BBC: HD, not 3D

Doctor Who - no more 3DAnyone hoping to see more Doctor Who in 3D after the cinema trailer earlier this year will be in for a long wait. The BBC announced at the IPTV World Forum in London this week its concerns that 3D’s recent popularity is taking away the focus from HD.

Danielle Nagler, head of HD at the BBC, noted that the corporation needed to see more of what 3D could offer before it committed itself.

“We are not clear on what makes good 3D and are certainly not clear on what makes good 3D television. The trials we are doing are a bit like early colour – it looks interesting but there is a long way to go.”

Nagler also called 3D a ‘distraction’ in the Beebs plans to invest consumers fully in HD. While the Corporation are looking at broadcasting Rugby at the O2 Arena and the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic games live in an extra dimension; they are still hesitant as to what it offers drama.

“HD and CGI have enhanced storytelling, but we do not yet know what the answer is for 3D. Regular consumption of 3D television on a regular public access channel is something which is still open to question.”

Budgetary constraints have also meant no development has been planned for 3D and with the NAO (National Audit Office) being called upon to scrutinize even the small change in the vending machines at Broadcasting House, it looks unlikely that any further enhancements are likely to happen.

Directed by Michael Geoghegan for The Mill (the VFX company providing special effects for Doctor Who since 2005) a stereoscopic 3D version of the trailer was created using two 2D images spliced together in line with the binocular vision of human beings, in order to give two perspectives of the same image.

Doctor Who has appeared in 3D before with Dimensions in Time, the 1993 Children in Need cross over/abomination where the Rani trapped several incarnations of the Doctor in Albert Square, the home to mope-a-thon soap Eastenders.

The technology then employed the ‘Pulfrich effect’ where lateral motion is given depth by a delay between signal timings in both eyes which was accomplished by 3D glasses with one eye lens darker than the other.

3D televisions have been available in the UK since April. The sets can operate in either HD or 3D with the addition of LED Shutter Glasses which accomplish the ‘Pulfrich effect.’

A report from Informa Telecoms and Media that featured in The Guardian reports that 800,000 households currently have a HD ready set but as little as one in eight will actually be watching 3D programmes with it.

One of the significant reasons for the large gap is that viewers were not aware that they also needed the correct set top box/subscription package before they could being viewing.

An issue that also plagued HD when, like this summer, the boom in new technology was met with indifference by the public- giving weight to the Beeb’s argument that more time needs to be spent familiarising the consumer with the product.

Sky Sports already broadcasts in 3D with Sky Movies set to follow suit in the Autumn.

Check out the full article at in 3D! (or not). Read the full report on the 3D television gap at


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