RIP 3D TV – what went wrong?

Remember a couple of years back when 3D TV was supposed to be the next big thing? Major manufacturers dutifully trotted out expensive models to bring that theater 3D experience into the home.

This was not a welcome development for me. I’m one of the many folks out there who become either nauseous or get pounding headaches when I attempt to watch a 3D movie in the theater.  But if you look around now, there’s nary a new 3D TV to be found. So why didn’t 3D TV catch on the way HDTVs did?


For one, you still have to wear the stupid glasses. All of the 3D TV models required everyone viewing to put on glasses to see 3D. In some cases, expensive glasses. That makes it difficult to have 20 people over to watch a game in 3D. And it looks stupid. Plus the glasses weren’t compatible between brands.  You couldn’t take your LG glasses over to watch a movie at the home of a friend with a Panasonic TV.

And then there was the lack of programming. While some content providers do offer it, there never was that much to begin. Coming from a TV industry background, I can tell you that most TV people were still exhausted from the digital conversion and probably not in the mood to take up a big project again.

Another factor is the emergence of VR headsets. My Samsung Gear headset only costs $100 and my husband actually got one free with his phone. You can just pop your smartphone in and use it as the screen for a 3D experience for movies and games. And if we’ve all got to put on stupid glasses anyway, how much more of a problem is slipping on a headset that holds your smartphone?

The idea of 3D on a large home screen certainly isn’t dead. Developers are working on 3D displays that don’t require glasses, which could certainly be a game changer.




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