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Ask Slashdot: Why Did 3D TVs and Stereoscopic 3D Television Broadcasting Fail? 435

dryriver writes: Just a few years ago the future seemed bright for 3D TVs. The 3D film Avatar smashed all box office records. Every Hollywood studio wanted to make big 3D films. The major TV set manufacturers from LG to Phillips to Panasonic all wanted in on the 3D TV action. A 3D disc format called Blu-ray 3D was agreed on. Sony went as far as putting free 3D TVs in popular pubs in London to show Brits how cool watching football ("Soccer" in the U.S.) in Stereo 3D is. Tens of millions of dollars of 3D TV related ads ran on TV stations across the world. 3D Televisions and 3D content was, simply put, the biggest show in town for a while as far as consumer electronics goes. Then the whole circus gradually collapsed -- 3D TVs failed to sell well and create the multi-billion dollar profits anticipated. 3D at home failed to catch on with consumers. Shooting genuine stereo 3D films (not "post conversions") proved to be expensive and technically challenging. Blu-ray 3D was only modestly successful. Even Nvidia's stereo 3D solutions for PC gamers failed. What, in your opinion, went wrong? Were early 3D TV sets too highly priced? Were there too few 3D films and 3D TV stations available to watch (aka "The Content Problem")? Did people hate wearing active/passive plastic 3D glasses in the living room? Was the price of Blu-ray 3D films and Blu-ray 3D players set too high? Was there something wrong with the stereo 3D effect the industry tried to popularize? Did too many people suffer 3D viewing related "headaches," "dizzyness," "eyesight problems," and similar? Was the then -- still quite new -- 1080p HD 2D television simply "good enough" for the average TV viewer? Another related question: If things went so wrong with 3D TVs, what guarantee is there that the new 3D VR/AR trend won't collapse along similar lines as well?
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Ask Slashdot: Why Did 3D TVs and Stereoscopic 3D Television Broadcasting Fail?

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  • Glasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ryanrule ( 1657199 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:46PM (#53613531)
    Glasses
    • Re:Glasses (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:54PM (#53613585)

      Not because glasses. It failed because it wasn't 3d. It had a fixed point of view. You couldn't look anywhere but where the camera was pointed. It a View-Master toy [wikipedia.org] with moving pictures.

      When 3D is really here, and you can look around the stage and behind characters and into car windows (and down blouses and up skirts, because really, porn drives everything), that's when it'll take off. Not before.

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        360 video is here if you have an Oculus Rift or Samsung VR Gear. You can get to watch 360 degree videos and interactive applications; travel through the solar system, walk on Mars, Pluto, dive through the clouds of Jupiter/Saturn, swim at the bottom of the ocean, a virtual shark cage, go inside a human brain or cell, a virtual forensic lab, plus a few games like Dreadhalls, Smash, virtual fishing, and other things.

        But the headsets are a bit heavy for long term use, and who wants to risk having a hot smartph

        • Same Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:06PM (#53613677)

          360 video is here if you have an Oculus Rift

          That has the same problem. It may be 360 but it's just 2D. I would say it's 3D only when each eye is at least delivered different perspectives, which NO 360 capture devices I am aware of today do... even then it would be from a very fixed point of view from which you could not shift.

          it's nice to be able to look around but it's only ever from a fixed point of view. If you could move even a few feet to either side and see something different, THAT would be full 3D 360 video.

          • They are '3d', but like you say, no head motion tracking and breaks badly if you tilt your head sideways.

            I appears that they have fisheye cameras that sit to either side of the person's head, distance between eyes is noticeably wrong. Sometimes makes your eyes cross trying to keep the tits in focus.

            3d movies/porn are however good enough to insure that Google cardboard (at least) will continue.

            • by mikael ( 484 )

              The Oculus Rift moves around as you tilt your head. But there are so many cables; USB, motion tracker, HDMI output. I found out that even a high-end gaming laptop won't be usable with this headset if it has Optimus technology on the GPU - this introduces a 15 millisecond time lag which is too much for VR/AR.

