Is 3D TV A Thing Of The Past?


3D TV Is On The Decline

With 34 percent of movie screens in the United States and Canada supporting digital 3D releases and $1.8 billion spent on 3D movies in 2012 (according to the Motion Picture Association of America), 3D movies are growing in popularity as a choice for movie viewers. But when these movies go to On Demand and other television outlets, most Americans are not interested in seeing it in 3D. But with so many 3D TVs on the market, why wouldn’t TV watchers want to watch in 3D?

It turns out, 3D TV isn’t nearly as appealing as power players at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2010 made it out to be. In fact, at this year’s CES, big television manufacturing companies focused on home automation through television and hardly mentioned 3D TV at all. Here are the key reasons 3D TVs are no longer in use or manufactured:

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The Glasses

Other than hipsters, no one likes to wear glasses unnecessarily. But, as anyone who has gone to a 3D movie can tell you, 3D glasses are especially uncomfortable. The temples often squeeze your head because they are too small, or fall off because they are too loose. And, while these glasses focus the image on the screen, they make the rest of the world dark and fuzzy. Forget about seeing anything but the screen clearly when you use these glasses. That’s probably why people are unwilling to wear the 3D glasses, even if they have a 3D TV: they won’t be able to see anything or anyone else, which prohibits other interaction.

On top of these inconveniences, 3D glasses are expensive. While most TVs come with a certain number of glasses (usually two or four), extras cost anywhere between $20 and $50. This makes using the 3D function nearly impossible during a party or gathering unless you want to fork out the extra money.

Lack Of 3D Content

Of course, that’s not the only thing that’s stopping people from buying a 3D TV. A lack of 3D channels and movies makes using the 3D function on your TV even more difficult. Just last year, Disney discontinued ESPN 3D, so 3D TV owners can no longer watch their favorite sports in 3D.

Three-dimensional games have also declined in popularity, and, as a result, not many game manufacturers produce games in 3D. Even Nintendo, one of the few companies that still offers 3D games, has admitted that 3D isn’t selling the way it used to. In fact, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, told The Independent that “this 3D stereoscopic effect isn’t going to keep people excited.” Iwata further stated that 3D gaming is “perhaps slightly on the wane again.”

Headaches And Nausea

Like its in-theaters counterpart, 3D TV also has negative side effects. When watching a 3D movie or television show, one in four viewers experience eyestrain, depth perception problems, dizziness, headaches, or, occasionally, even vomiting. This means one fourth of Americans are not interested in 3D TV simply because of how it physically affects them.

SEE ALSO: Should You Dump Your Cable For An Apple TV?

A Comeback?

But 3D TV isn’t completely dead. There is still hope for those who want to watch their shows pop out of the screen. At CES this year, there was one company that focused on 3D TV. The company is Stream TV Networks and they are working on a glasses-free 3D TV option, called Ultra-D.

Features of Ultra-D include:

  • 4K panel, which produces a 3D effect at 2160p resolution
  • remote, which controls the level of 3D you experience so those with nausea and headaches can have a better viewing experience
  • No “sweet spot,” meaning that multiple people can watch the 3D display from different angles and still see the 3D image
  • An increase in the resolution of 2D content
  • 50- and 55-inch screen options

Stream TV already has a deal in place with Toshiba for this technology, but the company is also being wooed by LG and Samsung. This new technology might bring 3D TV back into the market and revolutionize the way we view 3D TV.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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