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Television Movies Software Sony Entertainment Hardware Technology

3D TV Is Dead (cnet.com) 399

While Samsung dropped 3D support in 2016, LG and Sony -- the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs -- will stop doing so in 2017. None of their TVs, including the high-end OLED TV models, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows. As a result, 3D TV is dead. The question is no longer when (or even why) 3D TVs will become obsolete, it's will 3D TVs ever rise again? CNET reports: The 3D feature has been offered on select televisions since 2010, when the theatrical success of "Avatar" in 3D helped encourage renewed interest in the technology. In addition to a 3D-capable TV, it requires specialized glasses for each viewer and the 3D version of a TV show or movie -- although some TVs also offer a simulated 3D effect mode. Despite enthusiasm at the box office and years of 3D TVs being available at affordable prices, the technology never really caught on at home. DirecTV canceled its 24/7 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN followed suit a year later. There are plenty of 3D Blu-ray discs still being released, such as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but if you want to watch them at home you'll need a TV from 2016 or earlier -- or a home theater projector. Those market trends are clear: Sales of 3D home video gear have declined every year since 2012. According to data from the NPD Group, 3D TV represents just 8 percent of total TV sales dollars for the full year of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2015 and 23 percent in 2012. Native 3D-capable Blu-ray players fell to just 11 percent of the market in 2016, compared to 25 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2012. As for whether or not 3D TVs will ever become popular again, David Katzmaier writes via CNET, based on his own "anecdotal experience as a TV reviewer": Over the years, the one thing most people told me about the 3D feature on their televisions was that they never used it. Sure, some people occasionally enjoyed a 3D movie on Blu-ray, but the majority of people I talked to tried it once or twice, maybe, then never picked up the glasses again. I don't think most viewers will miss 3D. I have never awarded points in my reviews for the feature, and 3D performance (which I stopped testing in 2016) has never figured into my ratings. I've had a 3D TV at home since 2011 and I've only used the feature a couple of times, mainly in brief demos to friends and family. Over the 2016 holiday break I offered my family the choice to watch "The Force Awakens" in 2D or 3D, and (after I reminded everyone they had to wear the glasses) 2D was the unanimous choice. But some viewers will be sad to see the feature go. There's even a change.org petition for LG to bring back the feature, which currently stands at 3,981 supporters. Of course 3D TV could come back to life, but I'd be surprised if it happened before TV makers perfect a way to watch it without glasses.
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3D TV Is Dead

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  • Oh god, I put my life savings into Facebook stock after they bought Oculus! And now Zuck is getting sued and acting like a dick in Hawaii. Oculus is my last hope! I *need* this, man!

    • by Kremmy ( 793693 )
      You're fine. VR isn't going anywhere. Still waiting on Zenimax to produce anything that even hints that they were interested in VR *at all* before John Carmack left to develop it elsewhere. They're claiming that Palmer Luckey couldn't have built a functioning HMD without Carmack when one of his prototypes had been used in a room scale VR demonstration months before Carmack even got involved. It's all pretty silly.
      Also I find it really amusing that Zenimax is so insistence that Oculus couldn't have built a
    • Proper VR has full motion real-time head and hand tracking. It's like you're really there. It's light years ahead of what was available the last time consumer VR was around. [youtube.com]
      • I guess my point, which I forgot to add, is that it's sticking around.... unless the high-resolution lcd panels become too expensive during a trade war or something.
  • 3D TV is dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @10:36PM (#53700873)
    Was it ever really alive?
    • Was it ever really alive?

      No. The cinemas started showing lots of blockbuster 3D screens and the occasional 2D. They quickly switched to the other way around when all the customers thought "screw wearing stupid glasses" and went for the 2D.

      That was before 3D TV got going. So it was dead before it started.

    • I wonder how many people on here will come out and apologise for being wrong when they claimed people like myself were morons and dinosaurs for predicting it would pass as fad within a few years as too would 3D movies in cinemas
    • 3D TV is dead

      Hmm mine is still working.

      • Hmm mine is still working.

        So is ours.

        Well, I should qualify that... I have no idea if the 3-D functionality is working. I don't really know if it ever worked. We bought an LG 3-D television several years ago because they were artificially trying to force 3-D adoption by restricting which features/functionality they'd include in non-3-D sets. So their best 2-D television was a 3-D television, and the price difference was only $50 - so that's what we got.

