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ESPN Leaves 3D Cable TV Behind

A few years ago, it seemed 3D TV would be the next big thing. It never really caught on, though, and now one of the major players in the development of cable television, ESPN, is getting out of the 3D business. Though the success of 3D’s major return to movie theaters with movies like Avatar has led to a box office renaissance, the same is not true with 3D in the home.

More from CNN:

“The excitement around 3-D TV was coming from many places: the industry, the TV manufacturers and the content providers,” said Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst for Gartner Research. “But not the consumers, and ultimately that is what proved fatal.”

According to data from research firm DisplaySearch, adoption of 3-D TV in North America peaked in early 2011, when about 11% of TV owners had one. But growth has stalled and even dipped since then.

The technology fared better among TV owners in the rest of the world, growing to about 20% of the market before beginning to slide late last year.

Quite simply, Milanesi said, consumers just haven’t considered it worth the money. Combine that with consumer-tech trends moving in the opposite direction, and it’s a recipe for failure, she said.

“The lack of content and the higher cost of the hardware made adoption slow,” she said. “And now we see consumers focus their money on other consumer electronics such as tablets, adding screens to their home rather than focusing on the main screen.”

Complaints about home 3-D have centered around high prices, the limited number of 3-D offerings and the awkward glasses that made viewing uncomfortable over long periods of time. And many consumers, having recently traded in their clunky tube TVs for high-def flat screens, weren’t ready to replace their sets yet again with newer models.

Along with ESPN getting out of the game, some major cable providers are also getting out of the game: AT&T U-Verse dropped all 3D in 2011. 3D is still available on DIRECTV, but some viewers have complained the reception isn’t worth the added effects.

More on this as it develops at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

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