              Some of the 360 video players will let you use a Bluetooth game controller to pan the view. Important because some 360 videos are actually back to front. I once watched a Storm/Tornado chaser video only

            • They are '3d'

              Actually they are not, they are "fake" 3D in the same way that applies to "3D" films at the cinema. They may provide two distinct images for each eye but the images are always at a fixed distance. In real 3D when an object moves towards you your eyes have to adjust their focus as the object gets closer. In fake 3D the image is always the same distance away. This means that you have to override years of learning and force your eyes not to refocus. While you can do this for some people the strain generates a

          • That has the same problem. It may be 360 but it's just 2D. I would say it's 3D only when each eye is at least delivered different perspectives, which NO 360 capture devices I am aware of today do...

            In the Rift/Vive/Gear, each eye is delivered different perspectives. It is true 3D. I don't think there's a commercial off-the-shelf capture system for such video yet, but you can whip up a custom rig and take true stereoscopic 180/360 video. Now, current capture devices only work from a fixed perspective (so no head moving to look around objects, outside real-time CGI rendered scenes), but they actually demoed tech that allows you to move your head [youtube.com].

            • Just because the "screen" that is all around you is a 3D sphere, does not mean the video itself s 3D. You can not presented different views of the CONTENT of a video, if in the video a tree partially blocked your head you could not move to the side to see around - the bubble around your head would simply move.

      • The 3d quality was great but the 3d Avatar movie wouldn't play on my Sony 3d blue ray player.

        Content sucked. Interoperability sucked.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          On my 3D Sony TV, the glasses decided not to communicate via infrared deciding on wireless and flattening batteries in just a few hours, bloody expensive batteries. So pretty much 3D was a shit experience and just run as a marketing scam by the biggest pack of liars on the planet, content producers. It was pretty obvious it was bullshit and that TV was definitely not bought for 3D, it just came with smart TVs at that time.

          When it comes to glasses the only ones that will work, are compact custom fitted at

    • Content.

      I saw the new SW movie at a real IMAX (i.e. not re-branded) with 3D. It felt pretty much identical to watching on 2D. If that happens with Star Wars, imagine how much less useful it is to have the average movie be 3D. Also, 3D glasses aren't great for a movie on in the background.

      Although glasses too. 3D will happen a bit when it becomes easy to do without adding another peripheral. For example, watching movies on a VR or AR headset, there should obviously be a 3D option for movies that support it.

      • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:09PM (#53613699)

        I saw Rogue One in 3D, then in 2D. I preferred the 2D presentation primarily because it was brighter... the 3D did not add much value at all to me.

        I have 3D glasses and supported projector at home, but it really doesn't work - and I know what the hell I'm doing setup wise. So you can chalk pain of setup to the reasons why it is not more widespread.

        • the 3D did not add much value at all to me

          This, right here, is why THREE D is not much more than a novelty. Until we get actual holodecks ... there just isn't enough value added.

          • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:45PM (#53614007) Homepage

            Really, I think bringing up VR is a great point. If you wanted 3D, and were willing to put something on your head.... why wouldn't you go for VR rather than the TV, so you get full peripheral/360 vision that responds to you turning your head? Why get a TV and glasses? Yes, we all know that the lack of difference between what you see in the eyes, and the lack of it responding to head motion, etc - but that's a content problem, not a device problem. VR devices have the full capability to support a true 3D cinematic experience - but you can't purchase mainstream movies in such a format.

            If you have a TV that can provide stereoscopy without need for glasses, with viewer position/eye tracking and so forth, then it has a leg up on VR in that you don't have to wear a device (although lacks the peripheral/360 vision experience). But even in such a case, at least at present, you still don't have the content needed to feed such an experience.

            3D TV/cinema keeps failing because... it really just doesn't add that much to the experience when all you're providing is static-position stereoscopy. Why don't we enjoy it more? I don't know. But the evidence is pretty conclusive that the general public just doesn't get much more out of it than they do out of a simple 2d screen. We know from using VR in true 3D environments that VR can add a lot to an experience. But just feeding fixed-position views to each eye doesn't do the trick.

        • I saw it in 2d, but hated the way it's shot. Movies shot for 3d use a very narrow depth of field. It's necessary because you can only focus at one distance because the screen is a fixed distance away. It completely wrecks the staging and immersion for me because now you can only see the thing they want you to focus on.

        • 3D is a gimmick. It was never going to take off. Even if the 3D picture is bright and you can move around and look at different angles, it will still be a gimmick. I don't really care much about looking at different angles myself, you don't get that choice in live action theater either. It provides nothing substantial beyond a 2D picture, except for a lot of cost.

