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FIFA considers scrapping 3-D coverage of WC

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - FIFA is considering scrapping 3-D broadcasts of the next World Cup, describing ESPN's decision to abandon the format as another setback for the technology.

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The sports network said earlier this week that there weren't enough viewers in the United States to make 3-D broadcasts worth the investment, and ESPN's dedicated channel will close by the end of the year.

``We know that the technology has had a few setbacks in recent days, if you refer to some of the statements by (ESPN),'' Niclas Ericson, FIFA's director of television, said Wednesday at a briefing during the Confederations Cup.

``It's clear when a big sports broadcaster like ESPN makes an announcement like that it creates a lot of extra tension (for the technology),'' Ericson added.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the first to be broadcast in 3-D, with 25 of the 64 matches screened in the format fueled, by what FIFA described at the time, as ``rapidly growing consumer interest.''

But demand for 3-D television sets doesn't appear to have taken off globally. Only an estimated 6 percent of TVs in the U.S. can show 3-D programming, according to the latest statistics.

FIFA has sent questionnaires to rights holders to assess their interest in 3-D coverage for its showpiece tournament in Brazil next year.

``We are still reviewing whether we should do 3-D for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the number of matches,'' Ericson said.

Ericson said there is interest from ``several broadcasters'' to retain 3-D feeds but he added that FIFA is still ``reviewing the cost of it.''

The cost and inconvenience for consumers appears to have limited the appeal of 3-D televisions.

Viewers must wear so-called active shutter glasses, which are battery-powered and work by stopping the image to each eye alternately at a high rate.

``Whether this (limited appeal for 3-D) is temporary and this will come back in a few years in a new way we don't know,'' Ericson said.

``We are spending most of our efforts (on high definition coverage) and that's most important for us,'' he added.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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