BT Sport: 3D is "the biggest waste of time"

Exclusive: BT Sport COO dismisses 3D tech

T3.com caught up with Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer of BT Sport and mastermind of the BBC's London 2012 Olympics coverage


The head of BT Sport has dismissed the future of 3D television, adding to speculation that the bubble has burst for broadcasters and TV manufacturers.

Jamie Hindhaugh, COO of BT Sport, has first hand experience of 3D programming after masterminding the BBC's Olympic coverage in 2012. However, he pulled no punches when it came to his feelings on 3D programming:

"I did the Olympics in 3D and it was the biggest waste of time I did. No-one ever watched it," he said.

Sky Sports has invested heavily in 3D over the last few years, but it seems even they have lost their appetite for the service. Despite boasting "more 3D subscribers than ever before", Sky has neglected to expand 3D this year, and promised coverage "on par" with last year.

However, Hindhaugh was unequivocal about his feelings for 3D:

"BT will absolutely not do 3D. I was in NAB in Vegas two years ago and you couldn't move for 3D. This year you couldn't move for 4K and there was one 3D stall there, which I think says it all."

"4K is another scenario, but I'll always throw back to you that people are still converting to HD," he said.

The London 2012 Olympic Games gave the BBC its highest viewing figures since records began, with 51.9 million (or, 90% of the UK population) watching at least 15 minutes of Games coverage. The opening ceremony itself brought in 27.3 million viewers.

"Surprisingly still not that many people have HD. I think the big story of the Olympics, with the stuff we did with IP, the stuff we did with Super Hi-Vision, actually it was the majority of people were watching in HD for the first time and I think the problem is for the consumer and the broadcaster that it changes so quickly," said Hindhaugh.

"We're monitoring it. Having seen how broadcasters invested in 3D, you need to make the right decision and you need to look at what the audience actually want more than what you can actually do."

Either way, BT Sport is beginning its assault on our living rooms - the company recently partnered with Virgin Media to offer its sport channels free to premium subscribers.