      • Content partially, glasses partially, but also home screen size. Stereoscopic needs to be on a huge screen. It works better in the theaters vs the 60 in or smaller home screens. With a big screen you feel a bit more 'in' the scene rather than looking at a tiny model world.
    • Re:Glasses (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:09PM (#53613701)

      Not just glasses, but COST of glasses.

      Around here, an extra pair of active glasses cost around 5-15% of the cost of the original TV set.. which back then was not cheap.
      You got one or two sets free, the rest were stupid prices.

      And they are of course easily broken, misplaced, etc..

      Glasses were bad, but EXPENSIVE glasses were much worse.
      If they wanted adoption so much, then they should have made the glasses nearly free - would have been cheaper than all the marketing efforts.

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        You could have opted for a passive 3D set. If I ever lose the glasses that came with mine (and I think it came with 4-6 pairs), I can just steal new ones from the local multiplex.

    • That and you can not just walk by and have something catch your interest and sit down. Gearing up is such a pain that a lot of bikers avoid helmets. If laziness will cause you to risk brain damage, 3D has no hope.
    • I agree that the glasses are the biggest barrier to entry. TV works because it requires no effort to watch, and can even be social. Glasses require effort and remove the social aspect. Really something like Ultra-D (http://www.ultra-d.com/) is needed to make 3D TV work, but they've been so slow to get their sets out and still have such a high price point.
    • I agree. The sole reason why I don't own a 3D TV is that you have to have special glasses. You can't just use any 3D glasses like you can in the theater. Even better would be if they could pull of 3D without glasses then it would really take off.
    • Were early 3D TV sets too highly priced? Were there too few 3D films and 3D TV stations available to watch (aka "The Content Problem")? Did people hate wearing active/passive plastic 3D glasses in the living room? Was the price of Blu-ray 3D films and Blu-ray 3D players set too high? Was there something wrong with the stereo 3D effect the industry tried to popularize? Did too many people suffer 3D viewing related "headaches," "dizzyness," "eyesight problems," and similar? Was the then -- still quite new -- 1080p HD 2D television simply "good enough" for the average TV viewer?

      Yes.

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:48PM (#53613535)

    3d fails once/generation.

    Basically because it sucks.

    It doesn't _have_ to suck, but directors are mostly morons.

    At least they didn't reissue Basekitball in 3d, ducks.

    • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:06PM (#53613673)
      It doesn't _have_ to suck,

      Yes, it does. The requirement that you focus in one plane on an image purporting to be in another is the problem. If you are young, it damages your ability to see properly, if you are old, and especially if you have had a job where estimating your position in space is important (driver, horse rider, athlete) then the mental stress is a killer (half hour exposure gives two day headache).

      The technology was doomed in the 50's, doomed in the 70's, and remains doomed.

      We bought a 3D TV, and now, four years later, no one has removed the glasses from the box they came in.

      The technology is completely doomed, for ever. Always has been, and always will be.

      • Don't forget that tilling your head to the side a little to crack your neck totally shatters the immersion...
      • Yes, it does.

        I'd ask you to watch Hugo -- perhaps the only movie I've ever seen that made 3D worth it and yet was understated about it. It didn't have the typical fan service gimmicks that most 3D content relies on.

        • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

          Hugo, Life of Pi, My Bloody Valentine (seriously -- bless it for treating the 3D like what it is, a gimmick), Great Gatsby ... there have been a fair handful of movies that got the 3D right.

          But only a handful. I'd say the majority of recent 3D blockbusters are just as enjoyable in 2D -- and depending on your frame of mind, even more so.

      • by JoeDuncan ( 874519 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:18PM (#53613787)
        ^^This.

        When your stereoscopic vision converges at one point, and your monocular vision focuses at a different point entirely, your body tends to make the reasonable assumption that you've been poisoned, because NOPE.
        • You are basically suggesting that the Uncanny Valley has a 3D component to it. I would agree.

          • ??? Not at all.

