It’s official – 3D TV is dead

I just ran into an interesting article announcing 3D TV is now officially dead.  LG and Sony were the last manufacturers who were still making 3D TVs for the consumer market, but they announced they are no longer in production.

I have no idea how this will impact the 3D digital signage market since there are still some companies selling displays that feature “glasses-free” 3D viewing.  With every major TV manufacturer now out of the game, 3D is sure to remain a niche product with very limited applications.

So what killed 3D?

  • Too expensive for what it delivered.  4K displays have come down in price very quickly, to the point that buying a 3D display makes little, or no sense.  4K displays are poised to take over and become as common as 1080p displays are today.
  • 3D is too cumbersome.  Most 3D display technologies require special glasses which many people found uncomfortable and ungainly.  There were two competing technologies which meant glasses compatible with one TV manufacturer’s products didn’t work with the others. Some companies found a way to deliver a 3D image without the use of special glasses but the results have been underwhelming.  You needed to be positioned just at the right distance and angle to see the effect, which made 3D less interesting for advertising and DOOH use.
  • Lack of decent 3D content.  It’s difficult to grow a display technology when you don’t have any content to support it.  At least, the consumer market had 3D versions of blockbuster movies but even that didn’t save the format.  4K content will soon become the new standard.

I think 3D will end up like many other fringe technologies, like holographic displays and similar “whiz bang” tech.  There is always going to be a market for these products, but they are far from mainstream.

Rest in peace, 3D TV.  You won’t be missed…

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