3-D is definitely here to stay , The broadcast of the Olympics in 3-D was fantastic they also did a good job wit strictly dancing , as was planet dinosaur , the biggest problem is they didn't advertise when the programs were being broadcast in 3-D , The main reason 3-D has not taken off is because buying a new TV is a luxury lots of people cannot afford, and sky TV haven't exactly helped, the price for 3-D subscription is as usual a rip off. The people who think 3-D is a fad tend to be the people who cannot afford a 3-D TV in my opinion , I think it is time the BBc stood on there own feet and are privatised , I'm sick of a lot of the rubbish they produce

@newyoshi: IIRC, I think it was Mr E himself at the very launch of 3D who questioned the motives of the TV manufacturers saying that 3D was a technology that, rather than being requested by the buying public, was instead being foisted upon us in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and restore profit margins through the sale of new, higher-priced compatible hardware. If you buy into that argument, and I personally do, doesn’t that indeed make 3D “just a gimmick to screw more money out of us”?

I have to agree with newyoshi. 3D is quite marvelous to watch with things made well for 3D. For me it isn't a gimmick either and without doubt can make the likes of Prometheus much better for watching, sure it doesn't make the movie any better but it certainly makes it worthwhile.

Quite a good number of what you would say were 'alright' movies seem a LOT better when viewed in 3D, Snow White And The Huntsman springs to mind. I recon not enough people as of now have 3D TV/projectors to actually view whatever programs are shown in 3D ?

There are some real decent TV progs in HD that when converted to 3D are quite great to watch too.... even some of the football is pretty decent at times.

"World Super Bikes in 3D" .... indeed  :)

Hurrah. At last some common sense.Maybe they'll stop broadcasting wall to wall F1 as well.

 Please read into their statment more and it validates my point even more. Who wants to watch the queen's speach in 3D. How abou F1 or World Super Bikes in 3D, think of the onboard shot's now thats what 3D is for not a static fixed point with lips moving.


This move is not at all surprising. 3D has never captured the publics imagination couple with the fact that it's uncomfortable for many people to wear eithr type of the special viewing spectacle required.

I quote from the BBC's own story today

"Half of the estimated 1.5 million households in the UK with a 3D-enabled television watched last summer's Olympics opening ceremony in 3D."

"The BBC said 3D viewing figures for the Queen's Christmas Message and the children's drama Mr Stink were "even more disappointing", with just 5% of potential viewers tuning in over the Christmas period."

"Last month, US sports network ESPN announced it was to close its 3D channel in the US due to a lack of uptake."

"Recent figures from the US suggest no more than 120,000 people are watching 3D channels at any one time."

The market forces have decided not the big corporations.

 I don’t post very often but this has really got my goat up. I have not bought a 3D TV but instead I am on my second 3D projector. 3D is not only a gimmick as the "purists" might say, I find it enhances your enjoyment of the entertainment you are watching. 3D's downfall or the start of it as some of the news articles I have seen over the past few weeks seem to suggest, is the small screen size. My room is just over 5 meters in length so a 50 inch 3D TV is a bit pointless but the 106 inch screen for the projector just adds to the overall experience.

 I have spent a small fortune adding 5.1 sound to get that involved feeling while I watch a movie, so when 3D is added you get that extra dimension of added realism and when it all comes together with the right setup and package it's exhilarating and that how it should be.

 The other issues are the lack of content being release by broadcasters and the price of the premium that’s put on 3D discs. The 3D option should be available on all blu-rays not on a different disc costing double the price as on some occasions. Then there’s the lack of content hitting the screens, no one wants to constantly watch wildlife programs with the occasional wasp flying out at you, 3D is all about feeling involved in what’s happening on the screen not just a gimmick to screw more money out of us.

 If and it's a big if they treated 3D content like they did HD content like SKY, BBC and many other broadcaster have then 3D would be a hit. I know I would gladly watch most of the SKY movie channels in 3D if it was available but a single channel with mainly pay per view on movies in 3D which are in the package cost if they’re in HD.

 So rant over. The forth coming death of 3D is only to blame on the greed and backward thinking of the corporations that control it.