            The Uncanny Valley has mostly to do with nearly perfect visual representations pushing our expectations for other aspects of a given simulation (e.g. body language, facial expressions etc...) beyond what we are able to produce. The discrepancy between the two then exacerbates our perception that "something is off"

            The Uncanny Valley is mostly mental/perceptual and has virtually nothing to do with our currently crappy implementation of 3D film/TV. The issues there are mostly physiological (e.g

      • This could possibly be worked around using a depth-of-field encoding/display technology similar to what Lytro does, tied to a sensor that somehow monitors the eye's lens to continually determine the eye's focal length, and adjusting the image(s) accordingly. I don't see something like that happening any time soon, but I wouldn't say it's impossible.
      • If you are old, your eyes are, more or less, fixed focus. It is a problem, but at least for gaming and VR, you get used to it.

      • Very few have the native depth perception required for it to work without a headache. The TVs were over priced and the content will next to nil. Add Hollywood's control fetish and it was killed early.

        • by skids ( 119237 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @09:37PM (#53614559) Homepage

          Of a dozen or so middle-aged friends, only one has any problem watching 3D. Surveys seem to say only 14% of the population has this problem.

          This round of 3-D had a few suckage points... I wouldn't blame any single one but they add up as to why it really "failed":

          1) Too many competing standards for glasses, most glasses not fully tunable and many statically tuned for a specific model of TV. Use of crappy IR instead of RF... one well standardized Bluetooth broadcast frame was all they needed to do, but they didn't.

          2) Glasses bulkier than necessary. Few good options for clip-ons to prescription glasses.

          3) No minimum standard on pixel refresh rate... lots of low-quality ghosty sets. Would have been better timed to come out when DLP sets were not a waning market.

          4) Failure of console game industry to utilize side benefits (even on PS3, next to no SimulView support)

          5) Failure of TV/glasses manufacturers to do the same (two shows one set/earphones)

          6) Failure of cable operators to integrate 3D content on normal channels rather than premium
          dedicated channels or the free 3D demo channel broadcasting the same nature scenes over
          and over.

          7) Failure of online services to make 2d and 3d the same digital product so you didn't have to
          choose.

          8) Segregation of sensitive audience members... even to this day, theaters do not seem to offer
          2D glasses so a party with one sensitive person can go to a 3D film. ... you'll notice the lack of "true 3d" where you can "change your perspective" does not make my list. I literally know nobody who actually minded the "viewmaster" effect... just seems to be some very noisy individuals here on this thread.

    • At least they didn't reissue Basekitball in 3d, ducks.

      YET. There is this time.

  • Generally awful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:50PM (#53613547)

    3D is a generally awful experience for most people. It's disorienting, uncomfortable, and doesn't look good for about 99% of the events that took the effort to record in 3D. It was also insanely expensive for a gimmick. It's the same gimmick that has been recurring every 20 or 30 years since the 50s. It still doesn't look any better than it did when it was first introduced. And, as has already been mentioned, having to wear glasses to watch tv sucks. For those that already wear glasses it double sucks.

    • As someone who wears glasses... 3D annoys me a lot. You have to wear these crappy glasses over your glasses and because they weren't ever meant to be worn over other glasses they don't fit right. It annoys me in theaters, I don't even want to think about that at home. Some TVs did tricks to do 3D without the glasses, but those tend to have very limited viewing angles.

    • It's disorienting, uncomfortable, and doesn't look good for about 99% of the events that took the effort to record in 3D.

      And then on top of that, a lot of theaters cheap out on the system and only have a single bulb illuminating both frames, so it ends up being dark as hell.
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:50PM (#53613549)

    Good for movies timing. But not for full time viewing.

    For some people 3d can be headache-inducing but I think most can be fine with an 1-2.5 hour movie.

  • Multitasking (Score:2, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 )

    Because we're a multitasking generation. The need to wear special equipment to watch TV, then to take it off to check messages on a phone, then put in on again, then take it off to go to a quick piss break during commercials then back on again to go back to the show... Plus, the need for the piece of equipment per person. Plus the amount of media that is more passively consumed vs active (think having a TV show running in the background while doing house chores).

    Seriously, 3D missed the mark on pretty much

    • Because we're a multitasking generation. The need to wear special equipment to watch TV, then to take it off to check messages on a phone, then put in on again, then take it off to go to a quick piss break during commercials then back on again to go back to the show...

      If I'm checking messages / emails / whatnots while watching a movie or tv program, the movie or program has failed.

