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UK a 3D TV nation? Not half

Not even a quarter, Sky's figures show

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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? ®

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