Why 3D TV Failed (And Why We Don’t Care)

In 2015, 3D was still present in most HD TVs. Not that you’d have known — advertisements had conspicuously stopped mentioning it. This year, the feature has been quietly killed off by most major manufacturers. After years of trying to convince consumers that 3D was the next big thing, it’s finally been consigned to the dustbin of history. Here’s why we won’t miss it.

From the very beginning, 3D TVs were a dubious and under-supported technology that most dismissed as a gimmick. Despite much-touted 3D Olympics, a 3D Foxtel channel and passionate endorsements from award-winning filmmakers, consumers refused to bite in large numbers.

As reported in the SMH, Samsung’s 2016 TV lineup contains no 3D functionality. At all. After years of desperately and unconvincingly championing the technology, the industry has completely given up.

Here are five reasons why 3D failed to thrive:

#1 Lack of content

When 3D TVs first became available, there were precisely zero 3D Blu-rays available. Even the massively hyped 3D extravaganza Avatar was originally released in 2D only. Content availability is often a problem when new hardware enters the market but this carried on for years. If you wanted to watch something in 3D, you were essentially forced to apply a crappy filter to your regular movies. This is a problem that 4K TV is currently suffering from. Hopefully, the belated release of 4K Blu-ray players will help to address this issue.

#2 Gimmicky reputation

Before the latest generation of 3D TVs crashed and burned, the technology had already failed — not once, but twice. Then there were the countless anaglyph 3D movies in el-cheapo drive-thru cinemas. Simply put, 3D entertainment had a deservedly ropy reputation which hampered its ability to succeed.

#3 Goofy glasses

In a bid to cut costs, most TV manufacturers bundled their 3D sets with cheap plastic glasses that looked rubbish and were uncomfortable to wear. Nobody wants to look like a tool while watching television.

#4 Eye strain

Unlike most new technologies, 3D TV caused serious compatibility issues with customers’ eyes. Some people simply can’t “do” 3D. It makes them feel dizzy and can be actively bad for you. The damage this caused via word-of-mouth was probably substantial.

#5 It was more hassle than it’s worth

With finicky calibration, compulsory glasses, troublesome viewing angles and patchy support, 3D TV was a tough slog to set up. For most users, the payoff wasn’t worth the effort. Like Microsoft Kinect, it asked a lot from the consumer and delivered very little reward.

Does anyone regularly use 3D TV for movies or gaming? If so, will you be sad to see it go? Share your opinions in the comments.

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