      That said, for me, 3-D failed because gimmick, because glassess because it doesn't really add anything more to live-action material.

      The good thing: Learning stereoscopic production has led to much more realistic foreground-background interaction in animated material. This is especially noticable when comparing pre-3D Pixar works with post 3D works. Brave, in particular, shows this very well.

      • You're really going to watch 3d commercials?

        While commercials do work, they rely on a tiny fraction of the viewing audience noticing what was advertised. Nobody is fascinated by commercials' content; nobody is going to keep their 3d glasses on when the commercials come on; and no advertiser is going to shoot 3d commercials. Except as a gimmick.

        Doing other stuff during commercials is only sensible.

  • 1. The stupid glasses, which make the image dim and give you a headache. 2. It is not 3D - it adds depth, but that is it. Unlike real 3D, you change your position and the image does not change. It was a silly gimmick in the 50s, it is a silly gimmick now. Let's wait for real, holographic 3D as in Star Wars.
    • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

      You nailed it on the head. 3D works for games because the game is just for you, and the scene changes as you move around. Of course you could give everyone Occulus Rifts or the equivalent, but watching TV is something of a casual, social activity for most people. They want to be able to see each other, and the bowl of peanuts, or see what the dog is up to and so forth.

  • Why Did 3D TVs and Stereoscopic 3D Television Broadcasting Fail?

    Because it was expensive...

    Because it required goofy glasses...

    Because the vast majority of TV watching won't benefit from 3-D imaging...

    Because 3-D content was rare...

    Because the various formats were incompatible...

    Because it was a solution in search of a problem?

  • For me it comes down to story. If the story I am watching (or playing) is good it doesn't need any gimmicks.

    While the high res graphics or 3D experience is cool once in a while it gets old fast if the story sucks.

  • VR/AR is different because it's interactive. You move and what you see changes like would be expected in real life.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:57PM (#53613605) Homepage
    What do you mean the future looked bright? And then go on to point out how it failed spectacularly.

    The future was HYPED. But it was not bright. It only seemed that way because of the hype.

    Nobody wanted it then. Nobody wants it now.

    If you make a big budget popular movie in 3D then the 3D will ride the coattails of the movie's success.

    3D doesn't contribute enough improvement to the story telling experience to be worth the trouble of the glasses. I would dare say for most movies 3D contributes exactly NOTHING to the story experience.

    Maybe a better business model for theatres: try making 3D movies cheaper so that people have to pay a premium to avoid 3D. Let's see how that works out for you. :-)
    • Disney has several new animations - "Moana" for example - that are spectacular in 3D.

      • by suutar ( 1860506 )

        I find that plausible; Disney (for all its behind-the-scenes warts) is detail-oriented enough about customer-visible areas to put in the effort to do it well. I'll have to try that out. Thanks!

    • Just because a bunch of people in marketing said it was the "next big thing" does not make it true. 3D has been around for longer than I have worked with computers and it's never been a "big" thing even though we periodically go through the hype and marketing claims.

      There are numerous reasons why it's a niche market and will remain a niche market. Off the top of my head, little is gained by 3D compared to the costs and negative side effects. Too much depth and people are in discomfort, too little and the

    • Regardless of the technology behind it and their inherent limitations/problems. The content pushed though them is generally just a bunch of 3-dimensional pies thrown in your face. It doesn't provide value, it isn't employed to immerse you, it's just an add-on gimmick to grab a 3D tax from the audience. I suspect that to do it right would exclude the standard 2D version. I doubt anyone was willing to dare try that.
  • The Average Viewer (Score:4, Informative)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:00PM (#53613617) Homepage Journal

    Was the then -- still quite new -- 1080p HD 2D television simply "good enough" for the average TV viewer?

    Short answer - yes.

    Longer answer - For "most" people when they first came out, 1080p was simply a bigger picture and they never even choose HD channels when available... I had several relatives that bought rear-projection HD TVs then simply watched standard definition TV on a bigger screen.

    • Lots of old folks no longer have HD eyes. Also, for those of us that watched SD for decades, our brains have, to an extent, been 'programmed' to ignore the grain. That goes away, but at first it was noticeable. Likely was worse for those who didn't use high resolution computer displays for years before HD TVs.

      • Lots of old folks no longer have HD eyes.

