Last Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, eventgoers were privy to an interesting event courtesy of ESPN: boxing. The Worldwide Leader put on a Friday Night Fights card at the expo to promote ESPN 3D, which had a busy last week at the event. In addition to the FNF card, attendees saw the live BCS National Title Game in 3D, as well as a live segment of SportsNation. If you’re a sports fan, there is no better time than now to own a 3D TV.
But here’s the main issue with ESPN’s promotion of the technology: right now on cable systems, it’s pretty much limited to sports, and only sports. On my Comcast package, there are two 3D channels: ESPN, and Xfinity 3D, which is a jumble of programs that appear to be mainly from HDNet. The content for Xfinity 3D include low-level (IE, non-UFC) MMA, kickboxing, pool, and various small release iMAX movies. It’s not as if 3D TV is mainstream, with dozens of channels in the style like high definition channels today.
3D TVs are pricier than HDTVs, with a cost usually 50% more than an HDTV as the LA Times reports. With 3D DVDs also not in existance yet, why would someone want to buy a TV with a technology that’s still rather primitive and not widely adopted? If you buy a 3D TV, you’re pretty much paying the extra money to watch certain events on ESPN… and that’s all.
Furthermore, why is ESPN so insistant on promoting the technology so heavily? I know they’re at the top of the sports food chain, but it seems like a colossal waste of money to broadcast over 180 events in 3D when they’re literally the only kid on the block and that block is ridiculously small.
The technology may be fantastic, but ESPN is going a little too deep into this right now. ESPN has built an empire on taking risks and successfully pushing the envelope, but is a heavy investment in 3D really one of those examples? It has the feel of the ESPN Mobile experiment that ultimately failed. I’m personally in the market for a new TV right now, and a 3D TV has never even crossed my mind, due in part to the price point and the fact that I’d be paying a lot more for a feature that I’d rarely be using. This just seems like an unnecessary investment for ESPN at this point in time.
[h/t: LA Times]