        We even received four pairs of 3-D glasses for free. I can see the dust-covered,

        • You can find a few 3D blu-ray movies, like Avatar and some "anime". The 3D works surprisingly well (a bit of eye strain though). Offer is tiny, that's the real problem.
    • Porn is needed to save 3D TV

  • ...And it's all because of Tron: Legacy.
  • 3D was a thing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @10:41PM (#53700911)

    As for whether or not 3D TVs will ever become popular again

    From where I sit 3D was a nonstarter. Why? The glasses. I paid something like $2500 to get my eyeballs lasered so I didn't have to wear glasses anymore. So a new TV standard comes along that requires me to wear glasses? Non-fucking-starter.

    • I paid something like $2500 to get my eyeballs lasered so I didn't have to wear glasses anymore.

      I'm going to take a guess that you paid that money due to either a) you didn't like the look of glasses on your face, or b) you got sick of wearing them all the time.
      Neither of which really come into play when we're talking about a movie.

      Heck your entire comment: "I got corrective surgery so I don't need to wear corrective lenses, therefore I never want to wear something that adds a feature" is truly a bizarre train of thought.

      I bought a car so I could drive to work, why should I go ice skating!

      • Or maybe he finds glasses uncomfortable? I know I do.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        I am going to throw in with the parent here. When I watch TV I want to be comfortable and relax. Glasses don't maximize comfort, and in fact kinda suck a lot if you decide to stretch out on the sofa and need to lay on your side to face the TV. Pillows and glasses are basically incompatible.

        If I have to wear glasses to watch something, I am going to watch something else

  • 3DTV is dying (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2017 @10:43PM (#53700923)

    It is now official. Netcraft has confirmed: 3DTV is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered 3DTV community when IDC confirmed that 3DTV market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that 3DTV has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. 3DTV is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

    You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict 3DTV's future. The hand writing is on the wall: 3DTV faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for 3DTV because 3DTV is dying. Things are looking very bad for 3DTV. As many of us are already aware, 3DTV continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    Free3DTV is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Free3DTV developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Free3DTV is dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    Open3DTV leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of Open3DTV. How many users of Net3DTV are there? Let's see. The number of Open3DTV versus Net3DTV posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Net3DTV users. 3DTV/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Net3DTV posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of 3DTV/OS. A recent article put Free3DTV at about 80 percent of the 3DTV market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Free3DTV users. This is consistent with the number of Free3DTV Usenet posts.

    Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, Free3DTV went out of business and was taken over by 3DTVI who sell another troubled OS. Now 3DTVI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

    All major surveys show that 3DTV has steadily declined in market share. 3DTV is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If 3DTV is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. 3DTV continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, 3DTV is dead.

    Fact: 3DTV is dying.

  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @10:45PM (#53700937)

    3D is for nerds. I've always loved it, since my first cyan/magenta poster from a cereal box when I was a little kid. If you can't take the glasses, you don't get to watch. I've enjoyed the 3D Blurays and I'm sure I'm far from alone in my intention to continue to use the format as it turns retro. Seeya, everyone who thought this was going to bring football holograms into your living room.

  • by inflex ( 123318 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @10:51PM (#53700969) Homepage Journal

    It's no great surprise 3D TV died, while it was arguably better than the older red/blue system it still was a long shot at best; still at least it probably helped push along other developments during the cash splurge.

    What however is looking to stick around and become more popular is the '360 degree' vision videos.

    Perhaps if 3D rises again, they might just go straight for the neural implant - we'll see in another 25~30 years I suppose.

  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @11:13PM (#53701081)

    What enthusiasm? The fact that when all your showings are in 3D people reluctantly choose it over the 2D showing that you aren't even offering? Sure, that's enthusiasm....

    3D is failing because nobody wanted it in the first place. They never wanted it at home, and they still don't want it in theatres. The only reason 3D sells is the lack of alternatives. For several years you almost couldn't buy a TV without it. That wasn't proof that people wanted it, it was proof that people were still buying TVs. My local theatre takes big name releases and does one 2D showing on a weekday at 2pm and 5 3D showings a night, people aren't "choosing 3D" they're trying to watch the movie.