        The vast majority will see the limitations of 1080 instantly by displaying text, e.g., a web page. Even for movies, intentionally low-frequency in both time and spatial domain, it is just a question of how close you are to the display. As soon as you get close enough to notice the annoying dither patterns, you can't unsee them. Same thing for bigger displays, and everybody is getting bigger displays as the cost continues to fall. So safe bet: what the industry missed out on in 3D adoption, it will make up i

  • Because it sucks? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:01PM (#53613633)

    Fuck 3D. When they were showing 3D in theaters, I preferred 2D. Even if they had made 3D cheaper than 2D, I'd still prefer 2D.

    1. I wear glasses.
    2. Wearing 3D glasses over glasses is fucking retarded.
    3. Having to swivel my head back and forth to see the screen is retarded.
    4. Paying a premium to watch something in 3D is retarded.
    5. Reasons: Retarded.

  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DivineKnight ( 3763507 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:04PM (#53613653)

    Because in movies like 'Avatar', the 3D is done well. In some other movies, it's a cheap parlor trick ("Let's have something jump out at them, that's worth the 3D tax for this movie"). And in other movies, it's obvious the director doesn't care / doesn't know how to make use of the 3D element: I guess they just film in 3D, keep the existing Z-axis values, and hit upload ("What is the foreground, what is the background, should my actors / characters have very flat Z-values or should I try to 'HDR' that, highlighting what's really impressive").

    No capes.
    No 3D jump-out scare scenes.

  • Requirements (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:09PM (#53613697)

    3D theatrical releases still do OK, but not TVs. That's because for 3D to work properly, the screen needs to eat up a large portion of your view field. That's easy to do in a theater. At home you'd need a gigantic multi-thousand dollar TV gobbling up a big chunk of your living room to get the same effect.

    3D on a small screen looks like stuff is popping out of a box at you, instead of immersing you in the image.

  • by kenj123 ( 658721 )
    cat videos are the new porn
  • Physics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:10PM (#53613715) Journal
    Price isn't the issue, many TVs come with free 3D or the glasses are very cheap, and this was true even with the early sets. And I never noticed that 3D Blurays were that much more expensive than the regular ones. Content is something of an issue, as it takes effort and know-how to do 3D well. Cameron got it right in Avatar (but also Sanctum), few others really get it right, but if you like 3D movies the content is there. Lastly, the headaches and dizziness seem to affect a relatively small group of people only. None of that is what's stopped 3D TV from becoming a hit.

    It's simple physics what stopped it. Look up "depth budget". This is the maximum distance that content can stick out in front of the screen or go behind it, and it is directly proportional to viewing distance. You may have been blown away by the 3D world of Avatar in the cinema, but sadly you will never recreate the same immersion at home with a 3D set, even if you get a huge TV and sit so close to it that it covers the same part of your field of view as a cinema screen does. Because of the puny depth budget.

    The good news is that VR doesn't have this shortcoming. And it adds another level of realism that shouldn't be underestimated: the ability to look around in the scene. Provided that cinematographers are willing to deal with the added complexity, VR movies will provide a new level of immersion. Same as in certain types of games (shooters, MMORPGs, etc): 3D didn't add enough to make it worthwhile bothering, but VR probably will... for people who won't mind wearing a VR helmet for hours on end, of which there are plenty. 3D TV was destined to fail, but I bet VR will be viable when affordable, high quality VR helmets will hit the market, with reliable head tracking (and hand tracking for games), and high definition displays that provide a wide field of view.

    By the way, please don't lump VR and AR together like that, they may seem similar but they are two very different things, in terms of both technology and application. And AR has nothing to do with 3D TV.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:10PM (#53613721) Journal

    Were early 3D TV sets too highly priced?
    - Yes, WAY overpriced for the perceived value to anyone but marketeers.

    Were there too few 3D films and 3D TV stations available to watch (aka "The Content Problem")?
    - No, because nobody cared about the 'feature'

    Did people hate wearing active/passive plastic 3D glasses in the living room?
    - I'm not sure many people even GOT to this point, but that was certainly the kiss of death.

    Was the price of Blu-ray 3D films and Blu-ray 3D players set too high?
    - didn't even hit the radar by this point

    Was there something wrong with the stereo 3D effect the industry tried to popularize?
    - yes, that nobody wanted it and the industry INSISTED IT WAS THE GREATEST THING EVER.

