3D is Now D-E-A-D

Who knew (or cared) it was still alive?

By Steve “Wolfie” Browender


That great video technology – 3D – will become extinct this year when Sony and LG stop making 3D-compatible televisions and monitors. Yes, I’m talking about the same 3D video that was poised to take over sports, movies, TV shows – nearly everything we watched.

It was 2010, and out of nowhere, 3D dominated the annual NAB convention in Las Vegas. HD Video had become the standard for cable, broadcast and online. HD had saturated the professional and consumer markets leaving television, camera and lens manufacturers little to spark purchases. Enter glorious 3D, a new way to watch video that, not coincidentally, required new equipment. Judging by the sights and sounds at the 2010 NAB convention, 3D video was poised to be the next “Big Thing” to hit the industry.  So many people wore 3D glasses that the NAB show floor looked like a Buddy Holly convention.

RIP Here Lies 3D TV

NAB excitement aside, 3D failed miserably, for several excellent reasons:

  • First, the economics didn’t make sense. 3D production and transmission required expensive outlays for new equipment and viewers needed to spend thousands for a 3D TV. Neither broadcasters nor consumers were able to justify the cost.
  • Second, with scant 3D programming available, little reason existed to buy a new 3D TV.
  • Third, there were multiple, but incompatible 3D systems.
  • Finally, as much as 25% of the population either couldn’t see 3D or got dizzy or nauseous watching it.

By NAB 2012, 3D gear was rarely seen in the convention hall and a year later, it was all but gone. Direct TV, ESPN and others dumped their 3D channels in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Most of us haven’t given 3D a thought in years, so the end of 3D monitor production means almost nothing. I’m happy about this news because the death of 3D TV benefits both the creators of video content and the consumers; We’ve stated emphatically that we’re all about better quality video but when it comes to gimmicks – not so much.

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