    I have in the past, and will continue to in the future, drive across town to find a 2D showing of a movie instead of being forced to watch in 3D.

    • implementing 3d is virtually free.

      off/even frames synced to glasses, thats $1 tech.

      I am sure you could retro fit a PC HDMI output with software on non-3d tvs at 100hz, and if synced to glasses by the PC would work fine as 3d, on NON 3D tvs.

      The other format is polarized glasses, which just requires a thin $5 filter on top + software to filter frames to odd/even lines.

  • ... one, there was no requirement to wear glasses, and two, no matter where you are viewing it from, you would see it as it would naturally be seen from that angle if the things depicted in the scene were real and solid objects in the space that they seem to be in. Each of your eyes, by virtue of seeing the image from a slightly different angle, would cause your brain to perceive a 3 dimensional image automatically, exactly as you perceive the real physical world around you.

    The only way to do this that I know of is with holograms, but seeing a full color holographic display at any time in the near future seems unlikely.

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @11:17PM (#53701103)

    >"But some viewers will be sad to see the feature go."

    That would be me. I am glad my Samsung TV supports 3D (I had to jump to a higher end/significantly more expensive 7100 series model to get it in August of 2015 because the feature was disappearing on most models). I enjoy watching the occasional 3D Bluray movie. In fact, the only Blurays I own are 3D and I would buy more if more were made (and were decently mastered).

    3D shot/rendered correctly does add to the enjoyment of a film for many people. But, sadly, too much poorly shot 3D was released and helped to ruin the market.

    • Dido. I'm dreading the day my family's 3D TVs die. We also only buy movies when they're 3D, everything else is Netflix. My mother enjoyed my 3D TV so much, I set her up with a 3D TV and surround sound in her bedroom so she could have her own private theater like experience. She loves it.

      3D is like any other aspect of media, having it done right enhances the experience. No-one wants color, if everything is over saturated, or off hue. Surround sound is pointless, if it's used incorrectly. Etc. etc. Poor media

  • I'll let you in on a secret... people (as in the vast majority) don't want 3D in theaters either. The reason it's there is because it's an excuse for even higher ticket prices. Raise your hand if you actually believe people would not see a movie because it wasn't showing in 3D. Anyone? Would you? Would you walk into a theater, and find out that the movie was not playing in 3D, and turn around and leave? Checking my local cinema's showings for tomorrow (it has 8 screens), there is only one movie being

    • There is a positive note to all the 3D movie bullshit....it makes second run theaters like my local lovingly restored early 1930s movie house VERY popular as they only show movies in 2D. You go by my local Cinema 8 and there is just a trickle of cars for any of the "popcorn flcks" and family movies but the second they hit the old theater? Its fricking packed with lines going around the building to get in.

      I can't say as I blame 'em as I decided to run my own little experiment and watch Iron Man 3 in both 3

      • 3d only hurts lower life forms, never hurts my brain.

        im a more advanced model.

        i prefer the 3d version, 2d sucks ass

  • by iliketrash ( 624051 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @11:26PM (#53701123)

    I think one reason 3D TV never caught on is that the screens generally were not large enough. There is a problem with a finite screen when objects appear near the left or right edges and relatively close to the viewer: the required binocular disparity is such that the image in one eye goes black (blank), leaving the image in only one eye. This is very uncomfortable, even if it happens for a brief instant. The screen needs to be large enough for the left and right edges to be nearly out of ones peripheral vision so that then one eye goes blank it is less noticeable. Most movie theater screens are large enough. But still, the director needs to be aware of this problem and be careful not to place up-close images near the edges of the screen. I think James Cameron knew this in making Avatar. I'm sure that Martin Scorsese did not know this when he made Hugo, as this happens many times during that movie. With TV, especially live action sports, I suspect that this might be hard to control.

    Of course, the other problem is the disparate needs for the viewer to focus at one distance (the screen) and cross the eyes at another distance (the object). Most people adapt to this nearly instantly but I suppose even they find it a little fatiguing.

