BBC cautious still on promise of 3D

UK: Despite last week’s announcement that it would be involved in the stereo 3D broadcast of the finals of the Wimbledon tennis championships in June, the latest iteration of the BBC’s technology strategy, also published last week, plays down the significance of 3D to the Corporation’s plans while putting considerable stress on HD.

As one of the world’s largest public service broadcasters, and with a considerable heritage of innovation behind it, the BBC’s view on new technologies tends to be taken into consideration by a lot of the industry. And it remains steadfastly lukewarm on 3D, attributing much of the interest in what it insists is a consumer display manufacturer-driven technology to hype about cinema 3D and forthcoming Blu-ray releases.

“There is no standardisation of the technologies for acquisition, post production, contribution or distribution of S3D,” runs the statement. “This approach is likely to suit a smaller but better funded number of players in the movie industry. Within the broader, more diverse and often less well funded television making community a lack of standardisation would be a more significant issue; not just for S3D as a format but also in financial terms for the producers and commissioning broadcasters.

“The BBC has stated publicly that it will not be investing in S3D programme making but intends to continue to investigate via limited trials and commercially available equipment [its emphasis]. The BBC will also take an active role in standards bodies and with manufacturers to ensure there is simple and affordable technology in place if and when programmes are required in S3D.”

Interesting stuff, especially given the caveat that this strategy is expected to have a limited life-span (currently set to auto-expire in mid 2012). “It is anticipated that at this point either a full BBC S3D programme strategy will be developed or the current S3D standards fail to deliver / take off,” the statement concludes.

HD meanwhile is billed as being “business as usual” for the Corporation by 2012/2013, with the promise that a lack of multichannel audio will be addressed.

The full report can be downloaded here: BBC Technology Vision Statements – March 2011

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