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Watching the World Cup? Forget 3D, it's all about 4K now

By Jim Boulden and Ivana Kottasova, CNN
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
  • The demand for 3D television has not been as great as originally expected
  • The need to wear 3D glasses clashed with the multi-screen experience many demand
  • 4K technology is taking over -- some World Cup games will be filmed using this ultra high-definition technology

(CNN) -- At the last soccer World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.

In 2010, FIFA was the driving force behind 3D television. The international soccer authority teamed up with Sony to bring fans 3D images of 25 matches from the World Cup tournament in South Africa.

Back then, TV companies and broadcasters were hoping to follow the box office success of 3D movies. Even the Queen got into 3D, recording her 2012 Christmas message in 3D format.

But the demand for 3D TV has not been as great as expected.

Hollywood has fully embraced 3D technology. Around a third of all cinema screens globally are now 3D and the number of 3D film releases is growing steadily. But the glasses required to fully experience 3D have put off the small-screen viewers.

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Duncan Humphreys, of Stream TV Networks, said the special glasses clashed with the multi-screen experience many younger viewers demand.

New tech toys from the future

Many broadcasters have now scaled back on their 3D ambitions. BBC put its 3D TV project on hold for three years in last June, after saying the technology hadn't lived up to expectations.

ESPN followed just a couple months later, closing its 3D channel down due to "limited viewer adoption of 3D services."

Even FIFA has ditched the special 3D spectacles, betting instead on a brand new technology, 4K.

The technology promises to offer viewing experiences four times clearer than high definition. A standard high definition television has a 1080p resolution, or more than 2 million pixels per frame. 4K TVs have more than 8.8 million pixels.

FIFA and Sony are filming three full matches in 4K, and will also put out an official 2014 FIFA World Cup film in 4K once the tournament is over.

Read more: Can Amazon help 3-D finally catch on?
Read more: 4K TV promises to be four times clearer than high-def

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