Seven years on from iconic blue Avatars coming to life on viewers’ screens, couch dwellers are no longer donning chunky glasses to watch them, or in fact anything, in 3D. As a result of dismal sales in 2016, Sony and LG, the last two manufacturers of the technology, have this year put an end to 3D television.
Sales of 3D TVs in 2016 only accounted for eight percent of all television sales which, according to US market research, equated to a 23 percent drop from 2012. This reflected a change in consumer demand that has been a long time coming.
The end came despite movie enthusiasts embracing a revival of 3D’s popularity following the huge success of the movie Avatar in 2009. In 2013, Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning space thriller Gravity also spurred a minor 3D revival.
Although a fun novelty, in the long run the technology was not worth the hassle
Nonetheless, the complicated technology requires not only a 3D capable television, but also 3D glasses and a properly formatted version of the screened content. Albeit affordable, the functionality was not widely accepted on the home front.
As LG’s Tim Alessi told CNET: “3D capability was never really universally embraced in the industry for home use, and it’s just not a key buying factor when selecting a new TV.” Although a fun novelty, in the long run the technology was not worth the hassle. “We decided to drop 3D support for 2017 in order to focus our efforts on new capabilities such as HDR, which has much more universal appeal”, Alessi said.
In the face of a new era of VR capabilities, the television industry has made a smart move away from outdated technology. Although some old-school fans of 3D functionality are calling for its return, for the majority of the audience, its demise is nothing but another passing fancy, and one that is unlikely to be missed.