It was going to be the next frontier. The FIFA World Cup’s broadcast in 3D was meant to set off a chain reaction, we wouldn’t be able to tolerate live sport or action movies in anything less than three dimensions and would all rush out and splurge on 3D televisions. Our major networks set up 3D channels and started testing them furiously. And now what?

Consumers who did splurge might be feeling a little short changed, with not a lot of entertainment options popping up off the screen. In fact, a new study from Ovum reports that broadcasters have rated production of 3D content and channels as their lowest technology investment priority. Globally, 53% of respondents said 3D content production was “not an important business consideration. However, production of 3D content was rated as a slightly higher priority by executives in Asia- Pacific companies,  

“In Asia-Pacific, various methods of implementing 3D are used,” explains Ovum analyst and author of the report Tim Renowden, “For instance, several broadcasters and pay TV operators, such as Fox Sports and the Seven Network in Australia have presented 3D programming on an ad hoc basis; in Japan, NTT Plala's IPTV service, Hikari TV, includes a 3D on-demand pay-per-view portal. However, the high cost of 3D production has limited content availability and delayed some channel launches. Given the lack of enthusiasm for investing in 3D content production and delivery expressed by broadcasters, this situation is unlikely to change rapidly”.

Renowden doubts the situation is going to get much better any time soon.

“This ambivalence towards investment in 3D content production and creation of 3D channels, leaves a big hole in the availability of 3D content, and tells us that the lack of 3D programming we have seen during 2010 is unlikely to improve in 2011.

Renowden writes that the high cost of investment in infrastructure and personnel is a major factor in the reluctance of broadcasters to invest in 3D production. Renowden says 3D isn’t dead, however, and video games may hold the key to its true arrival.

“The lack of broadcast content means console gaming is likely to provide an important driver of 3D adoption,” he says, “with Sony promoting the technology on its PlayStation 3. Gaming has the advantage that incremental costs of 3D production are much lower than for filmed entertainment.”