    • I disagree, the problem with 3D is that you are not allowed to focus your eyes anywhere you want in the 3D landscape presented to you. If the depth of field in a scene is substantial, the director will have decided for you what is in focus and what is out of focus. This is not how our eyes are used to work; they appreciate their autonomy in focusing. But I assume that technology-wise, it would be much more difficult to implement such a thing. You would need Lytro-type cameras, sensors on screen to track you
  • by Zobeid ( 314469 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @11:45PM (#53701189)

    The only time I use the 3D feature of my LG TV is when viewing photos I shot with my Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W3. (Fuji, you are great at making cameras, not so hot at naming them!), or looking at other people's 3D shots with the Phereo app. These 3D sets are absolutely the best way to view 3D photos.

    The W3 is maybe the best consumer 3D camera ever made (and it's pocketable!), but it didn't exactly set the world on fire either, and is now becoming a collector's item. So, yeah. . . I'm sad that this technology never seems to catch on with a wider audience, but that seems to be the reality of it.

  • I will now poke out one eye. That should fix it! I don't know why anyone thought it was so useful in the first place.
  • by seyfarth ( 323827 ) on Friday January 20, 2017 @12:02AM (#53701251) Homepage
    I have worked with a couple of 3D displays for scientific visualization. The university I worked for had a fairly expensive system with an 8 foot by 10 foot 3D display "wall". It was great for demos, but after a year or so of mostly demos, it was largely abandoned. I also got a set of 3D glasses for a 20 inch CRT system and added 3D support to a program I wrote for a physicist friend to display movies of particle simulations. Most of the benefit of seeing the 3D structure could be obtained by simply rotating the scene or movie. Another friend said that chemical display software frequently uses a "wobble" option to add some 3D-like effect to molecule displays. I added a wobble option to my program and it worked pretty well. My experience was that people didn't care enough to walk down the hall to use the big 3D wall and even with 3D glasses in his office, my physicist friend didn't bother. It's not much of a surprise to me that 3D TV is largely a bust. It is cool for a demo, but it seems destined to be used only for demos. Maybe with 3D systems not using goggles or perhaps with lightweight glasses there will be a future for 3D displays. I hope so, even after seeing no one really using it.
  • Does this /. editor not understand the use of paragraphs in English? Has /. stooped so low that its editors no longer care about basic readability concepts?
  • It added a lot to the immersion IMHO, and is also the best way to experience Virtual Boy and Master System 3D emulation. On the desktop PC, 3D LCD glasses came with many 3D accelerator cards since the 90s and it always blew me away to play games that way.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Friday January 20, 2017 @12:46AM (#53701363) Homepage

    3D comes back every couple of decades. They had 3D movies as long ago as 1922 [wikipedia.org]. Since then, the popularity of 3D has come and gone several times. Each time, people get tired of the format when it loses its novelty. Then a couple of decades later, manufacturers come up with a "new" angle in hopes of selling new hardware.

    Don't worry, 3D will come back. And then it will go away again.

  • And nothing of value was lost...

  • Okay, I understand that folks are uncomfortable with the 3D glasses, and the 3D effect is frequently a distraction to the story, and all that, but isn't it just some software on the TV that is producing the image? Is there really much in the line of special hardware on the TV itself needed to produce the 3D effect? Lots of TVs have headphone jacks, but only a vanishingly small number of people use the jack. So, if 3D doesn't involve an excessive amount of special hardware on the TV, why not leave it in as
    • Lots of TVs have headphone jacks, but only a vanishingly small number of people use the jack.

      And in fact, you could output 3D image purely with a software upgrade by outputing the "alternate frame" pulse signal over the audio-out jack.
      So 3D can be 100% software solution, no hardware required.

      (Most of the headphone users are probably anyway getting their audio over bluetooth for the convenience of avoiding cable accross the living room.
      And for the last 2 geeks that are interested in 0ms audio latency provided by analog AND want to use 3D, we will probably get entirely fine using one of the other out

  • Went over like a lead balloon back in the 50's. (without a special tv) No clue why they thought it would go today.

