The Real Reasons The 3D TV Was A Failure

The arrival of 3D TV technology was a huge novelty at the time, but in the end, it fell short of widespread success. There were many contributing factors to this failure, which in 2017 resulted in these TVs no longer being produced by any company. This downfall started in 2014 when Vizio ended the production of its 3D TVs following a decline in sales. In 2017, the last two companies that were still making 3D TVs, Sony and LG, decided to finally pull out, as reported by CNET.

3D technology was at its height in 2009 with the release of the movie "Avatar," to this day the highest-grossing film in history at $2,847,246,203 worldwide, as shown on Box Office Mojo. The theatrical launch included the option to watch a 3D version of the film, and at that time the popularity of this format was soaring. However, many criticized 3D movies as a fad, which also became the case for 3D TVs. In 2010, 3D TVs were on the rise, piggybacking on the success of 3D movies. This was also a time, though, when people were beginning to upgrade to HD TVs, and most people didn't want to shell out more money for their 3D counterparts. This, combined with the fact that 3D TV was inherently impractical because every viewer needed their own special set of glasses, made for a swift demise.  

Reasons 3D TVs failed

One of the biggest issues that came with 3D TVs is the fact that you needed glasses to view the TV. Now, on the surface, this may seem simply like an inconvenient hurdle, but it was actually much more complex. 3D TV producers would use one of two different types of 3D glasses for their TVs, one featuring active shutter lenses and the other using passive lenses (via RTings). In the beginning, most 3D TVs used active shutter glasses, which worked by shuttering the right or left lenses respectively at a very high speed to create the illusion of 3D. 

These glasses were uncomfortable, expensive, and laden with technical issues at the outset, driving potential consumers away, as explained by Digital Trends. Eventually, when 3D TV sets embraced passive lens glasses, many consumers were already uninterested. The kicker was that you couldn't watch 3D TVs made for active shutter lenses with passive lenses, and vice versa.

Another huge detractor to 3D TVs was that they just couldn't compare to the 3D experience of the big screen. 3D TVs were simply too small to effectively recreate the illusion, causing many viewers to quickly feel underwhelmed. Considering how costly it was to buy a 3D TV, glasses that would work with it, as well as 3D-enabled Blu-Ray players to actually watch 3D movies, it just wasn't worth the investment for such a sub-par effect.