What happened to TVs with 3D support?

‘Avatar’ unleashed 3D fever around the world. Suddenly that was the magic word in the mouth of industry, users and content producers. Televisions, computers, cinemas … all tried to take advantage of the pull of a technology that years later virtually disappeared from the map.

That apparent irrelevance of 3D content has been confirmed again at the recent CES, with manufacturers who have announced that they will no longer offer this capability in their new models to focus on other technical improvements. Sales have not stopped falling, less and less movies are released with that alternative version and users do not take advantage of that feature of their Smart TV more than anecdotally. Are we facing the death of 3D content in film and television?

TVs with 3D
Image Source: Google Image

The manufacturers, in retreat

We have a good example in LG and Sony, two of the manufacturers that still offered support of 3D technology in their televisions. If you are interested in that option hurry up, because neither will offer such support in their 2017 models. Neither in its high-end models, much more focused on the integration of 4K and HDR and OLED screens, this option is contemplated.

The same thing happened with Samsung, which abandoned 3D support in 2016 , with Philips, who made the same decision last year, or with Vizio, which has not incorporated it since 2013, but also something similar to other manufacturers like Sharp or HiSense, Which also did not offer that capacity in the televisions that presented in the recent CES 2017.

Tim Alessi, director at LG, explained on CNET as “3D capability was never really accepted in the domestic industry, and is no longer a key buying factor when selecting a new TV.”

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In fact this director indicated how in their internal surveys the use of this option in their televisions was very low, something that has made that as Alessi said “let’s leave 3D support in 2017 to be able to focus on other capabilities like HDR, which has much more Attractive at a global level”.

TVs with 3D
Image Source: Google Image

3D TV seems to say goodbye, or maybe just until later

Sony and the rest of the manufacturers also prove to be on the verge of withdrawal, which is logical if we take into account the data from the consulting firm NPD Group, whose studies reveal that 3D TV represents 8% of total sales in the United States in 2016, while in 2015 they accounted for 16%. Something similar happens with Blu-ray players: those offering native 3D support accounted for 11% in 2016, 25% in 2015 and 40% when these systems were hitting strong in 2012.

What happened to those contents? We probably ended up saturated by an option that was overvalued and overused: suddenly everything had to be 3D, and movies that were never intended to be enjoyed in 3D appeared with a 3D finish too artificial and did not bring anything differential.

Some users want this option to remain present on some TVs – there is a request on Change.org about it – and probably at some point this capability will once again demonstrate its potential as it did in Avatar. We will see if then the fever returns and does it in a justified way, although it seems that the virtual reality could pose a very valid alternative to that type of contents and experiences.

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