big slowdown in theatrical 3D films -- and that of overall 3D TV adoption by consumers -- ESPN will be closing down ESPN 3D, its TV channel, by the end of the year.
The network was
available to nearly 75 million homes -- out of 90 million overall U.S. pay TV homes -- through carriage agreements with DirecTV, Comcast, Bright House Networks, Cablevision System, Verizon FiOS,
and others. But few consumers actually signed on.
Executives say ESPN’s 3D, which started up in June 2010, is closing down because there was simply not enough consumer interest.
Production and other resources will be shifted to other ESPN businesses.
Some 140 live events were aired per year. Consumers needed to buy 3D service from their multichannel TV distributor
-- as well as 3D viewing glasses. Estimates are the extra charge for ESPN 3DTV network was around $2.80 per subscriber.
ESPN 3D launched with a 3DTV broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup's
opening contest in June 2010, then aired nonstop 3D sports content in early 2011.
But long-term, ESPN said isn’t abandoning new effort for TV technology. In a statement, the
network said it was experimenting with Ultra-High Definition TV -- also know as 4K TV -- which has four times the digital information as HDTV