The Rise and Death of 3D TV

The Rise and Death of 3D TV

Mar 03

As recently as 2010, 3D was all the rage and the promise of an immersive three dimensional experience excited many people. The release and subsequent success of Hollywood blockbusters like 3D film Avatar indicated greater things to come. DisplaySearch, a display market research company, projected unit sales exceeding 90 million by 2014. Broadcasters like the BBC and ESPN even started offering 3D broadcasts.

Three years down the line and BBC have shut down its 3D division, ESPN is shutting its service by the end of the year and 3D TV sales are going through the floor. What happened to such a promising form of display technology? The facts are varied and I will highlight some:

Eyestrains and headaches
According to a 2010 Nielsen Co study, over 25% of those interviewed complained of headaches resulting from watching 3D TV, especially at home. The sheer amount of information and alteration of reality meant viewers got overwhelmed and this caused them disorientation and discomfort.

Many people found that wearing 3D goggles for home viewing was impractical and inconvenient to their comfort.

Incompatibility with existing player capabilities
3D content must be filmed, played and displayed through 3D capable devices. So, buying a 3D TV meant buying a new player for DVDs and movies shot in 3D.

Lack of Content
The ultimate killer of the format was that there just wasn’t enough 3D content on the market (even Hollywood gave up) so the display was used in 2D instead.