The 3D TV fad is already over

While most TVs today have 3D processors, the content just doesn't appeal to viewers

3D television, a technology now supported by almost every set maker, may have been an idea after its time, as content for it has never been abundant and what little there is now appears to be vanishing.

Late last week, the BBC suspended its 3D programming for "an indefinite period" due to a "lack of public appetite" from viewing audiences. The BBC has been piloting 3D series since 2011. Along with the Olympic Games, its 3D programs included several shows and other events, such as the Wimbledon Championships.

Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC's head of 3D, said the programs have not caught on because audiences find it a hassle to use. The network said among its final 3D trial programs this November will be a Doctor Who anniversary special.

About half of the 1.5 million homes in the UK with a 3D-enabled TV watched last summer's Olympics opening ceremony in 3D, but the BBC said only about 5 per cent of those viewers watched the Queen's Christmas Message and a popular children's drama, Mr Stink.

Worldwide, there's been little original 3D TV programming. Most of what has been produced has been sports and documentary programs, according to Paul O'Donovan, a principal analyst in Gartner's Consumer Electronics Research Group.

"Most of what was or is available on TV are 3D cinema movies. I don't follow the distribution of 3D content for TVs in detail. But there certainly wasn't a lot of it about, and even what there was, didn't seem to stimulate the public much," O'Donovan said. "The curious part of this story is that the 3D technology is pretty much standard in most CPUs used in TVs today."

O'Donovan believes manufacturers will eventually begin phasing out 3D technology because it's effectively a "Dodo" and doesn't offer a "realistic" experience.

"Even the glassless 3D TVs never really offered a realistic solution for the average consumer," he said. "There will probably be a temporary resurgence of 3D with the introduction of ultra-HD TVs, especially for the passive retarder folks, but basically -- as I have been saying for the last two years -- 3D is just a passing fad."

Passive retarder technology, used by LG, uses a thin film over the LCD screen that allows 3D viewing with cheap, passive polarized 3D glasses instead of expensive and heavier active shutter glasses.

Ultra-HD is apparently the future, especially when owners see their digital still photos on the higher-resolution TVs, O'Donovan said. Ultra HD resolution includes 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p), which have 4X and 8X the resolution of today's HD content, 1080p and 1080i (2.1 megapixels per frame).

"Aside from a few pockets of interest by consumers in some countries, 3D TV never really captured the imagination of consumers in the bigger TV markets," said Mike McGuire, a Gartner research vice president. "Personally, I believe it's because the technology doesn't particularly add a lot to the overall appreciation/enjoyment of a lot of programming."

McGuire noted that forcing viewers to wear glasses or sit in a specific spot (for the sets that don't require glasses) is an annoyance.

"If the actual experience was so staggeringly cool, if a baseball or football game, or a TV drama, took on new meaning and was much more enjoyable than standard TV, we'd all have 3D TVs and 3D TV content," he said. "I just don't think the 3D TV experience ever managed to blow the minds of enough people."

This article, The 3D TV fad is already be over, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Designing for a cashless society

More movement has been made toward a cashless society recently, and already we are starting to see enormous implications across our society.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Setting advertising objectives for financial performance

I’ll often be talking to clients and at some point say, ‘the most important thing is justifying price’. Then moments later, ‘the most important thing is increasing the size of your customer base’.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

5 common mistakes to avoid in scalable customer experience

CX is about future-proofing your business by ensuring that your commercial model is always looped into your customers' needs, perceptions, values, beliefs, motivators, and detractors.

Tom Uhlhorn

Founder and strategy director, Tiny CX

Promotion is difficult. You should be able to do it. Sometimes it turns out bad, and when you turn to professionals, it turns out well - ...

Jordan Samuil

Village Roadshow partners with Lion for pourage rights and promotional partnership

Read more

This is pure vomit material. Self congratulatory blurbs. No evidence of any innovation or actual value created. Most marketers have compl...

Bobbo

Announcing the CMO50 for 2018

Read more

Unfortunately, the title "AdTech Magic Quadrant" is misleading as it only represent a fraction of the ecosystem. It it is a useful docume...

Ludovic Leforestier

Report: Gartner recognises the best adtech players in Magic Quadrant

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Australian Open chalks up strong ticket sales with chatbot

Read more

Hello, where are the explanations of all the levels explained? I'd like to review this with a couple of colleagues. Thanks.

Melinda Gonzalez

CMO launches CMO CX, debuts customer experience maturity assessment

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in