  • I have Samsung stereoscopic TV, and I only tried the feature once and not even all the way through whatever we were watching... The image didn't just alternate perspectives between eyes, but it alternated perspective AND frames so your eyes were never seeing the same moment in time and is the first time I've ever gotten a splitting headache from viewing anything! I didn't mind a lower frame rate at the expense of stereo, and I probably could have enjoyed it then.
    • Unless you're extremely (and unusually) sensitive, this sounds like bad source media, or perhaps an unusually poor hardware implementation. Not something that most users will experience. I also have a Samsung TV with 3D capability. As others here have said, there are reasons why the 3D capability isn't used much in practice. But on the few occasions that we've used it, it worked well and caused no headaches, flickering, or other problems.

      If you have other light sources active in addition to the TV, you may

  • When you have a display that can handle the frame rate necessary to alternate the picture anyway... what's the cost?

    By all means, stop packing 3D glasses in. Make them a separate purchase for those who want them.

    But why not offer the feature for those who want it when the hardware already does everything you need and it costs essentially nothing more?

    If anything, the moment for glasses is finally here. Yeah, they still suck to wear. But the next major complaint was that they darkened the picture. Yet Samsun

    • When you have a display that can handle the frame rate necessary to alternate the picture anyway... what's the cost?

      - The weird proprietary connector, that goes to the weird proprietary array of infra-red emitters that needs to send the signal to sync the eyes.

      or

      - The integrated IR emitter in the TV that emits the sync signal to the 3D googles.

      or, for TV that don't use active glasses

      - A weird structure in the pannel that makes sure that every pixels emits light in a different polarity than it's neighbours
      (either alternating horizontaly in scanlines, or vertically in column, or in a checkered pattern... whatever, as long

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Friday January 20, 2017 @03:06AM (#53701749)

    The problem is that 3D, when it's done well, is an enhancement to the experience, but not an essential part of it.

    In the theatre they hand you a pair of 3D glasses when you come in, you sit down silently facing straight forward to watch the movie, and then you drop the glasses in the box on your way out. The 3D is worth while because it's really convenient to do.

    But at home? You need to find the glasses when you want to watch 3D, then you need to move around to make sure the viewing angle is right, then you need to take the glasses on or off when you wander around to do something else, then at the end you need to find a place to store the glasses again.

    The enhanced experience just isn't worth the hassle.

    • You need to find the glasses when you want to watch 3D

      and make sure their button batteries didn't die since the last time you used them,
      if your 3D googles are of the more popular active variety.

      (as opposed to passive glasses with polarized lens [like the cinema theater ones] and the TV screen itself is a polarized emitter).

  • The problem with 3D TVs is they sucked. The ones that used active glasses were the worst - ghosting, expensive glasses etc. The ones with passive glasses were MUCH better but used polarising bands on the screen to deliver a left/right eye picture so the resolution suffered and they were more expensive to produce. Either way they compromised the effect. On top of that glasses of either kind are uncomfortable and make the picture look dim - bad enough in a darkened movie theatre but worse in a home.

    Some day

  • and the occasional 3d-movie was fun too, as long as the 3d was halfway decent. with vr/ar/mr glasses approaching the mass market, i don't think that we'll have to forgo 3d for long.
  • Count me in as one of 3D TV's few fans.

    We bought our current TV a few years back (2012 or 2013 IIRC). We weren't specifically aiming to get a 3D (or even Smart) TV, however we lucked into a Cyber Monday deal that had a Sony KDL-46EX720 TV with a Sony 3D BluRay player for $750 (CDN) -- only one of three being offered in all of Western Canada. We scooped it up -- and for the most part it has been an excellent TV.

    A year or so later we were able to pickup two pairs of 3D glasses while in the US (where they we

  • 3D is not a feature. It's an attempted implementation of a feature.

    The feature that people want is 'lifelike' video or immersive video.

    To get that at home, I do see two potential technologist that are making headway. 4K TVs (for the color gamut, not the screen resolution) and virtual reality glasses.

    • To be specific, it's what some movie directors, including James Cameron and even Martin Scorcese wanted, but as you say, that's not really what people watching their creations wanted.

  • Here is the petition. [change.org]

    Here is the part that made me laugh:

    There are hundreds (if not thousands) of us across the world with large 3D Blu-ray collections who have paid literally thousands of dollars / pounds / euros for these disks which we paid a premium for over 2D Blu-ray do not want to lose access to these when our 2016 OLEDs bite the dust.

    Yes...I'm sure the manufacturers are going to jump right in and support those HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of people AROUND THE WORLD who want this feature.

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