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Nothing to see here: Sky quietly switches off 3D channel

Sky 3D

Sky to drop 3D channel in June

Fans of 3D television (who meet in a phone box every Friday in Crewe) will be wiping a tear away behind their tinted glasses, with Sky set to pull the plug on its 3D channel. The broadcaster will switch the 3D channel off in June, moving all 3D content to on-demand services.

It’s not so much a nail in the coffin as a burial at sea for the concept of 3D television, which has failed abysmally despite the expensive marketing efforts of Sky and the television manufacturers. Sky first introduced 3D programming in 2010, attempting to entire sports fans first with live Premier League games broadcast in 3D. It seems football fans found it more nauseating than Robbie Savage, despite a massive push to get 3D into both pubs and homes. The writing was on the wall when Sky failed to schedule a single match for 3D broadcast this past season. 

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Sky is attempting to put maximum gloss on the closure, insisting the move will increase convenience for customers. “From June Sky 3D is going fully on demand,” says Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s brand director for TV products in a blog post. “From the latest 3D movie premieres like Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to the very best in natural history with documentaries like Natural History Museum Alive, it will all be ready and waiting for our customers to view whenever it suits them.”

Alas, it doesn’t appear to suit customers often enough, leaving Sky to look for the “next big thing” in television. Sky has long been rumoured to be launching an Ultra HD set-top box this year, and the closure of the 3D service could free up some satellite bandwidth to deliver the 4K pictures.

Sky may alternatively look to deliver Ultra HD content over the internet. In its most recent results, Sky announced that more than 7 million of its customers now have their Sky box connected to the internet, and that it served over 300 million on-demand downloads during the last quarter. However, delivering 4K streams will almost certainly require customers to have a fibre broadband connection. 


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