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article image3D TV is finally officially dead

By James Walker     Jan 24, 2017 in Technology
3D television has reached the grave as Sony and LG, the last remaining manufacturers of 3D TVs, have confirmed they are to cease production. The concept is regarded as one of the biggest tech failures this decade after failing to win over consumers.
3D TV first began to attract attention in 2010 when total shipments reached 2.25 million. In 2012, over 41 million units were shipped. By the following year, numbers were already in decline though. By 2014, manufacturers were abandoning the market as uptake slowed to a crawl.
LG and Sony, the last two major TV brands to continue selling 3D sets, are now ready to cease production. The firms will stop selling 3D TVs during 2017, CNET reported today. Other industry leaders have already pulled out of the market. Samsung withdrew over a year ago, citing lack of consumer demand as its reason.
As explored by Digital Journal in 2015, 3D television failed to attract the masses. Encumbered by issues from the start, it proved to be a gimmick in the minds of consumers. The inconvenience of having to wear special glasses and the motion sickness and nausea experienced by many viewers led to the technology's demise. It had all but vanished from stores before it had even escaped the early-adopter phase.
A lack of content was also a significant factor. Initially, very little material was available. As it turned out, only a small amount was ever produced as broadcasters proved reluctant to invest in the medium amid plummeting sales. In 2013, ESPN discontinued its dedicated 3D channel, saying it would return "if or when 3D does take off." A month later, the BBC indefinitely suspended all 3D broadcasting due to a "lack of public appetite" for 3D material.
Four years on, TV manufacturers are now ready to openly admit that the marketing behind 3D didn't reflect its value to consumers. LG's Tim Alessi, director of new product development, told CNET the tech's "just not a key buying factor" for new purchasers.
"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," he said. "Purchase process research showed it's not a top buying consideration, and anecdotal information indicated that actual usage was not high. We decided to drop 3D support for 2017 in order to focus our efforts on new capabilities such as HDR, which has more universal appeal."
Unusually for consumer technology, 3D's downfall wasn't the rise of a superior rival product but rather a firm rejection from would-be customers. The high prices of the first 3D TVs, lack of content from major publishers and health issues it incurred all contributed to one of the biggest home cinema fads ever pitched by TV brands.
With manufacturers now looking to the future, 3D's future remains uncertain. A comeback this decade looks unlikely amid continued consumer resistance. Without further development, 3D won't be able to move beyond its current negative image. TV brands will be reluctant to invest further in the technology until there's some significant change in consumers' buying choices.
The televisions of tomorrow now look set to be defined by high-resolution 4K displays, curved screens and new technologies like HDR. These deliver immediate benefits to all viewers, improving colour vibrancy and picture detail without mandating glasses or triggering nausea during films.
More about Television, 3d, 3d tv, Sony, Lg
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