    Did too many people suffer 3D viewing related "headaches," "dizzyness," "eyesight problems," and similar?
    - Again, didn't even tickle the needle - the so-called consumer had lost interest for several reasons before this step.

    Was the then -- still quite new -- 1080p HD 2D television simply "good enough" for the average TV viewer?
    - Yes, and largely still is. 4k only sells when the upcharge is nearly insignificant.

    Another related question: If things went so wrong with 3D TVs, what guarantee is there that the new 3D VR/AR trend won't collapse along similar lines as well?
    - None. I expect it will tank almost completely. cf: Internet of Things.

    Oddly enough, consumers are starting to understand that they don't need shit simply because some website, magazine, or tv show says they do.

  • At least for me, the problem was the studios who pushed tons of post-production garbage as though it were real 3D. After Avatar, I shelled out the extra $4 a ticket to see a couple other movies in 3D, but it ended up being actually being only being a scene or two done in post-production, and it added nothing to the movies. Thay was the end of that! If a movie comes out that is shot in 3D and it really enhances the experience, I'm in, but if it's a cheaply executed gimmick to charge me more, no thanks.
  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:13PM (#53613745)

    My 3D TV works fine. So does my viewmaster. What failed? I enjoy good stereoscopy when I have the time. Bad stereoscopy always sucks. If the TV industry had greater expectations for what 3D was supposed to do for them then what they got out of it, shame on them. They sold me a TV and a copy of Hugo. I'm happy with it. If the TV or movie industry's not happy with it, they are expecting too much. You know...this reminds me of the "failure" of music games. It's like if something can't be turned into a perpetual motion machine cash cow mashup, it's a "failure". Let's just keep making 3D glasses an option, and move on.

  • ... because it was a silly gimmick invented by marketers to get people to stop pirating TV; but which never really worked properly, was too inconvenient to use and nobody actually wanted in the first place?
  • I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:17PM (#53613773)

    I disagree with most of the comments so far.

    I've got two 3D TVs that use passive glasses, and I like them. When it seemed like every movie was coming out in 3D, I went to 3 or 4 of them over almost as many years and kept the glasses, so I've got a good stock. I can wear them while I'm doing other things and still see other screens just fine. With a 3D program in the background, it can take a second or two for your brain to switch back into artificial 3D mode, but that's not too bad.

    Price wasn't a big deal. On one of the TVs, I went searching for a TV with specific features that I wanted, and 3D came along for the ride. The TV was maybe $30 more than a crappy one of similar size.

    Content is poor. And not just selection. Tron Legacy is beautiful in 3D and has a great soundtrack, but the movie is just awful. And sadly, there are plenty others like it.

    The killer app for 3D TV though, should have been sports. The Canadians did a 3D broadcast of a hockey game at least once, and it is amazing. It has to be seen to be believed. I play that game for skeptics now and then, and they get really, really excited about 3D TV. But then they deflate when the realize that nothing is ever broadcast in 3D, and specifically nothing in the sport they like (whatever that is).

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:18PM (#53613785)

    I know it's got vision in the name. I know we watch it. But still, good tv is more audio than video.

    Think about it. You can be watching tv, turn up the sound, and go to the bathroom. You can cook dinner. You can talk to friends. You can eat chicken wings and chips and drink beer. All while the tv is on in the background.

    But, mute the audio, and there's very little that you can watch at all. Sure, sports work, but anything else?

    The initial attraction was the novelty, as always. Focus on it, and it's great. But when was the last time that you sat down to watch tvision, and stayed focused on the picture? Even when I'm doing nothing else, I'm lying down on the couch, resting my eyes.

    As for movies in the theatre, I barely notice the 3D at all anymore -- which is way better than the original dizziness of yore. I can't say that 3D is any better than 2D for any of the entertainment value of it all.

    So really, it comes down to just how little 3D adds. Audio vs silent is a huge difference. Video vs radio is a huge difference. 2D vs fake 3D (you still can't see what's behind the car) adds absolutely nothing that my imagination wasn't already doing.

    So, it doesn't convey any artistic expression. Movies beat books because I can see what the author wants me to see, which makes in his expression as opposed to my imagination. 3D adds absolutely nothing new.

