UK a 3D TV nation? Not half
Not even a quarter, Sky's figures show
Satellite broadcaster Sky said yesterday it now has more than 70,000 subscribers for its 3D TV channel.
Now, a week earlier, the chief engineer of Sky owner BSkyB, Chris Johns, revealed that the company estimated that, by the end of 2010, some 140,000 British homes had a 3D TV.
Johns said BSkyB had initially expected the figure to be half that: 70,000.
All that paints a rosy picture for the future of 3D TV in UK, yes? Well, no, not if you consider the broader picture.
BSkyB's annual report, also released yesterday, puts the broadcaster's HD subscriber base at 3.5m. Since 3D subscribers have to be HD subscribers, that means only two per cent of Sky's HD customer base are thus far interested in 3D.
It gets worse. BSkyB's overall customer base is actually just under 10.1m subscribers, the figures show. So, HD only accounts for 34.7 per cent of BSkyB's business and 3D accounts for just over half a percentage point of the company's customers - 0.64 per cent, numerically.
There's no reason to suppose BSkyB's numbers are not way out of kilter with the rest of the nation. If anything, 3D take-up should be higher among Sky viewers simply because of the paucity of 3D content elsewhere. Virgin Media has a 3D channel, but far fewer TV subscribers than Sky. And 3D Blu-ray Discs are few and far between.
But let's be generous and assume that BSkyB has no higher proportion of 3D viewers than the UK TV market as a whole.
So we're looking at 140,000 3D TVs out of an estimated 25-30,000,000 digital TV viewing households in the UK.
Not exactly a soaring success, eh? ®
3D TV is going to be like Betamax
I really can't see this taking off. The glasses are really expensive and dorky, and you need a pair for every person watching (of course). If you've got three kids that's a lot of money on top. Especially if the kids sit on them and break a pair. Some people suffer headaches. The quality really is not that good.
Even when the price comes down to similar to a non-3D TV, I think it will get a larger take up, but still many of those people will never actually use the 3D channels. A little bit like the huge number of people that don't have an HD source, but still have an HD telly (although that WILL gradually change as cheaper BD players or streaming becomes the norm).
Perhaps some keen gamers might get into it, but that will be a pain when everyone else watching and not playing will just see a fuzzy picture, but can't be bothered to put on a pair of glasses to watch someone else play a game.
I think 3D cinema is OK, but we've all seen Avatar now and Toy Story and the novelty is kinda wearing off with that even. 3DS is interesting, and I think that WILL really take off.
Until they invent one that looks as good as HD quality and doesn't need glasses, I'll be giving it a miss. It's early days though, but I predict that by time the SnOasis opens near Ipswich 3D TV will be dead or dying.
It's not that the technology's crap...
It's that the whole concept of stereoscopic TV is crap.
Oh, wait. I've banged on about this before.
This isn't going to happen as part of a hardware refresh. Sure going forward more people will end up with TVs capable of displaying 3D content but as long as that content costs extra (sky subscription) and you need to buy and wear stupid glasses, 3D is not going to take off on any big level.
People put up with 3D in the cinema, mostly because you have no choice, but very few people will choose to wear the glasses in their homes.
Uh, shouldn't this be how many people are on sky's top package?
You can't get Sky 3D without having the Sky World package with the HD bolt on, then it comes for free as far as I recall? Kinda puts a dent in the reporting, no? I for one wouldn't pay almost £70 in order to get access to a 3D channel :s
colour me cynical
But i wonder how many of those 70,000 subscribers don't actually have a 3d tv, but were sold it anyway as the latest and greatest must-have service.