Obstructed viewing: 5 reasons why the 3D TV concept never took off

Stock image. JESHOOTS.com
Stock image. JESHOOTS.com (Pexels)

Tuesday marks National 3D Day, and it’s meant to celebrate the art, science and history of stereoscopic 3D imagery.

What do you think of when it comes to 3D pictures? Have you ever wondered about why televisions never really took off?

In the early years of the past decade, many TV manufacturers actually hurried to make 3D models after the success of “Avatar” in movie theaters.

The hope was to duplicate that experience at home, according to the website Lifewire.

Stores had neat demonstrations for customers as to what 3D TV viewing could look like, and it was thought to be the future of television.

Even sports fans initially seemed excited about the possibilities of watching live games in 3D.

But by 2016, many TV manufacturers stopped making 3D televisions entirely.

So, why did the 3D craze crash and burn so instantly?

Here are five reasons why, according to Lifewire.


1.) People didn’t seem to like wearing the glasses.

Not only did watching 3D television require putting on glasses in your home, there wasn’t consistency as to which type of glasses would work.

There were two types of glasses, active and passive, that weren’t interchangeable. Different brands of TVs required different glasses.

It also didn’t help that active glasses cost as much as $100 a pair.

2.) There were additional purchases required.

For those who got a 3D television and glasses, there was more to purchase.

People also needed Blu-ray players, cable/satellite boxes and internet streaming services that were 3D-enabled.

3.) The viewing was subpar.

Whether it was dimmer images, problems with TVs converting 2D to 3D, or the fact that watching 3D in a living room wasn’t nearly the experience it was watching on a large projector in a movie theater, the viewing just never seemed to catch on with people.

4.) There was an increased cost for networks.

Because two channels were required to watch a program normally on one channel and in 3D on another, networks had to provide separate feeds to local stations, which in turn had to maintain two separate channels for transmission.

Networks such as ESPN and DirectTV said no thanks to offering 3D, as a result.

5.) Bad timing.

The introduction of 3D TVs came at a poor time after “Avatar” came out in 2009.

Due to the transition from analog to digital in 2009, millions of consumers had either bought HDTVs or convertors in order to meet the new broadcast requirements for that transition. When the 3D craze with TV manufacturers hit, many people didn’t want to spend money on them because they had already purchased newer models for the analog-to-digital transition.

Millions of 3D TVs are still in use around the world, so it’s not like the concept is completely extinct.

But with manufacturers ditching new production, and now 4K TVs appearing to be the new wave of the future, it’s safe to say the 3D craze was just a brief blip in TV history.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.