  • First - as has been pointed out repeatedly already - you need to wear special glasses. Even if those glasses look like any other pair of horn-rimmed glasses, they're still not quite comfortable for those of us who don't regularly wear glasses - and an impediment for those who do. In either event, uncomfortable and only slightly less embarrassing than wearing Google Glass.

    Second - as has been pointed out repeatedly already - most people using the current state of the art in 3D viewing can only handle limi

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:23PM (#53613823)

    ... don't give a shit about the media form.

  • "A gimmick is a novel device or idea designed primarily to attract attention or increase appeal, often with little intrinsic value.[1][2] It is a unique or quirky feature designed to make a product or service "stand out" from its competitors. Product gimmicks are sometimes considered mere novelties, and tangential to the product's functioning. Gimmicks are occasionally viewed negatively, but some seemingly trivial gimmicks of the past have evolved into useful, permanent features." wikipedia https://en.wikip [wikipedia.org]
  • 1) Pornography. Make it good enough quality to jerk off. The Porn industry is dying from home made crap, but good 3d Porn could revive it, especially if making it requires more expensive equiptment than a broker college girl can afford. Expense would be a positive, not a negative.

    That said, you also need:

    2) No glasses. Can't limit the number of people that can view nor can you give them something that can be lost/break. Especially if your 'hands are busy.

    3) Minimum of 180. No requiring people to w

  • Along with a large percentage of people. Next question please.
  • The real problem was timing. They pushed hard to release 3D shortly after the majority of people had just bought an expensive new LCD tv that didn't have support for 3D. When tv's are on the order of ~$1000, its not worth dropping a tv thats only a year or two old for a new one just to get 3D. Then, they didn't wait long enough for attrition to kick in before deciding 3D wasn't desired by the population and dropping it. They were totally wrong in the assumption. I do want 3D. The feature all by itself is no
  • Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Anyone else here old enough to remember quad stereo back in the 70's?
    Back then speakers were huge, heavy and expensive. I could hardly afford 2 speakers and they wanted me to buy 4? Not to mention the overpriced quadraphonic media like vinyl discs and 8 track tapes.
    People finally realized they only had 2 ears and it wasn't worth the cost.
    • LOL!

      So I'm imagining the fact that 5.1 sound is basically the standard for home audio now?

    • Quad died because it was so expensive to produce. Very little content was produced.

      BTW Alan Parsons personally released the master tape, quad versions of the Dark Side and Animals (all of the Floyd, not sure which ones that was). To displace the crappy reconstructions/recordings of 8 track/vinyl that were floating around.

  • Just as hype, just as fail, for much the same reasons.

  • It's overpriced, a substandard experience and no 'must have' application...

    Oh, and eye strain.

  • If you bought a nice 55" or larger 3D TV with decent glasses then it was actually really good and worth it for some movies.
    The problem was there were too many smaller TVs with inferior glasses that made the experience not so great. Which do you think the majority of consumers purchased? Combine this with way too many movies that were filmed in 2D then re-rendered in fake 3D.

  • The problem is that it's not "really" 3D, it relies on visual illusion and tricking your brain which we don't really fully understand yet. And the technology that "stitches" the images together is still lacking causing things like eye strain, fatigue and headaches.

    The other problem is that manufacturers were playing number games just to get the "best" display. Displays went from specifying 30Hz to 240Hz overnight without any real breakthrough in the technology. That is they stopped measuring black-white-bla

  • it doesn't make the everyday experience any better. More specifically, nobody stops watching TV or complains that a TV looks flat and the picture is not believable. Good media is based on good story. How would 3D make Fargo better? To Kill a Mockingbird? NewsHour? Modern Family? The Sopranos? Answer: it wouldn't. As for sports, you do not see the action with any noticeable parallax changes unless you are on the field, and you rarely see a shot that close in play, typically only via the sidelines
  • We use a lot of visual cues to determine the distance to an object [wikipedia.org].

    Fixed point stereoscopic vision adds very, very little to our sense of depth at considerable overhead (glasses, reduced brightness, lower frame rate) and with some people finding the mismatch between individual image and eye position actually detracts from the sense of 'realism'.

    Like any new film technique it's in the 'novelty' stage and suffers from over-use and a lack of audience familiarity (so that it can be ignored and become just one m

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