Just a few years ago, the world held great hopes for 3D TV. It was slated as the next big thing — bringing the 3D experience of the movie theater into homes. Now it appears like the future of this revolutionary concept is dim. Why the sudden turnaround? Is there any hope of it coming back into favor in the upcoming years? Let’s explore the interesting rise and potential fall of this technology.


Clunky Technology and High Cost

Despite the allure of watching 3D TV in their homes, consumers never quite caught onto the idea of wearing clunky glasses in their living rooms. What might fly in the movie theater just doesn’t feel the same when sitting on your couch. After all, wearing 3D glasses makes it hard to check your smartphone or tablet during commercial breaks. Consumers also lamented about the high cost of 3D televisions. In fact, CNN recently reported that more consumers are purchasing other devices such as tablets rather than spending money on the largest screen in the home — the TV.

TV Networks Opt Out

Another reason that 3D television failed to take off as expected was due to lack of support from TV networks. Despite the hype, networks were slow in pushing out 3D programming. Consumers, therefore, weren’t anxious to rush out and spend big bucks on a new 3D television due to the lack of 3D content available. TV networks took note of this low adoption rate and became even more hesitant to roll out 3D programming. In fact, earlier this year, ESPN (which had previously been one of the biggest advocates for 3D broadcasting) announced its plans to shut down its 3D channel by the end of 2013. The network claimed the high cost of carrying the channel in combination with low demand caused the shutdown.

Ushering In 4K TV

As 3D technology appears to slowly phase out, consumers have slated another new TV technology as the next big thing: 4K or Ultra HD. Ultra HD screens are said to have more than four times the sharpness of regular HDTVs. While 4K TVs still remain out of the price range for regular consumers, some TV networks have already begun filming their shows in 4K definition in anticipation of this new technology becoming mainstream. These TVs might not allow for a true 3D experience, but they provide a level of detail that blows regular HDTV out of the water. Even better, there’s no need to wear clunky glasses.

Three-dimensional television may never catch on, but that doesn’t mean that TV technology will remain stagnant. Consumers will just have to wait until the next big thing takes hold.